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Restoration, Transformation and Adaptation: Authoritarianism after 2011 in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran


Following the push for reform during the popular uprising in 2011, authoritarianism is once again dominating domestic politics and power relations in the MENA region. Drawing on data collected during field trips to Cairo, Tehran, Beirut and Kuwait city, the authors of this MENARA report analyse three distinct ways in which political leaders in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran have stood their grounds since 2011 by. The report shows that the region’s autocratic leaders have adopted highly distinct strategies to cope with the challenges they have been confronted with internally – including strategies of “restoration”, of “transformation” and of “adaptation”. The report ends by suggesting that European leaders, in spite of their limited leverage and resources, have a long-term strategic interest in fostering alternative forms of political regimes in the MENA region.