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Political Change in the Middle East and North AfricaAfter the Arab Spring$
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Inmaculada Szmolka

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474415286

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474415286.001.0001

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Autocratisation, authoritarian progressions and fragmented states

Autocratisation, authoritarian progressions and fragmented states

(p.403) Chapter 17 Autocratisation, authoritarian progressions and fragmented states
Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa

Inmaculada Szmolka

Marién Durán

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses the MENA countries that have experienced negative changes following the Arab Spring: a process of autocratisation in Turkey, authoritarian progressions in Kuwait and Bahrain, and the fragmentation of state authority in Syria and Iraq. Turkey has transited from being a defective democracy to authoritarianism (due to a concentration of power in the hands of president Erdoğan), which has been a more pronounced tendency since the attempted coup d’état in July 2016. Kuwait, one of the ‘less authoritarian’ Arab countries before 2011, has undergone an authoritarian progression as a consequence of the emir’s attempts to control parliament and approve restrictive laws regarding rights and liberties. Likewise, authoritarian progression in Bahrain has been the consequence of a decline in political competition - as a result of the withdrawal of opposition movements from parliament and state repression against any type of opposition. The democratic regime established in 2005 in Iraq currently faces enormous concerns: disabling sectarism, weak governance, and the occupation of much of northwestern Iraq by IS. Violence directed by al-Assad’s regime against protesters provoked a civil war on several fronts and a breakdown of state authority in Syria. The chapter shows that these conflicts in the Middle East, as well as in Yemen, have made the region unstable and represent an enormous international challenge.

Keywords:   Political change, Arab Spring and Post-Arab Spring, Autocratisation, Authoritarian progression, Fragmented states, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, MENA region

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