Asan Plenum

As the Arab Spring continues to fundamentally transform post-uprising political systems across the region, emerging political actors are faced with a variety of state-building models to possibly emulate. For instance, many in the region look to Turkey as a source of inspiration. It has shown that economic development and domestic stability is not necessarily detrimental to religious identity. In contrast, Iran also offers a compelling counter-narrative based upon a devout adherence to religious control of politics that resonates with many Shiites in the region. Its defiance of Western pressure and Israeli threats over its nuclear program has only served to further increase its popularity among many Arabs. Finally, Saudi Arabia’s use of its vast oil wealth and security apparatus to control popular protest presents another model of political security. Thus, even as regional leadership remains contested, understanding which model political parties are likely to adopt will remain of critical importance.