Arab governments have poured even more money into security in recent years. This spending not only includes monitoring and punishing the opposition using traditional methods, but also exerting pressure on civil organizations and the media and even changing the composition of electoral districts. All of these efforts make it harder for citizens to organize and confront the hugely powerful regimes.
But should signs of protest arise, the regimes have no qualms using violence to squelch them. While a number of nonstate actors carry out threats of violence in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine, the power of repression resides exclusively with the authoritarian governments in most other Arab countries. The use of violence ranges from intimidation to torture to, ultimately, murder.
Next: 2. Threats of Chaos