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How did the political ideologies of leaders influence the rule of authoritarian states in the Middle East?

The political ideologies of leaders significantly shaped the governance and policies of authoritarian states in the Middle East.

The Middle East has been a region of significant political turmoil and change, with a variety of authoritarian regimes coming to power throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The political ideologies of these leaders have played a crucial role in shaping the nature of their rule and the policies they implemented.

For instance, the Ba'athist ideology of leaders like Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Hafez al-Assad in Syria emphasised Arab nationalism, socialism, and secularism. This ideology influenced their rule by leading to policies aimed at centralising power, suppressing opposition, and promoting Arab unity. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist ideology led to a brutal dictatorship marked by human rights abuses, wars, and economic mismanagement. Similarly, in Syria, Hafez al-Assad's rule was characterised by a strong security apparatus, suppression of dissent, and attempts to unify the Arab world under Syrian leadership.

In contrast, the political ideology of Iran's leaders following the 1979 Islamic Revolution was based on a form of political Islam known as 'Velayat-e Faqih' or 'Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist'. This ideology, espoused by Ayatollah Khomeini, led to the establishment of a theocratic state where religious leaders held ultimate authority. This has resulted in a unique form of authoritarianism where religious doctrine and law play a central role in governance and policy-making.

In Saudi Arabia, the ruling Al Saud family's adherence to Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam, has shaped the country's authoritarian rule. The monarchy has used religion as a tool to legitimise its rule, enforce strict social codes, and suppress dissent. This has resulted in a state where religious authorities wield significant power and human rights are often curtailed.

In Turkey, the ideology of Kemalism, named after the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, has influenced the country's authoritarian tendencies. Kemalism emphasises secularism, nationalism, and modernisation, leading to policies aimed at westernising Turkey and suppressing Islamic influences in public life. This has resulted in a form of authoritarianism that is secular and nationalist in nature.

In conclusion, the political ideologies of leaders have significantly influenced the rule of authoritarian states in the Middle East. Whether it is Ba'athism in Iraq and Syria, political Islam in Iran, Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

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