Popular discontent has surfaced over the years, the most recent of which came after the killing of young Mahsa Amini in September 2022.
Such outbursts demonstrate the growing disparity between society's desire for development and progress and the regime's stubborn clinging to an outdated mentality that promote the interests of certain segments of society at the expense of the growing numbers of young people seeking greater self-expression and a different lifestyle.
Despite the current lull after months of popular protests, the needs of this emerging society have yet to be met.
The Turkish model
A different model is developing in Turkey. Despite the existence of political life and periodic elections, Turkey is increasingly restricting individual and public freedoms and rights, as stated by recent Freedom House and Human Rights Watch reports.
The upcoming elections scheduled for June will be more like a referendum on the system of government, the president's role, and the ruling party's future. Deeply rooted domestic issues, including the Kurds' political and cultural rights, have not seen significant progress for many years.
The Kurdish issue is being used in political squabbles between dominant Turkish political parties — with some opting to ignore the issue entirely and others advocating for cracking down on those who defend the rights of Kurds.
The Lebanon model
The third model is none other than Lebanon. Contrary to the belief that this small country is committed to the zeitgeist in the Levant, the reality indicates that year after year, the political system loses all ability to adapt to global realities.
The continuous collapse of the state since 2019, and perhaps before that, is an indication of the erosion of the political and economic structures and their shrinking ability to find a place in the global economy — save for money laundering and real estate and rentier speculation.
This reality has led to a political and social stagnation and has prompted a mass exodus of young people searching for better economic opportunities. The diaspora is also becoming the near exclusive source of hard currency revenue needed to operate the country, which has, for decades, relied on funds from abroad.
Much has been reported about Lebanon's exploitation by foreign powers which has exacerbated the decay of the nation. Unfortunately, Lebanon is expected to face more chaos and eventual collapse in the foreseeable future.
These present-day examples cannot be collectively defined. It remains difficult and costly to choose between responding to the needs of the current times or surrender to stagnation.