Honig, Or, and Ariel Reichard. “Realism or Radicalism: Explaining Autocratic Rulers’ Strategic Choices Following Military Defeats in the Middle East.” Journal of the Middle East and Africa 6.2 (2015): 125-46.
This article explains autocratic rulers’ behavior in the aftermath of costly military defeats in the Middle East. Essentially, military defeats cause political crises of legitimacy for all Middle East rulers, albeit to varying degrees of severity. In responding to these crises, rulers have two broad strategic options: addressing the crisis’ root cause by reversing the strategic consequences of defeat or merely mitigating the immediate political symptoms of the crisis. Crucially, it is the severity of the political crisis that is the primary factor determining the choice of strategy. However, when the crisis is less severe, additional factors—leaders’ own beliefs, perceptions about the viability of each option, and their regime’s particular vulnerabilities—also determine the choice between the two orientations.