This is the major reason for what is now called the "resilience" of regimes. Respected figures from civil society, often competent technocrats, are called upon to form transitional governments, only to find themselves powerless in the face of the real power-holders. In Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria and Sudan alike, everything is done to ensure that cosmetic changes do not affect the established system.
These kleptocracies are subject to cyclical crises which they have so far managed to curb, but the rate of convulsions is accelerating. The ruling elites are finding it increasingly difficult to keep control of the situation in Iraq, Algeria, Lebanon, and even Egypt, where security agencies have been living since 2011 in the fear of what the average Egyptian might do, far more than the fear of terrorists against which the army is fighting in the Sinai.
Political regimes which have survived the 2011 wave show no signs of openness that would allow a gradual and controlled transition to institutionalized political life. In the face of protest, they barricade themselves and increase the budget of the security apparatus, at the expense of other public sectors, often removing subsidies for vital commodities. They reinforce their security capabilities by forming militias that often find their own sources of funding to operate. In these "political-vigilante systems" (as Loulouwa Al Rachid calls them) of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, Iran is a key player and, more often than not, the actual instigator.
The challenge is to find a way out of these deadlocked situations in which daily life has become unbearable, pushing people to flee, and where else to go if not to Europe. The Global Inequality Index now ranks the Middle East as the most unequal region in the world.