As part of the Arab Reform and Democracy Program speaker series, US Institute of Peace Vice-President for Applied Research on Conflict Steven Heydemann examined the future of authoritarian rule in the Arab region in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings. The uprisings that spread across the Middle East in 2011 created new hope for democratic change in the Arab world. Four years later, the euphoria that greeted the Arab uprisings has given way to a far more somber mood, a recognition of the limits of mass protests to bring about political change, and acknowledgement that the region's entrenched authoritarian regimes are more resilient than many protesters imagined. Yet in responding to the challenge of mass politics, authoritarian regimes in the Middle East have not simply shown their resilience. In adapting to new challenges they have also changed, giving rise to new and more troubling forms of authoritarian rule, suggesting that the turmoil of recent years may be only the beginning of an extended period of political instability, violence, and repression in many parts of the Middle East.