The most important tools for studying Authoritarianism in MENA would likely be economic, social, military, and political documents as well as empirical evidence to support trends or changes that we see in this region. These trends can be explained through the application of detailed evidence to see why regimes are the way they are, why they change, and how they act toward international actors, their own citizens, or those within their borders.
It makes sense to understand all factors that go into why regimes act the way they do such as regime type, resource available within a nation, historical factors, geographical location, population size, and religious or secular affiliations. These many factors lead certain regimes to their specified goals, levels of influence, or economic prosperity.
When looking at a focused study such as Wedeen’s book on Syria we can see the specific trends of the nation through time, how the political situations developed through the economic changes and social upheavals that occurred in Syria. How international actors impacted the development of the nation and the international actors that continue to affect it.
When looking at the book written by Cammett, Diwan, Richards, and Waterbury we get broader picture trends that affected each specifically mentioned nation in the book but we tend to focus more on the overarching themes that impacted each nation. We look more for trends in regimes, economies, politics, and social issues than looking for specific unique evidence. In the Wedeen book we focus on one specific nation, the intricacies of Syria, while in A Political Economy of the Middle East we analyze the broader context that ideas and movement shave on nation across the region.