Elections also caused an upset, with Israel facing an unprecedented third election in March 2020 after two indecisive trips to the polls, and Algeria holding a controversial presidential vote after two failed attempts amid widespread popular disapproval.
Elsewhere, the long-running humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories were overshadowed by tit-for-tat oil tanker seizures, which marked rise in tensions between Iran and the West.
Here are some of the key events that shaped the Middle East and North Africa in 2019:
1. Arab Spring 2.0?
Tens of thousands of Algerians took to the streets in February after it was announced that longtime ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika would run for a fifth term in office. In April, as demonstrations continued nationwide, Bouteflika resigned after military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah called for his removal, but the protesters returned to the streets, demanding root-and-branch political reforms.
Presidential elections were held in December despite opposition from the protest movement, known as the Hirak, which dismissed the Bouteflika loyalist candidates as part of the old guard of ruling elites.