FA Today
More Small Wars More Small Wars
Counterinsurgency Is Here to Stay

By Max Boot

Although the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are far from the costliest the United States has ever fought in terms of either blood or treasure, they have exacted a much greater toll than the relatively bloodless wars Americans had gotten used to fighting in the 1990s. As of this writing, 2,344 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan and 4,486 in Iraq, and tens of thousands more have been injured. The financial costs reach into the trillions of dollars. Yet despite this investment, the returns look meager. Sunni extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State, and Shiite extremists beholden to Iran have divided the non-Kurdish parts of Iraq between them. Meanwhile, the Taliban and the Haqqani network remain on the offensive in Afghanistan. Given how poorly things have turned out, it would be tempting to conclude that the United States should simply swear off such irregular conflicts for...

The Tunisia Model The Tunisia Model
Did Tunis Win the Arab Spring?
By Brian Klaas and Marcel Dirsus

Nearly four years ago, Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled for his life when the first of the Arab Spring uprisings forced him from power. Most of his ministers were close on his heels, scurrying to save themselves in exile. Many of those who did not flee went into hiding or jail. Several months later, Tunisia held its first competitive multi-party elections. In that vote, however, Tunisians did not have complete freedom of choice; all the top-level figures associated with Ben Ali’s toppled regime were banned from running—a short-term measure that was designed to protect the fragile new democracy from slipping back toward dictatorship. On October 26, Tunisians will finally have a real and unrestricted choice at the polls. Several of the remnants of the Ben Ali system—former officials who were not imprisoned and have now come out of hiding—are on the ballot in the parliamentary election. And three former top-level Ben Ali­-era ministers will compete in presidential elections in late-November: Kemal Morjane, Mondher Znaidi, and Abderrahim Zouari. The sitting government gave them permission to run in the spirit of national reconciliation and...

Rabat's Undoing Rabat's Undoing
Why the Moroccan Monarchy Should be Worried
By Intissar Fakir and Maati Monjib

Morocco’s king has always had it good. He governs the country in practice but has been able to shield himself from criticism by presenting himself as being above politics. The palace has been able to maintain this balance by retaining the right to appoint a prime minister to ensure that a loyal government carries out the crown’s preferred policies. But the Arab Spring­–driven 2011 constitutional reforms, which mandated that the king would appoint a prime minister from among the members of the largest political party in Parliament—a royal concession that seemed so minimal at the time—may be changing Morocco’s political system more than anticipated. Namely, it has allowed Morocco’s governing Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), to increase the palace’s political...

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