Tunisia

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Snapshot,
Brian Klaas and Marcel Dirsus

On October 26, Tunisians will finally have a real and unrestricted choice at the polls. Other transitioning regimes in the Middle East and the world should take note: Democracy is not about exclusion, but about giving people a genuine choice—even, or especially, when it’s an uncomfortable one.

Snapshot,
Ibrahim Sharqieh

Tunisia has its problems, but it is safe to say that the country is faring better today than most of its fellow Arab Spring nations. As those countries struggle to establish new social contracts, they should keep in mind Tunisia’s lessons.

Snapshot,
Michael J. Koplow

Egypt's generals promise democracy once they deal with the Islamist threat -- and the secular camp has cheered them on. But as Tunisia's experience 25 years ago shows, it's hard to put the authoritarian genie back in the bottle once it has been let out. In other words, the liberals are next.

Letter From,
Aaron Y. Zelin

Two years after the fall of Tunisia's dictatorship, the country has drifted into the doldrums. Its economy is in shambles, its security situation is worrisome, and political progress is almost nowhere to be found.

Snapshot,
Lindsay Benstead, Ellen M. Lust, Dhafer Malouche, Gamal Soltan, and Jakob Wichmann

Skeptics about the prospects of democracy in the Middle East argue that the Arab Spring has turned into an Islamist winter. But as a new study shows, instead of fretting over Islamists, the international community would do better to help Egypt and Tunisia strengthen their political institutions and reform their economies.

Essay, Jan/Feb 2013
Sheri Berman

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the Arab Spring, given the post-revolutionary turmoil the Middle East is now experiencing. But critics forget that it takes time for new democracies to transcend their authoritarian pasts. As the history of political development elsewhere shows, things get better.

Essay, Jan/Feb 2013
Seth G. Jones

The Arab uprisings of 2011, once a great source of hope for democracy enthusiasts, have given way to sectarian clashes and political instability. The Middle East has not yet shed its authoritarian yoke, and the United States needs a policy that reflects that reality.

Video,
Gideon Rose and Moncef Marzouki

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki describes the democratic experiment that sparked the Arab Spring and the future of the Arab world.

Snapshot,
William McCants

The protests engulfing the Middle East go to the heart of who gets to police public morality in post-Arab Spring states. Salafis see themselves as the rightful guardians of the public sphere, and they are trying to ensure others see them that way, too.

Snapshot,
Nancy Birdsall, Milan Vaishnav, and Danny Cutherell

Earlier this year, the Obama administration requested that Congress establish a $770 million Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund to “support citizens who have demanded change.” If the results of similar efforts in Pakistan are any guide, however, Washington shouldn't expect much political leverage in return for its investments.

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