Nov 02, 2012
Tunisia -- Robin Wright interviewed Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda Party, on the first anniversary of Tunisia’s first democratic elections. Ghannouchi reflected on the new Islamist spectrum, especially concern about the growing Salafi factor.
Oct 22, 2012
The Pew Research Center conducted a poll on the U.S. public‘s views on the Middle East in early October. The public is increasingly pessimistic about regional developments following the Arab uprisings. In April 2011, 42 percent of Americans thought changes in leadership would “lead to lasting improvements for people” in countries like Egypt and Libya. But in October 2012, only 25 percent still believe there will be lasting improvements.The results were released prior to the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Overall the poll found little difference in opinion between Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The majority of Americans, 54 percent, say it is “more important to have stable governments in the Middle East, even if there is less democracy in the region.”
Oct 16, 2012
On October 12, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton declared that U.S. support for democratic transitions is a “strategic necessity” and not just “a matter of idealism.” She discussed the status of North African political transitions at a conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Clinton pledged to increase engagement with the region, despite the outbreak of anti-American sentiment in September 2012. She urged Congress to approve an additional $770 million in assistance to countries that enact political and economic reforms.
Sep 28, 2012
The leaders of Islamist governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia have condemned attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates in reaction to the offensive “Innocence of Muslims” film. In public statements and private contacts with American officials, all three leaders assured the United States that the assaults did not reflect government policy or public opinion among the majority in their countries. Each of them blamed small groups of extremists.
Sep 13, 2012
On Sept. 5, the International Monetary Fund published a report on Tunisia’s post-uprising economic and social challenges. Tunisia’s economic prospects are now improving due to increased government spending and tourism revenues. But unemployment remains high at 19 percent overall and more than 40 percent among youth.
May 15, 2012
In stark contrast to Islamist victories elsewhere, Algeria’s election on May 10 produced a “crushing defeat” of two moderate Islamist parties, reports David Ottaway in a new analysis from Algiers. The outcome defied public predictions by Islamist politicians that they would win at least a plurality of seats—and potentially even enough to lead a new government. Two secular parties aligned with the former government instead increased their dominance in the National People’s Assembly, winning 288 seats – or 62 percent of the vote. The moderate Islamists have instead been marginalized politically—a position that may undermine prospects of cooperation with the new government.
Apr 05, 2012
David Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Wilson Center, has recently returned from Tunisia. This piece is an overview of his observations of current challenges faced by Tunisia’s leadership.
Dec 14, 2011
The wave of unrest sparked by the Tunisian "Burning Man" has toppled regimes and created momentum for change that may not stop until the geopolitical landscape of the entire region is transformed. With one year in the history books, we turned to a panel of regional experts to gain their perspectives on the larger meaning of the events of the past year.
Nov 29, 2011
The victory of moderate Islamist parties in parliamentary elections, first in Tunisia and now in Morocco, confirms the most significant change wrought so far by the Arab revolts of this past year-- their emergence into the mainstream of Arab politics as leading players. Whether these elections will exorcize the “Islamic ghost” haunting North Africa, Europe, and the United States remains to be seen, but initial signs are mostly promising.
Oct 26, 2011
From peaceful revolution to free elections in just nine months, the birthplace of the Arab Spring has achieved a stunning transition, says President, Director and CEO Jane Harman from Tunis. Now we must embrace the victors and ensure strong roles for women.