Arab Spring

  • Tunisia, the West, and the 'Arab Spring'

    Although Tunisia is still seen favorably in Washington, the US is unlikely to be its savior. No matter how much Washington reflects on Tunisia as a successful democratic transition, the mood in the US capital will not lead to large amounts of aid to magically fix Tunisia’s security and economic woes. Only by looking to itself can Tunisia complete its democratic transition.

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  • The Arab World’s Sorry State

    The Arab world is in a sorry state. The spat between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Qatar is but the latest symptom of an enduring serious rot in governance and a destructive power struggle in the wake of the Arab Spring. This situation is compounded by a lack of constructive dialogue on addressing the challenges that face most countries of the region.

    Qatar’s excommunication from the GCC is the latest schism to hit what has seemed, at least since 2011, to be a stable and unified bloc. On June 5, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt broke diplomatic ties with Qatar and cut off air, land, and sea transportation links. On the surface, it appeared that Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism was at the heart of the dispute. Certainly, US President Donald J. Trump’s tweet, sympathizing with the action taken against Qatar, implied that this was his understanding. It took reminders from the Pentagon and the US State Department of US national interests in Qatar and its strategic interest in Gulf stability to get Trump to pull back on his original impulse to take sides and instead advise Saudi King Salman to seek unity and harmony within the GCC rather than allow a dangerous escalation in rancor.

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  • Abdo Quoted by New Hampshire Public Radio on Islam in the Middle East


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  • Abdo Quoted by NPR on the Middle East After the Arab Spring


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  • Khan Quoted by al Ahram on the Economics and Politics in the Middle East in the post-Arab Spring Era


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  • NATO Chief Stoltenberg: 'Now Is the Time To Invest in Our Defense'

    We are facing the biggest security challenges in a generation. They are complex, interrelated and come from many directions.
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  • Tunisia: The Last Arab Spring Country

    pdfRead the Issue Brief (PDF)

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, a civil society group comprising the Tunisian General Labor Union; the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 9, 2015 "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia." In a new Atlantic Council Issue Brief, "Tunisia: The Last Arab Spring Country," Atlantic Council Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Senior Fellows Mohsin Khan and Karim Mezran survey the successes of Tunisia's consensus-based transition and the challenges that lie ahead.

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  • Four Years After the Arab Spring, Tunisia May Manage an Improved Democracy

    But Voters Doubt the Political Class, So a Technocratic Government Offers the Best Hope


    Four years after Tunisia overthrew its dictator and ignited the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, its 11 million people are nearing the end of their country’s formal political transition. Tunisian voters will elect a parliament on October 26 and a president on November 23, each for a five-year term.

    As it approaches this finish line of sorts, Tunisia seems to be the only one of five Arab nations in transition (Syria being the fifth) that is on a clear path to the establishment of a democratic, more stable future. Still, according to Haykel Ben Mahfoudh, the election preparations include clear warning signs of public mistrust with the election process, the established political parties and the political class as a whole. This means the country’s best hopes may lie in creating a relatively technocratic government that focuses matter-of-factly on delivering better services to the citizenry, Ben Mahfoudh writes on the Atlantic Council’s MENASource blog.

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  • ‘If You Don’t Bet on Tunisia … You Can Say Goodbye to Democracy in the Arab World’

    President Marzouki: US Should Embrace Moderate Islamists, Help Us Fight Extremists

    As Tunisia struggles to convert its 2011 Arab Spring revolution into stable democracy, the US and its allies frankly aren’t helping much, President Moncef Marzouki told the Atlantic Council.

    “The West gave more support to the dictatorship, because of so-called stability,” than it now is giving to Tunisia’s democratizing government, said Marzouki, a medical doctor and human rights leader who has been guiding his country through its transition following fifty-five years as a one-party state.


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  • Khan Explains Arab Spring Economics

    Following the release of The Economic Consequences of the Arab Spring, Mohsin Khan, senior fellow with the Rafik Hariri Middle East Center, examines the impact of social unrest and uncertainty over the past three years. He notes how politics dominates economic policy-making, which could have a negative impact for long term growth, but observes that the economies of the transitioning countries have begun to stabilize (albeit at lower levels of growth than one would hope).
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