Atlantic Council

MENASource

Tunisians will head to the polls to elect a parliament on October 26, the first election since the adoption of the post-revolution constitution earlier this year. After polarization intensified in 2013 on the heels of two high-profile political assassinations, the upcoming parliamentary elections mark a critical step toward consolidating Tunisia’s democracy.

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Libyan army troops have pushed into Benghazi, the first time in two months since Islamist militias took control of the eastern city. Pro-government forces forced the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council from one of its most prominent positions in a move that one commander called “deeply symbolic.”

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Common interest in maintaining oil revenues flowing is keeping Libya’s oil exports on track, while the struggle for control of Libya’s state-run energy sector between rival governments in Tripoli and the east continues.

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With the Tunisian elections mere days away, political parties face a skeptical population fed-up with politics after a turbulent three years since the revolution that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Short of resources for their electoral campaigns, parties search for their appropriate patrons as the country tries to fend off a deepening economic crisis.

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For over three years the Obama administration viewed the struggle for Syria as something well worth avoiding. Even as Assad-regime atrocities piled the bodies high and drove millions from their homes—enabling an aggressively murderous caliphate to arise in the east while Iran, Hezbollah, and their Syrian client solidified a grip on the west—the administration focused on money to mitigate the humanitarian abomination and rhetoric to make avoidance look like well-considered caution and containment. Yet those days are done. US forces are again at war in the Arab World and Syria is a vital theatre in that war.

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US officials on Tuesday announced that any requests for additional military advisors in Iraq would considered. The move signals a dramatic departure from President Obama’s stance on keeping ground troops out of Iraq and paves way for an increase to the 1,400 military advisers and diplomatic security personnel currently deployed inside the country.

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Egypt's Prime Minister urged the Egyptians not to expect instant results from the large-scale infrastructure projects the government has started in order to create jobs and strengthen the economy. The Minister has been facing the arduous task to repair the country’s finances, which had suffered from political upheaval, street protests and militant violence.

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Benghazi has seen scores dead and many more injured during the third week of October in armed confrontations. Since October 15, the city has witnessed air strikes by air force jets loyal to retired General Khalifa Haftar, suicide bombings by Ansar al-Sharia against youth neighborhood night watch teams, and street fights between armed residents and Ansar al-Sharia militants.

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Libya's beleaguered House of Representatives, struggling to assert some authority, has declared a formal alliance with renegade former general Khalifa Haftar, who leads Operation Dignity in a campaign to rid Libya of Islamists.

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Morocco’s Minister of Economy presented the broad lines of the 2015 appropriation draft bill before the two houses of parliament. For 2015, the draft bill forecasts a GDP growth rate of 4.4 percent on the basis of a 4.3 percent budget deficit of GDP and a 9 percent rise of investment expenses to reach 54 billion dirhams.

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