South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al-Monitor on the Obama Administration’s recent decision to downgrade the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative: 

The Barack Obama administration has downgraded what was once a marquee program to promote democracy in the Middle East — a sign, some critics say, that counterterrorism once again dominates the US agenda in the region.

Established in 2002, the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) touts on its website its work in “18 countries and territories” and contributions of more than $600 million to “support civil society groups, political activists, and business leaders in their efforts for political and economic reform, government transparency, and accountability projects.” The site also says that “MEPI has recently increased programming significantly in countries undergoing democratic transitions in the wake of the Arab Spring — including Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.”

Read the full article here.

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