In Depth: Middle East and Tunisia

13 Jun 2017

Tunisia is a Strategic Partner to be Supported

The Trump administration budget would cut aid to Tunisia by 82%, a move that would undermine the democratic gains and regional stability that Tunisia has worked hard to maintain.
8 Dec 2016

Invest in Tunisia with a Free Trade Agreement

The Tunisian government is working hard to combat the threat of terrorism, and the United States should support the moderate Arab state by setting up a free trade agreement.
31 Dec 2014

Democracy: Four Reasons to Be Optimistic in 2015

2014 was a bleak year for the development of democracy around the world, but history has shown we are often blind to the democratic possibilities unfolding amidst the turmoil.
17 Jun 2014

Year Four: The Arab Spring Proved Everyone Wrong

Tunisia surprised the pessimists, just as Egypt devastated the optimists. Syria is on its way to becoming another Afghanistan, while Morocco holds some hope for slow reform.
3 Jan 2012

Arab Spring or Islamist Winter?

The number of genuinely liberal democracies to emerge soon in the Arab world is likely to be one or zero.
27 Oct 2013

The Next Revolution: A Call for Reconciliation in the Arab World

Toxic divides will deny North Africa’s post-revolutionary states of political, social, and economic progress until national reconciliation unburdens the people of their victimhood and vindictiveness.
28 Feb 2013

What North Africa Wants to Hear from John Kerry

Western countries can help North Africa's long term democratic and economic prospects by trusting that region's citizens will hold their elected leaders accountable in future elections, and not play favorites in the near term.
29 Jul 2014

Terror and Politics in Tunisia

Tunisians are coming to terms with the homegrown terrorists who threaten their fragile democracy. Will this recognition prompt a much-needed national reconciliation process?
1 Jan 2011

Too Big to Fail

about the country’s long-term prospects. Egypt is 83 million people ...

30 Dec 2012

Radical Islam’s Global Reaction: The Push for Blasphemy Laws

The international blasphemy laws being proposed by Islamists and their governments are an attack on fundamental freedoms. Western governments must step up to the challenge.
28 Jun 2013

Islamic Terror: Decentralized, Franchised, Global

As President Obama scales back on the War on Terror, al-Qaeda and its mutations have decentralized and spread, and by now are poised to strike in unexpected places.
3 Jan 2012

Arab Spring or Islamist Winter?

Last year was not the first time Arabs called for change in the face of stubborn autocrats, but it was the first time their calls paid off—at least initially.
25 Mar 2011

The Middle Eastern Revolution’s Bloody Second Act

This year’s uprisings might prove only prologue to much more violent upheavals and reprisals.
29 Apr 2013

The Game Changer: Syria, Iran, and Kurdish Independence

The shifting fortunes of Middle Eastern politics have delivered Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan and the country’s Kurds to the brink of a lasting settlement.
28 Feb 2012

Battle for Bahrain: What One Uprising Meant for the Gulf States and Iran

Bahrain has become the Arab Spring’s “failed” revolution, but for the Sunni Gulf states and Shiite Iran, it has been part of a larger and ongoing battle for regional control.
26 Apr 2012

Lines in the Sand: Assad Plays the Sectarian Card

Today’s major world conflicts—autocracy versus democracy; the West versus the China-Russia axis; Iran and its allies versus the US, Israel, and “moderate” Arab states—intersect and collide in Syria, where sectarianism’s ancient hatreds may well tip their outcomes.
31 Dec 2011

Syria’s Regime Involved in the Damascus Bombings?

Last Friday’s “suicide bombing” of government buildings in Syria is looking more and more suspicious with each passing day.
3 Jan 2012

Arab Spring or Islamist Winter?

The end of authoritarian regimes is a positive development, but disillusionment has grown in the Middle East and the West as theocratic forces threaten to reverse the progress of last year's revolutions.
18 Mar 2012

The Great Ideological Battleground, Redux

I've seen so far, my initial analysis seems sound. This country is more ...

25 Aug 2015

How to Destroy a City in Five Minutes

It will take more than one attack to destroy the Arab Spring’s success story, but that won’t stop ISIS from continuing to try. The ghosts of Sousse prove even one lone gunman can break the fragile economic stability in Tunisia, if not the spirit of its citizens.
1 Feb 2012

Arab Spring or Islamist Winter?

these countries have in common with each other is that they’re in turmoil ...

21 May 2012

Is Libya Long for This World?

doesn’t make much sense as a country. The western region, Tripolitania, has ...

24 Apr 2012

Assad Really Ought to Retire in Tunis

indeed that all five of those things will be true of any other country ...

23 Feb 2012

The Saudis Want to Arm an Insurgency

al-Qaeda fighters will pour into the country to “help.” Read the rest ...

29 Feb 2012

How Do We Feel About an Armed Syrian Opposition?

of the regime falling, how do we feel about pumping arms into a country that most ...

18 Jul 2011

How do you pay for a busy refugee year? Cuts, cuts, cuts.

where more than 3.6 million of the country’s 45 million people are still displaced from the country’s decades-long conflict. Many of these people ...

29 Jul 2013

Tunisia on the Brink

Rage in Tunisia touched off the Arab Spring, and now the country is lurching toward the brink again as assassinations, terrorism, and Salafist infiltration turn angry Tunisians against the ruling Islamists.
18 Dec 2012

The Children of Hannibal

they’re in Europe. But the country’s European flavor results from far more ...

21 Mar 2012

US Criticized by Tunisian Secularists for Backing Islamists

While Washington tries to establish ties with Tunisia's new "moderate" Islamist government, the country's liberals are baffled by what they believe is American support of a party of religious extremists.
6 Apr 2011

The Arab Spring

regimes likely to spread to other countries in the region and, if so, which ...

28 Jan 2011

Egyptian Public Opinion

: The chances for democracy and liberalism are different in every country. Tunisia ...

10 Apr 2012

The Lost City

and Iran were back in the saddle. They don’t govern the country directly, ...

3 Jul 2013

Armed Forces Control Egypt

hooligans, and gang rapists. In other countries, such as Lebanon, Tunisia, ...

20 Jun 2012

The Last Jews of Tunisia

Tunisia's cautious Jewish community reveals a possible undertone of concern over the country's future religious tolerance.
15 May 2012

Forecast for Tunisia

persist, it may be the only country of the Arab Spring that doesn’t slip back ...

28 Jan 2011

What Egypt Portends: Three Scenarios

the countries would end up looking more like Poland and the Czech Republic or like ...

21 Jan 2011

Why Tunisia’s Revolution Must Have Been a Mirage

agreed that the country had grown quiescent. No one foresaw that Gorbachev ...

24 Oct 2011

Tunisia Votes

Michael J. Totten's blog Tunisia, the first Arab country both I and the “Arab Spring” visited, successfully held what looks like a free and fair election. This doesn’t surprise me. The Islamist party has reportedly done ...

21 Feb 2011

Libya’s Legacy

Korea and Turkmenistan, the most oppressive countries by far, in its utter ...

17 May 2012

The Woman Who Blew Up the Arab World

The story of the Tunisian fruit seller whose self-immolation started the Arab Spring has been told many times. Now, the government employee blamed for Bouazizi's desperation tells her side of the story—a narrative that paints a different picture.
15 Feb 2011

Iran’s Leaders May Have Nowhere to Run

decamped to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but only three Middle Eastern countries ...

11 Mar 2012

Rise of the Islamist Technocrats?

Tunisia offers a third option in the secular vs. Islamist political debate: Islamist technocrats.
15 Jan 2011

Libya’s Gaddafi Still a Jerk on Stilts

will intervene to prevent the popular revolt spreading to his country. Mezri ...

18 Nov 2011

A Step Closer to Justice for Libya’s Mass Rape Victims

In an unprecedented lawsuit, Qaddafi henchman Baghdadi Mahmudi will soon stand trial for facilitating mass rape.
6 Mar 2009

The Personal and the Political in the Middle East

even toward people from enemy countries is mandated. Not every person ...

7 Feb 2011

Egypt and the Way of Revolutions

Nothing in politics is certain. But history offers some guides to what we can expect from the Egyptian revolution
27 Aug 2012

A Different Kind of Green in Libya

As the Qaddafi era recedes, the old regime’s longstanding environmental misdeeds are starting to come to light.
27 Jan 2011

The Gathering Storm

Michael Zantovsky's blog As of last week, the Middle East is in turmoil. The old regime in Tunisia is gone; a new one has not quite taken its place. The game is up in Sudan, which will soon divide into two countries ...

16 Jan 2011

Tunisia is Not Egypt, and it is Not Gaza

country. While Tunisia has never been a true democracy, the largely educated ...

12 Apr 2004

Tripoli and Fallujah

I’ve never been to a country run by a lunatic. Neither has Shelly. ...