Tunisian President Benali has been in power for 22 years and he continues to justify stalling political reforms by pointing to the "Islamist threat." Today, there is certainly no chance to have an Islamist party in Tunisia but any democratic reconsideration of the regime is impossible as well.
Non-oil producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa have spent the last decade working to achieve fiscal consolidation. Governments in each of these countries must look beyond the global crisis and make courageous trade-offs to ensure a sustainable future for public finances.
Despite some steps to increase the appearance of pluralism, President Ben Ali and the ruling party are in no danger of losing upcoming elections. Still, elections provide a window through which a different political future might be glimpsed.
Though the Maghreb escaped the first wave of the global economic crisis and its growth expectations for 2009 are positive, dramatic falls in commodity prices and world trade will continue to present serious challenges in the coming months.
This volume examines the Arab world’s major political actors, assesses the weaknesses of secular parties, and evaluates how incumbent regimes have maintained their grip on power in spite of reform-oriented claims.
The Tunisian government has convinced the United States that Islamic extremism is such a serious threat that democratic reform in Tunisia would jeopardize counterterrorism efforts. This and a tarnished U.S. image in the region has allowed Tunisia to avoid serious pressure to introduce significant political reforms.
Barack Obama's election was celebrated throughout the Middle East. But enthusiasm could quickly turn to hostility if the new administration does not back up its rhetoric with concrete changes to U.S. Middle East policy on three key issues: Palestine, Iraq, and political reform.
The National Solidarity Fund has succeeded in reducing poverty and building a culture of solidarity, despite limited political participation.
Is America serious about democracy and political reform in the Arab world? Does the neo-Wilsonian dimension of the Bush administration's policy toward the region presage a decisive departure from the longstanding realist policy of "regime maintenance"?
Tunisians took to the streets in February protesting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's scheduled visit to their country in November 2005 to attend the World Information Summit. Inviting Sharon, seen as a war criminal by many Tunisians and other Arabs, was an undemocratic decision by the Tunisian regime exercised against the popular will of the Tunisian people.