North Africa: Battles for Democracy

Hostility to the United States in the Arab and Muslim world has never been greater, according to a panel of American experts charged with setting a new strategic direction there.

The World Today Published 1 November 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 6 minute READ

More than ever Washington needs to listen and learn, above all in North Africa. The painfully slow advance of democracy in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria may be more closely linked to the spread of terrorism than at first appears.

Since September 11 2001, the United States and the European Union (EU) have favoured a strategy of security first, democracy second in the global ‘war’ against terror. In the short term, encouraging Middle Eastern allies towards security clampdowns and intensified policing has appeared more effective than progress towards political and economic liberalisation. What America and Europe have been slower to evaluate are the wider costs to regional stability of prolonging security measures that reinforce the autocratic tendencies of regional leaderships.

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