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The Tunisia Model: Lessons from a New Arab Democracy

Author: Sarah E. Yerkes

Affiliation: Carnegie’s Middle East Program

Organization /Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: November/December 2019, U.S.

Type: Analysis    



The author argues that despite the persisting inherited problems from Ben Ali’s regime coupled with the violent extremism that followed post-revolutionary Tunisia, as well as the painful consequences that succeeded the Arab uprisings, today’s Tunisian democratic model remains a source of hope for the Middle East countries. While the article’s main theme revolving around what lessons one could learn from the Tunisian model, the main idea was emphasizing two complementary factors on how to support democracy. In this respect, the major drive for change within the country correlated with foreign assistance, and the absence of pro-democracy agenda led by foreign countries, have helped Tunisia to achieve this feat. The author’s main targeted audiences may have been the region’s autocrats and activists. For autocrats, the protests movements across the Middle East is more than just a cautionary message, there are worse outcomes they could face with the mass protests today. But for activists, Tunisia is a beacon of hope for pro-democracy movements in the region. The article also relates to the current mass protests engulfing some Middle East countries since its argument is built on the previous experiences of the Arab failed pro-democracy movements. Even though the article is very useful, it would have been better if the author had emphasized more the role of foreign actors rather than the nature of the local leaders, since the hope of the masses turned into a disappointment due to the double standard of the international community over the countries of the Arab Spring.




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