Wednesday, June 06, 2012

ICG Tunisia Report

The International Crisis Group has a new report on Tunisia:
"Eighteen months after initiating the Arab spring, Tunisia still can boast of an ongoing, successful transition. The former regime, which came to symbolise corruption and social injustice, is gone and democratic gains are palpable. Yet, formidable social and economic challenges threaten to halt progress. Among these challenges, three stand out: rising unemployment – particularly of university graduates – stark regional inequalities and corruption. Although the unity government led by the Islamist An-Nahda party is aware of these social and economic ills, it so far has been unable to address them rapidly enough and is failing to quell the impatience of workers and unemployed youth who expect to reap the fruits of their involvement in past struggles. To avoid destabilising social conflicts, the government needs to better respond to the escalating violence caused by worsening economic conditions; get a handle on the large informal economic sector, including smuggling; overcome administrative bottlenecks that hamper socio-economic improvements; and foster democratisation at the regional and local level."
The executive summary is mostly bullish, emphasizing that all the major players are focusing on participating within a constitutional framework rather than taking to the streets.  At the same time there is a lot of unrest over economic conditions.  It sounds, actually like the potential long-range problem isn't opposition to the government, but the government itself losing authority to non-state networks such as those of the smugglers.  Could it wind up looking like Libya, about which Juan Cole posted yesterday?

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Anonymous alice said...

I really appreciate your column and look forward to your insights. Thank you.

8:23 AM  

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