With so much attention in the Middle East focused on Iranian adventurism, the Syrian civil war, and the sectarianism eating away at Iraq, it’s easy to forget the various issues rippling throughout the rest of the region. That’s especially the case in North Africa, where refugee flows across the Mediterranean Sea, terrorism, and the Islamic State are also major concerns—and where enduring democracy is still a possibility.
Tunisia continues on a democratic path sparked more than five years ago when Tunisians first took to the streets, launching the Arab Spring. And yet the country has seen recent terrorist attacks and Tunisian fighters still fill the rosters of jihadists fighting in Syria.
The Libyan government is waging a campaign to drive the Islamic State out of its last stronghold in Sirte. And yet the political situation in Tripoli is so delicate, it’s not clear what kind of long-term peace that even a victory over ISIS can ensure.
America’s longtime ally Morocco, a fortress of stability in the region, is spearheading a campaign promoting moderate Islam. And yet the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels were masterminded by European citizens of Moroccan origin.
On June 29, Hudson Institute hosted a timely discussion on the prospects for lasting democracy and persistence of extremist sects in North Africa. Hudson Senior Fellows Eric Brown and Samuel Tadros reported on their recent trip to the region and were joined by a leading analyst of North Africa, Sarah Feuer of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The panel was moderated by Hudson Senior Fellow Lee Smith.