Reneging on Reform: Egypt and Tunisia

On November 6, 2003, President George W. Bush proclaimed, “Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe–because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.” The following spring, Tunisia’s president, Zine El Abidine Bin Ali, and Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak–stalwart allies in the U.S.-led war on terrorism and two of North Africa’s most pro-American rulers–were among the first Arab leaders to visit Washington and discuss reform. But with this “Arab spring” has come the inadvertent rise of Islamist movements throughout the region. Now, as U.S. policymakers ratchet down pressure, Egypt and Tunisia see a green light to backtrack on reform.

Click here to read the full publication →