On September 29, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted distinguished speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, who discussed the political and security crisis in the MENA region.

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The Middle East is witnessing deepening disorder with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) now controlling a territory the size of Indiana. Extremists in Libya and parts of the Levant operate freely, while youth from Tunisia and 60 other countries have flocked to Syria. The Egyptian military continues to struggle with the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and counter-revolutionary forces in the political sphere and public arena.

With democratic hopefulness in decline, the MENA region is now beset with a strategic struggle to halt the spread of extremism. National dialogues, crafting new constitutions, reconciliation and transitional justice appear secondary to security challenges. The core lessons of Tunisia’s political transition are lost to many in the region and in the international community.

On September 29th, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) held a discussion with distinguished speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, who discussed the current political and security crisis in the region, including how Tunisia’s democratic transition and experience can be drawn upon when seeking solutions to these protracted crises, and can show how dialogue and compromise can pave the way for national unity and reconciliation. 

Speakers

Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi
One of the world’s leading Islamic thinkers and a founder and President of the Ennahdha Party in Tunisia, which rose to power in 2011. His leadership played a critical role in stabilizing post-revolutionary Tunisia and in the success of the democratic transition and national dialogue in Tunisia.

Robin Wright
A journalist, author and joint fellow at the USIP and the Woodrow Wilson International Center. She has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents and received multiple awards and accolades for her writings on international affairs.

Latest Publications

After a Year of Turmoil, Bolivia’s Election Offers Chance to Reduce Divides

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: Steve Hege

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Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Protests Test Nigeria’s Democracy and its Leadership in Africa

Protests Test Nigeria’s Democracy and its Leadership in Africa

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: Oge Onubogu

Nigeria’s protests against police brutality already were the largest in the country’s history before security forces opened fire on a crowd in Lagos on October 20. The protest and bloodshed have only heightened the need for the government in Africa’s most populous country to end the pattern of violence by security forces against civilians. Leaders must finally acknowledge that this brutality has fueled violent extremism. How the Nigerian government will respond to citizens’ insistent demand for accountable governance will influence similar struggles—for democracy, accountability, nonviolence and stability—across much of Africa.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism; Democracy & Governance; Nonviolent Action

Africa is the next global influencer. That’s an opportunity.

Africa is the next global influencer. That’s an opportunity.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: James Rupert

In a COVID-altered landscape of global security threats, economic opportunities and strategic change, Africa is seizing center stage. Africans form the world’s fastest-growing population and national economies. Violent crises, democracy movements, extremist threats, international investments, human displacement and strategic opportunities all are rising. The coronavirus pandemic underscores both Africa’s risks to global stability from fragile states—and the overlooked potential of a continent now outperforming wealthier regions in containing the public health crisis. COVID is the latest reminder that “Africa’s deepening vulnerabilities and its rising capacities will shape global realities whether we prepare for that or not,” according to scholar Joseph Sany.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Can Syrians Who Left ISIS Be Reintegrated into Their Communities?

Can Syrians Who Left ISIS Be Reintegrated into Their Communities?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

By: Mona Yacoubian ; Chris Bosley; Leanne Erdberg Steadman

More than a year since the territorial defeat of ISIS, the region is still reeling in the wake of the self-styled caliphate’s destruction. Kurdish authorities operate two dozen detention facilities in northeast Syria holding thousands of former ISIS fighters. On October 5, Kurdish authorities in charge of al-Hol said they would free the 24,000 Syrians in the camp, where conditions have become increasingly unsustainable. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian, Chris Bosley, and Leanne Erdberg Steadman look at what led to the decision to release these Syrians and the challenges ahead for reintegrating them into their communities.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Reconciliation; Violent Extremism

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