The U.S. Navy has enjoyed the luxury of being able to transit the Suez Canal without hindrance for decades. However, the risk of losing access — perhaps quickly and unexpectedly — should inform Navy strategic and operational planning.
Tunisia has not unraveled into civil war like Syria or Libya. It has not undergone a counter-revolution that returned it to the autocracy of its pre-revolution days, like Egypt has. Tunisia is fragile, but its success is vital to the long-term stability and societal health of the Middle East.
The fight against terrorism in Tunisia is a shared priority and responsibility with the U.S. and Europe but will also depend greatly on solving the security issues in neighboring Libya, according to participants at a March 23 conference at RAND.
From the indignant graffiti scrawled on walls across Tunis to the war-torn neighborhoods of Damascus and Tripoli, the region and the world's hopes of establishing peace and democracy have largely faded.