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.
In Tunisia, healthy disagreement between political parties has fostered some real change since the 2011 uprisings and throughout the course of the transition, but the persistent power-sharing dynamics in play aren't advancing democracy.
Algeria could be a key regional partner for the United States and France in security and counterterrorism efforts against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. It has a clear interest in quelling the threat posed by regional jihadists and it has local knowledge that could be helpful to U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
The open-ended nature of the Islamic State group's threat against Tunisair suggests that it intends to target Tunisia for the long haul. The United States should counter the threats with steadfast and sustained cooperation and assistance.
Like it or not, the United States counts among its allies a number of authoritarian Arab countries, and they are essential partners in protecting its interests, writes Seth G. Jones. The normative hope that liberal democracy may flourish in the future must be balanced by the need to work with governments and societies as they exist today.
The Arab Spring demonstrated that leaderless revolutions are difficult to repress or co-opt. Unfortunately, it is also true that leaderless revolts find it difficult to make transition to authority, writes Charles Ries.
Assisting Arab democratic transitions will not eliminate religious extremism. But successful transitions would directly challenge the jihadist brands that promote attacks on America, writes Julie Taylor.