Slashing US economic assistance while holding mostly steady on security aid would undermine the Biden administration’s claims that it supports the Tunisian people and their democratic aspirations. “It sends a concerning message to Saied and security officials in the country that, despite their abuses, we are happy to maintain support for your institutions as long as you continue to work with us.”
“There is no way around it—this is a big deal. . . . Yes, the United States could not have brokered such a deal right now with Iran specifically, since we have no relations. But in a larger sense, China’s prestigious accomplishment vaults it into a new league diplomatically and outshines anything the U.S. has been able to achieve in the region since Biden came to office.”
“We have seen some condemnations and statements of concern from the international community, but clearly not enough to sway Saïed’s thinking. . . . Rather than shrinking, the crackdown is expanding, with more opponents of the president continuing to be summoned for questioning daily.”
“The crackdown is both shocking and, for those who have followed President Saïed’s rhetoric and actions over the past year and a half, entirely expected. . . . The arrests and charges are similar to others we have seen since Saïed’s coup, but on a new and alarmingly large scale.”
Seth Binder, the director of advocacy at the Project on Middle East Democracy, called the newly released language on human rights a significant improvement to both the Trump and Obama administrations’ policies. “But ultimately, all of this is only as good as the implementation,” Binder said.
“U.S. law recognizes that security assistance, including arms sales, may be beneficial in advancing U.S. national security interests. . . . But it also directs the government to provide assistance so that it ‘will promote and advance human rights and avoid identification of the United States… with governments which deny to their people internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.’”
“The invasion of Ukraine has affected the Egyptian economy, especially in regards to wheat prices, as has the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the underlying problems and roots of the crisis have been brewing for years as the economic crisis is largely driven by political economic choices which President Sisi has made.”
“This election is really about bigger things. It’s about a democratic future vs. a more autocratic future. It’s about Turkey’s economy and the direction that’s going to be taking. Is it going to recover under a new government with sensible fiscal policies? Is there going to be an independent central bank or are we going to continue down this path where inflation keeps on rising and the cost of living keeps rising for the people and becomes unbearable for a lot of its citizens?”
“Erdoğan might pull a January 6. . . . How would [the Biden administration] feel if in just three months, Turkey has its first unfree election in decades . . . and they have sold the F-16 to Turkey just months before?”
Sign up to receive timely insights and analyses from our experts, the latest democracy and human rights-related news from the Middle East and North Africa, and highlights from POMED’s publications and events.
Commentary – Democracy Over Autocracy: The Missing Middle East