Issandr El Amrani

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de Marzo de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

The protests and rioting that have raged in parts of Tunisia since last week are sometimes branded, both inside the country and abroad, as signs of a new revolutionary moment similar to the 2010-2011 uprising that launched the Arab Spring. The images circulating, after all, give a sense of déjà-vu: young men burning tires at impromptu barricades, throwing stones at police; the army deploying to secure public institutions and banks, etc. This is indeed familiar: it has taken place at regular intervals, especially in winter months, for the last few years. As before, it will most likely die down: protestors are largely driven by specific socio-economic grievances, not a desire to overthrow the regime.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Tunisie connaît un nouvel épisode de contestation et de violence sociale. Le dernier en date, celui de janvier 2016, avait contribué à écourter la durée de vie du gouvernement de Habib Essid, remplacé par l’actuel premier ministre, Youssef Chahed, en août 2016. Si le sentiment diffus est celui d’un bis repetita, le contexte est plus délicat et les aboutissements plus incertains.

L’euphorie révolutionnaire qui a suivi le départ de Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, le 14 janvier 2011, n’est désormais plus qu’un vague souvenir. La realpolitik, l’inertie administrative et le marasme économique ont transformé les espoirs en désillusion, voire en résignation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tensions are rising in Libya after the de facto ruler of the country’s east, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, publicly dismissed the two-year-old international deal on how Libya should be governed. To neutralise the risk of new conflict, Haftar’s international and regional allies should forcefully condemn his attempt at undermining the UN-led peace process and urge him back to the diplomatic track.

The latest row started on 17 December, the second anniversary of the 2015 Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), when Haftar, the commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) that dominates eastern Libya, announced that he considered the LPA to have expired.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dear Chancellor Merkel,

When you meet President al-Sisi in Cairo this week, it is natural that you should seek Egypt’s cooperation on issues of direct importance to Germany, including migration, security, economic ties and regional issues. At the same time, it would not serve German or European interests to neglect the serious concerns raised by Egypt’s current direction and the potential dangers that it involves.

Under President al-Sisi, Egypt currently offers few prospects for successful cooperation and large risks of future instability. Despite a limited number of economic reforms, there are few signs that the leadership has the vision to pull Egypt out of a slow-motion economic crisis that combines high unemployment, crippling debt, a rising cost of living and grossly inadequate public services.…  Seguir leyendo »

Clouds dot the skyline over Merj, in Eastern Libya, 16 July 2016. CRISIS GROUP/Claudia Gazzini

Libyans have seen rare glimmers of hope in recent months, with an uptick in oil exports and recent reverses inflicted on the jihadists of the Islamic State. But new fighting over the country’s oil crescent has upset precarious balances and threatens the country with a dangerous economic meltdown.

The new trouble began on 7 December, when a coalition of militias began an offensive to take control of the oil export facilities of the Gulf of Sirte, an area known as the “oil crescent” that is one of Libya’s main economic lifelines. The attacking forces moved from Jufra, south of Sirte, and advanced to Ben Jawwad, some 30 km west of Libya’s largest oil export terminal.…  Seguir leyendo »

The world is waking up to the threat posed by the Islamic State’s expansion in Libya over the past year. The renewed Western focus on combating the group is related to the Nov. 13 Paris attacks — although they had nothing to do with Libya — and the increasing recognition that the U.N.-brokered Libyan Political Agreement signed on Dec. 17 is, for the moment at least, unimplementable. Therefore, a national unity government able to take on the Islamic State will not be in place any time soon. But the urge to act, or to be seen acting, against the Islamic State should not be a reason to embark on a new large-scale military adventure in Libya — one that would have unpredictable results and likely worsen the situation on the ground by making the Libyan conflict harder to resolve.…  Seguir leyendo »

There seems no end to the bad news coming out of Libya.

UN-led negotiations to unite the divided country — it has two parliaments, two governments, two militia coalitions that have been competing for control of a rapidly failing state since summer 2014 — are stalling. Fighting continues apace in Benghazi, the city that was the first to rebel against the rule of Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011 and is now a byword for extremism. The Islamic State is growing by the day in the Gulf of Sirte in the center of the country, imposing its cruel dictates and making inroads elsewhere in the country.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lifting the arms embargo to help the Libyan military fight ISIL would sabotage UN-sponsored peace talks.

The United Nations is walking a tightrope in Libya. Last week, the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the latest non-state actor to emerge in the current chaos. Because of this threat, pressure is mounting on the UN to relax a four-year-old international arms embargo to allow weapons to be delivered to the Libyan military to fight the group.

This would be a terrible move: It almost certainly would scuttle ongoing talks brokered by Bernardino Leon, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Libya; dash any hope of a peaceful solution; and create fertile ground for jihadi groups to flourish.…  Seguir leyendo »

What a difference four years can make. In 2008, Barack Obama’s victory turned into a worldwide celebration. Just as many Americans took to the streets to express their joy, around the world the relief was palpable: there would be no extension of the policies of the George W Bush era. Nowhere was this felt more than in the Middle East, where most people were aghast at Bush’s policies, still reeling from the «shock and awe» doctrine he espoused in order to fulfil his ambition of transforming the region.

I was reminded of this yesterday in Cairo, during an encounter with an Iraqi refugee who had come to the Egyptian capital in 2005 after much of his hometown of Diyala came under Sunni insurgent control.…  Seguir leyendo »

There are cautionary tales in the Arab uprisings, as Syria has shown: not every revolution can be as successful as Tunisia’s, not every aftermath is rosy. And then there are also questions raised about those places where revolution did not take place. Was it averted because there is wise and popular government, or has some kind of social shock merely been postponed?

Last year Morocco seemed for a while to be following the path of its eastern neighbours. Protests were proliferating, with public participation unseen since the 1970s. King Mohammed VI, whose legitimacy was never targeted by the protests – even if that of his regime was – deftly retook the initiative by proposing, and hurriedly passing, a new constitution.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yesterday, millions of Tunisians lined up – some for several hours – to vote in their country’s first free election. Some voters came with their children to show them, they said, what democracy looks like. Many were also voting for the first time, having refused to take part in the masquerade that electoral politics was under the oppressive regime of their deposed dictator, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The road to the polling stations has not been easy. For weeks after the dictator Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, which gave him asylum, members of his ruling party, the RCD, sowed chaos.…  Seguir leyendo »

About six or seven years ago, I began returning regularly to my birthplace of Morocco, a country I left as a child in 1989. The Morocco of my childhood was an isolated, quasi-feudal dictatorship in which the regime of the late King Hassan II brooked no dissent. During the 1990s, in the face of global changes after the fall of the Soviet Union and a greater concern for human rights among the governments and publics of Morocco’s western allies, King Hassan began a slow transformation of his ossified regime. By the time he died in 1999, he handed over to his son a political system that had the long-shunned opposition in government, a much-improved human rights record, clearer economic governance and one of the freest press in the Arab world.…  Seguir leyendo »