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The Democratic Imperative vs. the Authoritarian Impulse: The Maghrib State Between Transition and Terrorism

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Despite public promises to the contrary, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia continue to be ruled autocratically even as their civil societies aspire to greater public space. Rather than promoting concrete steps towards democratization including institutionalizing freedom of speech, association, and pluralistic political practices, the three states of the Maghrib are pursuing survivalist strategies leading to a robust authoritarianism that seems unlikely to be overturned anytime soon. Yet failure to transform authoritarian politics dramatically and decisively into a sustainable democracy will not only hamper long-term socioeconomic development but, more ominously, foster an environment within which radical forces will emerge to threaten domestic as well as regional and global stability. Current American efforts to promote democratic reform in the region must evolve more imaginatively if they are to meet the challenge of global terrorism that itself is so deeply embedded within the authoritarian impulse that can only be overcome through the democratic imperative.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2005

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