Tunisia and Morocco are stuck between competing secularist and Islamist conceptions of the true and ideal nation and the role of religion in it.
The United States cannot control what happens in Egypt, but a consistent U.S. stand for democracy and human rights can influence the political trajectory of this important U.S. ally.
To truly move Tunisia forward, Islamist and secular forces must address the country’s socioeconomic problems that breed unrest and angry radicals.
The significance of the Geneva II conference is not going to lie in its formal outcomes as much as in its behind-the-scenes talks.
Egypt’s political affliction is not one dictatorial person but a host of dictatorial institutions, and much of Egyptian society is a happy participant rather than cowering victim in the wave of repression.
What is missing in the interpretations of sectarianism and identifying its roots is a focus on the role of institutions and the agency of political actors in deliberately invoking and amplifying sectarian passions.
Both Islamist and secular forces should work together to guarantee the right of others to operate in a democratic system, even if they don’t agree with the other’s views.
If the second Arab awakening is to be successful, it cannot just be a movement against despotic rule. It also has to be a movement for pluralism.
Washington must not pretend that some empty imitations of democratic processes, such as the recent referendum, constitute a meaningful return to the path toward “bread, freedom and social justice” that Egyptians rightfully demanded in 2011.
There are no short cuts to democracy or prosperity. The Second Arab Awakening has only just begun, and the end may not be known in this generation’s lifetime.