NARCO RoundUp: Looking Backwards and Forward

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This issue of the NARCO RoundUp looks back at 2016 to see what changed in Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia, what stayed the same, and what the consequences will be for 2017. A kind of retrospective on the last twelve months and a little forecasting for what’s to come.

What changed? A lot. Libya defeated a lot of demons, but only to make room for some more. Algeria’s change is paradoxically incremental and disruptive, with the landscape shifting, but not in any determinate way. Tunisia’s changes seem to be mostly cosmetic, maybe even deckchairs on the Titanic.

What stayed the same? Probably too much. Libya is still barely sovereign and barely a state. Long expected changes in leadership in Algeria failed to materialize. And Tunisia is still a mess, politically, economically, and in terms of security.

So what? There will be a civil war in Libya in 2017. In Algeria, the state will have to manage its contract with society more carefully than it has in the last decade. And Tunisia will struggle to remain relevant and not slip irretrievably below the surface.

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