Monica Marks: Tunisia’s Popular Authoritarian

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This week on Babel, Jon speaks with Dr. Monica Marks, a professor of Middle East politics at NYU Abu Dhabi who has been thinking about Tunisia for almost 15 years. They discuss Tunisian President Kais Saied's recent moves to consolidate power, why Tunisians seem to support him, what's at stake for Tunisia's democracy, and what role Western donors and institutions can play in the country. Then, Jon, Will Todman, and Caleb Harper continue the conversation about the nature of popular authoritarianism and how we should think about popular despots in Tunisia and the rest of the Arab world. 

Monica Marks, “An Interview with Hamma Hammami of the Tunisian Worker’s Party,” Jadaliyya, August 20, 2021.  
Will Todman, "A Coup in Tunisia?" CSIS, July 27, 2021.
Will Todman, "Challenging Authority in Post-Revolution Tunisia," CSIS, January 22, 2020.
Monica Marks, “'Letting go of every principle': Tunisia's democratic gains under threat,” Middle East Eye, July 24, 2017.
Monica Marks, “Tunisia’s Unwritten Story,” The Century Foundation, March 14, 2017. 
Episode Transcript, "Tunisia's Popular Authoritarian," CSIS, September 21, 2021.
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Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program
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Caleb Harper
Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, Middle East Program