The speakers included Amel Boubekeur, a research fellow at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris; Maàti Monjib, professor of African Studies and Political History at the University of Rabat; and Larbi Sadiki, professor at the Department of International Affairs at Qatar University.
The panel was moderated by Adel Abdel Ghafar, a fellow at the BDC.
Ghafar began the discussion by stating that “There is a vibrancy in these three countries, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Like most of the Arab world, the youth in these countries will be a key to stability or instability.” He added that these countries, though holding strong in the face of the regional instability, have been facing pressure from international institutions due to their overstretched finance, as well as from their own people because of their unfulfilled aspirations.
Boubekeur addressed the fact that Algeria is a country different from others, saying: “The power and civil society are not considered as conflicting power blocks. It is much more about the integration, people and opportunities. Algerian people are waiting for a change but they don’t know when it is going to come.”
Monjib said the social unrest in Morocco is like the Arab Spring in a puzzle. “The protests are dominated by political demands,” he said. The people want to stronghold of the ruling elite to end for there to be a democratization of the government.”
Sadiki commented that the protest movement has not been able to recruit from the youth. He said, “Perhaps it is because we can clearly see that the systems for decentralisation in the political structure are not there.” Sadiki also brought forward the point that Tunisia functions with two societies, one that is centralised and the other that is marginalised. “For a long time, the marginalised functioned under-the-radar but now the government is afraid of entry of weapons from Libya to Tunisia through these marginalised areas,” he said.