Although the "Arab uprisings" took them by surprise, the authoritarian régimes in North Africa have for the most part proved relatively robust. But for how long?
A specialist on the region, Luis Martinez reviews the situation in countries like Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia. He shows that by bracing themselves with the twin functions inherited from colonial powers – maintaining law and order and extracting natural resources – these states have neglected to put the general interest of their countries at the heart of their action. Unable to move away from their obsession with security – which is shared by the international community – their eyes fixed on the Sahel-Sahara region, the new epicenter of jihadism, their governments seem ignorant to the real challenge they face. They need to respond to the anger of the large and largely unemployed younger generation and gain the loyalty of the people who have paid the price of corruption, failed economic development models, and the lack of a welfare state.