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Embassy Attacks in Egypt, Tunisia Could Marginalize Extremists

Monday, Sept. 17, 2012

Some commentators have argued that last week’s attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia will strengthen the radical and anti-Western Islamic factions in those countries. However, a number of political and economic realities suggest that the violent attacks might instead marginalize the extremists and strengthen these countries’ moderate Islamists.

In Tunisia and Egypt, recent elections resulted in governing coalitions led by moderate Islamist parties. But gaining control of the executive branch has made moderate Islamists responsible for dealing with the mounting economic and social problems that have plagued both countries since the 2011 uprisings. Indeed, in both countries, the crisis is so severe that addressing it has become the top priority of the Islamist ruling parties. And doing so will force them to take a strong stand against violent extremists. ...

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