The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Jadilayya piece takes to task Crisis Group Tunisia report

Max Gallien and Mohammed Hammami have written an extremely important piece that takes to task a recent Crisis Group report on Tunisia. One point to note is that the ICG reports are not only shaped by the researcher-often over the years I have heard from ICG country experts about how DC or Brussels changes reports and especially policy recs. During the summer 2013 Exchange conference I hosted in Tunis with Robert Malley, frustrations around this issue were rife among the country experts.

I have myself criticized ICG reports in Syria-the famous “slow motion suicide” report written in the Fall of 2011 by Peter Harling, the Fall 2005 report calling for military intervention in Syria written by Noah Bonsey and the Summer 2015 report written by Mikhail Ayari about SSR in Tunisia.

This Jadaliyya piece is a vital read for understanding tunisia and also, crucially, how a “conflict mitigation” organization like ICG can sometimes actually contribute to problems of analysis, elite policy making and historical narrative.

My three pieces over the years criticizing ICG:

1) My NYT piece where Robert Malley convinced me to take out the ICG criticism, after several bitter arguments with Peter Harling… the points would later be made overtly in 2015 with the Tablet piece below:…/in-syria-we-need-to-bargain-wi…



Jadalliya excerpt: “…This article studies a recent report by the International Crisis Group, which has been a particularly influential and widely cited contributor to this narrative of elite conflict. Based on intensive fieldwork in Southern Tunisia, and extensive experience researching national-level corruption, we argue that ICG’s report presents a simplistic, elitist, and grossly misleading account of the current situation in the country. Furthermore, we illustrate how some of the key policies that have been proposed by ICG, as well as the World Bank and the country’s Presidency, are largely based on this analysis. In conclusion, we propose an alternative approach to fighting corruption and addressing the ongoing protests in the country…”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

May 31, 2017 at 10:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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