Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy where his research focuses on Sunni Arab jihadi groups in North Africa and Syria as well as the trend of foreign fighting and online jihadism.
As Secretary Kerry makes his inaugural Middle East trip, states across North Africa face rising tensions among the forces for democracy, stability, and Islamic political ascendancy. In Egypt and Tunisia, revolutions have given way to uncertainty and violence, while Morocco's model of stable reform -- a monarch with an Islamist prime minister -- tends to obscure other elements lurking just beneath the surface.
To assess these changes and their consequences for the region and the United States, three Washington Institute fellows recently conducted intensive research trips to each of these countries, where they spoke frankly with a wide range of government officials, opposition leaders, security officers, and human rights activists, both secularist and fundamentalist. To view their remarks, watch the video above or read their separate articles discussing their findings: