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Vol 38 No 5

Published 28th February 1997


Small headache

Ben Ali offers minimum reform, maximum security and a strong economy

Tunisia poses a problem for Western policy makers. On the face of it, the country's economic success proves that the International Monetary Fund's stabilisation policies can work. Tunisia is keener than any other southern Mediterranean country on partnership with the European Union. Its people enjoy modest prosperity. Its women enjoy more rights than in any other Arab country. Its state companies are enviably well managed. It is a bastion against Islamist radicalism. This is President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's record – yet his regime makes Western allies uncomfortable.

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