Sarah Yerkes

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Sarah Yerkes is a visiting fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow. She is a former member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, where she focused on North Africa.

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Why Morocco's Latest Protests Will Not Usher in Another Arab Spring

Editor's Note: Protests have erupted across Morocco over the last few days following the death of a fish seller in al-Hoceima. After local authorities - expecting a bribe - tossed his fish into a trash compactor, Mouhcine Fikri jumped into the machine and was killed when it was activated. His death is reminiscent of the events surrounding the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia in December 2010 - the event credited with sparking the Arab Spring.


Can Tunisia's New Prime Minister Overcome the Trust Deficit?

Tunisia’s Prime Minister-designate, Youssef Chahed, is expected to announce his cabinet this week, well ahead of the September 3 deadline. Chahed, who was appointed by President Beji Caid Essebsi on August 2 after former prime minister Habib Essid failed to win a no confidence vote, has a tremendous burden on his shoulders. Should he succeed in forming a government and winning parliament’s approval, he will be expected to shepherd a legislative agenda that includes addressing Tunisia’s rapidly deteriorating economic situation and developing safeguards against future terror attacks.

Foreign Policy Essay

The Unintended Consequences of Media Crackdowns in the Middle East and North Africa

Editor’s Note: The hopes for democracy in the Middle East that flourished after the Arab Spring are now gone. Hope for positive change, however, rests on many of democracy's building blocks, such as the rule of law, civil society, and a free press. These too remain under siege in many countries. Sarah Yerkes, a visiting fellow with us in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, details the troubling increase in media censorship in the Middle East and argues that such pressure is likely to backfire.