RealNews

N. Africa may test U.S. on rights

Secretary of State Colin Powell faces a difficult challenge during brief visits to three North African countries this week: balancing U.S. support for allies in the war on terrorism with a new campaign to promote democracy and human rights in the Arab world. Powell’s public and private comments in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia will be an early indication of whether the Bush administration’s commitment to democracy-building is as strong as recent speeches by President Bush and other top U.S. officials would suggest. In all three countries, governments have justified their authoritarian practices as necessary to combat Islamic fundamentalism. All three have been staunch supporters of the U.S. war on terrorism. They have assisted in tracking down North African members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Full Story

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