Dec 14, 2012
"The referendum on Egypt's constitution scheduled for Saturday is a sign that Egyptians of varying views are finally playing politics, not just planning protests. Washington should embrace this in its newfound role of providing guidance without interfering. In other words, it should be coach, not captain," writes Jane Harman in The Washington Post.
Dec 13, 2012
On December 13, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns outlined U.S. policy in the Middle East two years after the Arab uprisings. Burns committed support for continued democratic changes and urged tolerance despite the turmoil. He emphasized the need for “sustainable democracy,” and not just stability. Burns also noted that the United States’ democratic transition “took fifteen years to deliver a President, Congress and Constitution—and even then it required ten amendments to pass and a civil war to realize its potential.” The war ended nearly 90 years after declaring independence from Great Britain.
Dec 13, 2012
Islamists are likely to be “more market-oriented” and entrepreneurial in the future, according to a new report by the U.S. National Intelligence Council. “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” explores what the world could look like in the coming decades. The report predicts that Islam and other religions will play a larger role in global politics. But in the Middle East, “political pragmatism could trump ideology helped by a growing civil society that will begin to produce a new cadre of pragmatic, entrepreneurial and social leaders.” If pragmatists fail to improve the economy, hardline Islamists could gain popularity by offering a non-Western model, the report says.
Dec 13, 2012
Arab social media users are more likely to express their opinions on politics, community issues and religion than others in Europe, Latin America, the United States and Asia, according to a new survey by Pew. In Egypt and Tunisia, more than 60 percent of surveyed users share their political and religious views online. Less than 40 percent of European and U.S. users share their political and religious views.
Dec 11, 2012
Egypt’s Facebook sheikhs reflect the growing diversity within Islam. The new tech-savvy sheikhs range from rock-star street preachers to Salafi populists. Even the old clerics are finding they have to be hip to keep their flocks. Their television shows, broadcast on popular satellite stations, compete for viewers—generating new rivalries over who controls the Muslim message.
Dec 11, 2012
Women played frontline roles in the Arab uprisings, but have since faced growing political hurdles during the transitions. Nine female activists from Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya outlined the specific challenges to women’s participation at a meeting sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in October 2012. They also offered strategies for empowering women.
Dec 04, 2012
Women from across the Middle East – from Egypt to Bahrain, Lebanon to Iraq—responded to the following question: Is there another Muslim-majority country that you look to as a model? Why?
Dec 03, 2012
Egypt’s Constituent Assembly passed a draft constitution on November 30. President Mohamed Morsi then announced a national referendum will be held on December 15. “I renew my call for opening a serious national dialogue over the concerns of the nation, with all honesty and impartiality, to end the transitional period as soon as possible, in a way that guarantees the newly-born democracy,” Morsi told the Constituent Assembly.
Nov 29, 2012
"Too often, the "winner-takes-all" Mubarak model persists in Egyptian politics. Instead of engaging or working within the system, and compromising, opposition forces protest in Tahrir Square or boycott. While these tactics won a revolution, they will not build a democracy," writes Jane Harman.
Nov 28, 2012
In separate interviews, the Wilson Center's Jane Harman and Robin Wright discuss Egypt's fragile democracy.