Middle East and North Africa News

Negotiating With Iran Part 2: A Matter of Trust

Nov 06, 2012
Iran's nuclear program continues to move forward. Israel and the United States have declared a nuclear Iran unacceptable. Negotiations have stalled while sanctions appear to be taking a toll on the Islamic Republic's economy. How will the standoff be resolved? Is a diplomatic solution possible or is a military confrontation inevitable? To gain insight into the possibility for diplomacy to prevail, we spoke with two veteran Iran experts with decades of direct experience in the diplomatic arena. John Limbert, one of the 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, shares his unique perspective on U.S.-Iran relations.

Blog Buzz: New Islamic TV Expands Across Mideast

Nov 05, 2012
Islamic television is increasingly popular and prevalent across the Middle East one year after Islamists began winning democratic elections. Even secular satellite channels are now broadcasting more religious content—and in better prime time slots. The satellite sheikhs vary widely, however. Indeed, the battle over defining Islam in a new political era is now being waged on television screens.

Turkey’s Popularity Slips in Mideast

Nov 05, 2012
Turkey’s standing in the Arab world and Iran has dropped noticeably over the past year according to a new poll by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). In 2011, 78 percent of the 2,800 respondents had a positive view of Turkey. In 2012, it dropped to 69 percent. “Most of the participants think Turkey is the strongest political power in the region. They consider Saudi Arabia the strongest economic power and Iran the strongest military power,” said TESEV Foreign Policy Chairman Mensur Akgun at an Istanbul press conference.

Tunisia: Interview with Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi

Nov 02, 2012
Tunisia -- Robin Wright interviewed Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda Party, on the first anniversary of Tunisia’s first democratic elections. Ghannouchi reflected on the new Islamist spectrum, especially concern about the growing Salafi factor.

Morocco: Women on Goverment Successes and Failures

Nov 01, 2012
One year has passed since the Justice and Development Party (PJD), a moderate Islamist party, won 107 of 395 parliamentary seats in Morocco’s first free election. The PJD won 27 percent of the seats and the right to lead a coalition government with three secular parties. Moroccan women were asked the following question: What are the successes and failures of the Justice and Development Party-led government?

U.S. State Department Assists Arab Economies

Nov 01, 2012
On October 26, the Assistant Secretary for the U.S. State Department Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs pledged to “create more links between the new [Arab] democracies and American industry.” Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez briefed the 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference on successful economic development projects enacted since the Arab uprisings.

Interview between Efraim Halevy and Aaron David Miller

Oct 24, 2012
Efraim Halevy is a former Director of Mossad and former Head of the Israeli National Security Council. Aaron David Miller is the Vice President for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The interview took place following the October 18 meeting “Iran, Palestine, and the Arab Spring: The View from Israel” at the Wilson Center.

Obama, Romney Debate U.S. Policy in the Middle East

Oct 23, 2012
U.S. policy in the Middle East was a central point of dispute during the final presidential debate on October 22. President Barack Obama claimed that he has shown strong leadership on counterterrorism, democracy, women’s rights and religious minorities. During the debate, he labeled Romney’s proposed policies “reckless” and “all over the map.” Governor Romney criticized Obama for not stemming the “rising tide of chaos” in the region. He called for arming the “responsible parties” of Syrian insurgents in order to force President Bashar Assad out. Both candidates emphasized economic development as the key to stability and peace in the region.

Petro Politics: Mixing Oil and War

Oct 23, 2012
In many countries, oil tends to fuel civil and international conflicts. Wilson Center Fellow Jeff Colgan talks about the case studies to be featured in his forthcoming book due out in February 2013.

Rand: U.S. Engagement with Muslim Brotherhood Youth

Oct 22, 2012
In October 2012, a new Rand Corporation report highlighted divisions between Muslim Brotherhood youth and senior leadership in Egypt. Younger members are usually more progressive on social issues like gender equality and minority rights. They are also frustrated by the organization’s internal hierarchy, which provides them with limited leadership roles or responsibility. The report warns that U.S. officials are not doing enough to engage with emerging leaders at the grassroots level.

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