Feb 07, 2013
Qatar has seized the opportunity of the Arab uprisings to expand its influence across the region. It moved into the vacuum after the revolutions caught the United States and other major powers by surprise. Despite its small size, it now aspires to a play a leading role in Arab politics.
Feb 06, 2013
In early February, Human Wrights watch released its new World Report. The following are excerpts from chapters on Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.
Jan 11, 2013
After 32 years without diplomatic relations, Egypt and Iran have initiated a dialogue since the Muslim Brotherhood has risen to power. But the Islamic Republic and the Brotherhood are not natural allies. The Brotherhood is a mainstream Sunni Islamist group that is more aligned to other Arab states in the Gulf than to Iran.
Jan 09, 2013
On January 8, the Quilliam Foundation released a new strategic briefing on the Al Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra), a powerful rebel group fighting the Syrian regime. The report warned that the hard-line Islamist group is linked to al Qaeda, seeks to create a new jihadist umbrella movement in Syria and ultimately create a caliphate.
Dec 14, 2012
"On the second anniversary of the Arab uprisings, millions across the Middle East still have dreams of makeovers. But revolutionary fairy tales have devolved into the reality of running countries that are still without fully functioning governments or basic laws. Providing fundamental public services, much less addressing economic woes that sparked the uprisings, is still a very long way off," writes DIstinguished Scholar Robin Wright.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.