May 20, 2013
Blasphemy and apostasy laws were applied in a discriminatory manner in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in 2012, according to a new report by the U.S. State Department. “These laws are frequently used to repress dissent, to harass political opponents, and to settle personal vendettas,” Secretary of State Kerry said on May 20.
Apr 24, 2013
Tunisia’s secular opposition may be a major contender in presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for late 2013, according to a new paper by Marina Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Call of Tunisia, an alliance of secular political groups is competing for supporters. In April 2013, it was “running almost even” with the Islamist Ennahda party in public opinion polls.
Apr 16, 2013
The Arab uprisings have deepened ethnic and religious tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in the Middle East, according to a new report by The Brookings Institution. The rise of sectarianism is being drive by three main factors: •Sunni Islamist ascendancy in Tunisia and Egypt •The civil war in Syria, renewed conflict in Lebanon, and unrest in Bahrain •Popular perceptions of outside intervention have created a “virtual proxy war” with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah on one side and the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the other
Apr 12, 2013
Tunisia’s transition to democracy is seriously threatened by violence following the assassination of a prominent leftist politician in February, according to a new paper by David Ottaway. The killing of Chokri Belaid triggered a showdown between the moderate and fundamentalist wings of the Islamist Ennahda Party, which rules in coalition with two secular parties.
Apr 12, 2013
On April 11, G8 foreign ministers condemned attacks on residential areas in Syria and warned that chemical weapons use would “demand a serious international response.” Ministers from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom also reaffirmed their support for the six Deauville Partnership transition countries ― Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen. The partnership, launched in May 2011, supports four areas key to successful political transitions: economic stabilization, job creation, good governance, and economic integration.
Apr 10, 2013
Fair pay, unemployment and rising living costs are top concerns of Arab youth, according to a new survey by Asada’a and Burson Marsteller. "Being paid a fair wage” is the top priority of 82 percent of respondents for the second year in a row. Owning a home, also for the second consecutive year, remains the second-highest priority of Arab youth.
Apr 10, 2013
Three-quarters of youth in 15 Arab countries think “our best days are ahead of us,” according to a new survey by Asada’a and Burson Marsteller. About 70 percent of respondents think the Arab world is “better off” since the uprisings began in December 2010, and 67 percent feel personally better off. Nearly half of youth say their government has become more transparent and representative.
Apr 09, 2013
Iran hailed the 2011 Arab uprisings as an “Islamic Awakening” and considered the overthrow of U.S.-backed dictators a continuation of its own 1979 revolution. A new report claims that Tehran’s goals are to foster political Islam in the Arab world and Arab independence from U.S. influence—both elements of a broader strategic narrative ultimately radiating from Iran.
Mar 27, 2013
Egypt and Tunisia have “traveled the furthest on the road to democratic transformation,” according to a new paper by Adeed Dawisha, a former public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Both countries have held free and fair elections. They also formed parliaments tasked with writing new constitutions. Tunisia’s prospects for democracy, however, may be better than Egypt’s, Dawisha argues.
Mar 15, 2013
Women in the Middle East and North Africa are more educated than ever before, but their participation in the workface is 25 percent – about half of the world average, according to a new report by the World Bank. “Often what stands between women and jobs are legal and social barriers,” said Manuela Ferro, Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management in the MENA region. But even some educated women lack the relevant skills currently in demand.