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.
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.
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.
The Pew Research Center conducted a poll on the U.S. public‘s views on the Middle East in early October. The public is increasingly pessimistic about regional developments following the Arab uprisings. In April 2011, 42 percent of Americans thought changes in leadership would “lead to lasting improvements for people” in countries like Egypt and Libya. But in October 2012, only 25 percent still believe there will be lasting improvements.The results were released prior to the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Overall the poll found little difference in opinion between Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The majority of Americans, 54 percent, say it is “more important to have stable governments in the Middle East, even if there is less democracy in the region.”
This new series provides a platform for women to engage in a free and fluid exchange about pivotal Middle East issues. On October 8, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi completed his first 100 days in office. For this piece, Egyptian women were asked the following question: What are the successes and failures of President Mohamed Morsi’s government?
Following the massive Arab and Muslim demonstrations and attacks on American embassies in Libya and Egypt in reaction to an anti-Muslim video, the Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and the Program on International Policy attitudes conducted an American public opinion poll to study how the American public reacted to these events. A majority of Americans said the attacks were supported by extremist minorities but also thought the Egyptian and Libyan governments did not protect American diplomats and their staff. About three in ten Americans wanted to completely cut aid to Egypt and four in ten wanted to reduce aid.
On October 12, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton declared that U.S. support for democratic transitions is a “strategic necessity” and not just “a matter of idealism.” She discussed the status of North African political transitions at a conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Clinton pledged to increase engagement with the region, despite the outbreak of anti-American sentiment in September 2012. She urged Congress to approve an additional $770 million in assistance to countries that enact political and economic reforms.
This new series provides a platform for women to engage in a free and fluid exchange about pivotal Middle East issues. In this continuation of the first piece, women across the region were asked to answer this question: What should be the role of Islam in your society? And what should be Islam’s role in your government?
This new series provides a platform for women to engage in a free and fluid exchange about pivotal Middle East issues. For the first piece, women across the region were asked to answer this question: What should be the role of Islam in your society? And what should be Islam’s role in your government?
On Sept. 9, the Salafi preacher and television host Sheikh Khalid Abdullah aired a YouTube clip of the "Innocence of Muslims" film on satellite channel al Nas. Religious leaders across the region condemned the film's offensive content. High-ranking clerics in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere called for restraint after the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya on Sept. 11.