The lack of transparency and the presence of widespread irregularities in the voting and counting process have given Egypt’s parliamentary elections little credibility among both international and domestic observers.
Even though the Obama administration was unable to persuade President Mubarak to accept international election monitors, it is important to continue showing U.S. support for political reform and human rights in Egypt.
While the participation of both domestic monitors and international observers set a precedent for transparency in Jordan’s parliamentary elections, larger problems regarding electoral laws and accurate representation still persist.
The agreement signed on November 11, intended to pave the way for the formation of an Iraqi government, has already proven to be extremely fragile and there is a strong possibility that it may fail.
Given the overall political climate in Egypt and divisions within the Muslim Brotherhood, it seems likely that the Brotherhood will have a weaker showing in the upcoming elections than it did in 2005.
With growth in most Middle Eastern and North African economies expected to accelerate in 2010 and 2011, their governments should focus on the severe structural policy challenges plaguing their medium term economic outlooks.
The project of transforming Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party from a large and diverse group of people seeking power through a connection to the presidency into a true political party is still a work in progress.
Moqtada al-Sadr’s decision to support Nouri al-Maliki’s quest for a second term as Iraqi prime minister has given new impetus to negotiations over the formation of a new government but it has not solved any of the underlying obstacles preventing the creation of a politically viable government.
While regime supporters claim that the public is against the idea of international monitoring, there is growing support from opposition movements and broad sectors of the Egyptian public in favor of international electoral monitors as a safeguard against election fraud.
The Egyptian parliamentary elections in 2010 and the presidential succession question offer a valuable opportunity to understand the regime’s preferences on striking a balance between stability and the urgent need for reform.
As a new round of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders gets underway, U.S. efforts to isolate Hamas in Gaza could jeopardize the prospects for a diplomatic reconciliation between the two sides.
Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad’s program to build a Palestinian state despite occupation and internal division does not offer a solution to the deeper problems afflicting Palestinian politics.
Oil-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa were relatively unharmed by the Great Recession, but in the changing global economy, new policies are needed to ensure that growth remains robust.
The impending release of the findings of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and Hezbollah’s allegation of Israeli involvement in the 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri threaten to ignite a political crisis and deepen sectarian fissures in Lebanon.
The visit of Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian President al-Assad to Lebanon was a rare display of cooperation, but it yielded no real progress on a compromise over the upcoming results of the special tribunal, an issue that threatens to tear Lebanon apart.
Arab countries have made progress since the mid-20th century in a number of basic development goals; however, entrenched authoritarianism has obstructed sustained human development and domestic pressure for reform has been effectively muzzled by incumbent regimes.
As the political stalemate in Iraq continues to drag on, the major parties and politicians continue to attempt to wrangle the greatest amount of power for themselves even as they continue to break constitutionally mandated deadlines.
The recent flotilla incident involving Turkey and Israel marked the culmination of a significant shift in Turkish foreign policy, one in which Turkey emerged as an assertive regional actor.
Lebanon might have escaped another war, but tensions in the country and the region are high and getting higher, and any one of several issues could trigger local or regional conflagrations.
The international community’s understandable admiration for Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his efforts to rebuild the West Bank obscures a dangerous regression in democracy and human rights.