As the number of countries with the ambition to play a role in world affairs increases, Washington must decide whether to deal with them as legitimate global players or treat them as meddlers to be dismissed.
The formation of a new Iraqi government may still be months away, not because the issues to be negotiated will take time, but because serious negotiations do not appear to have started yet.
The post-election phase in Iraq appears even more difficult than anticipated, postponing improvements in Iraq’s long-term security and economic development.
Currently, no single party in Iraq has enough seats to form a new government. Any new government would need votes of confidence from multiple coalitions and ethnic groups. Even the leaders of the two coalitions with the largest number of seats may not have the support needed to become prime minister.
Three weeks after the election, the Iraqi High Election Commission announced the final vote count and the apportionment of seats among the lists. The announcement ends the suspense but opens a period of intense negotiating among parties which could be marred by violence.
The economic outlook for the Gulf Cooperation Council remains encouraging, but the crisis has revealed financial sector vulnerabilities that need to be addressed in order to limit future disruptions of economic growth.
Confronted with structural weaknesses, external shocks, and the Ahmadinejad administration's gross mismanagement of the economy, Iran is facing its bleakest economic prospects in nearly two decades.
The formal process that leads from the elections to the formation of a new government in Iraq is extremely complicated and bound to take time, even without taking into consideration the difficulty of forming viable political alliances.
Iraq’s election campaign is marked by the usual mixture of unrealistic promises, verbal attacks against competitors, and attempts by parties to appropriate symbols that do not properly belong to any one faction, as well as, more worryingly, the certainty voiced by all alliances that the elections will be marred by fraud.
Due to the deep divisions among the likely winners in the elections, the Shi’i parties, the March 7 elections will just be the first step in determining the distribution of power in the Iraqi political system.
Over the next year, Egypt will hold three important elections, none of which stand any chance of redistributing power in the country. Egypt needs long-term democratic reforms, and the United States can play an effective role in promoting those reforms.
For the Kurds, the forthcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections are a litmus test for the viability of the power-sharing agreement between the various political, ethnic, and religious groups in the Kurdistan region.
Though sovereign wealth funds, valued at $2.4 trillion globally, played a stabilizing role during the crisis, their widely varying governance standards may pose geopolitical risks in the future.
While Tunisian President Ben Ali’s reelection to a fifth term is a foregone conclusion, the international community must press him to institute real political change and move beyond a superficial illusion of pluralism.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, the Saudis cannot be comforted to know that their economic fortunes are so closely related to events beyond their borders. The Saudi leadership will look to the G20 process to help make these markets less volatile and easier to navigate.
The Fatah Congress has given Abu Mazen and Fatah a much-needed shot in the arm, and conferred new legitimacy on the peace option among Palestinians.
A unity government has been formed in Lebanon following the electoral defeat of the Hezbollah-led coalition in June. However, in order to stabilize the fragile country, the new government must succeed in instituting economic, political, and security reforms.
Morocco's Royal Institute for Strategic Studies has reported that the country's biggest challenges to economic growth stem from a lack of leadership, inconsistent policies, and poor governmental communication. Though the diagnosis is accurate, the proposed recommendations fail to address the root causes of these problems.
Ten years after succeeding his father to the Moroccan throne, King Mohammed VI has implemented significant economic and social reforms but has not yet delivered the kind of political change many hoped for when he took power.
The code of conduct outlined by the International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds might lose its rationale if it is not vigorously implemented. The individual aspects of the principles need to be more carefully looked at.