The announcement of new construction in East Jerusalem that interrupted U.S. Vice President Biden’s trip to Israel to reinvigorate peace negotiations reflects the strained relations between Israel and the United States and how much remains to be done before Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can lead to real progress.
In an increasingly interconnected world, the collapse of one society has immediate economic, political and security repercussions on societies around it. Preventing such collapses requires a global development strategy that reflects the key challenges of the new century, including resource scarcity.
Al-Qaeda is not the only factor threatening Yemen’s stability. Water shortages, collapsing oil supplies, war, refugees, pirates, and poverty all put the country at risk of becoming a failed state.
Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary election will not bring about any decisive changes. Elections do not cause significant power shifts; they can only reflect the power shifts that have already taken place.
Mohamed ElBaradei has an opportunity to help Egyptians achieve a more democratic government. To succeed, he must do three things: remind Egypt that democracy requires an engaged citizenry, call on the opposition to formulate well-defined political programs, and move back to Egypt so that he can engage directly with its citizens.
While officials are quietly suggesting that indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel may resume, escalating tensions between Israel, Syria, and Lebanon are sparking concerns about the possibility of a regional war.
After a year long hiatus, the rhetoric of a war on terror has returned to the fore, following the failed attack on an American plane on Christmas Day. Both the American far right and al-Qaeda have seized upon that attack to push forward their agendas, aided by the resurgence of more militant rhetoric.
While an ad hoc committee has lifted the ban barring candidates suspected of ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party from participating in the Iraqi elections, it did not dismiss the charges against those candidates and is widely seen as the result of internal and external political pressures.
The Obama administration’s deadline for Iran to enter discussions on the nuclear issue has passed. In spite of claims from Washington that “all options are on the table,” the economic crisis makes a military response to Iran infeasible.
The steady rise of sectarian tensions over the past few years in Egypt is the result of an indecisive state, an incendiary media, and a failure of civil institutions to stand up for the equal rights of all Egyptians.
The Muslim Brotherhood was once the most dynamic opposition force in Egypt, but the government’s efforts to exclude it from political participation and internal conflict within the Brotherhood itself have made it practically indistinguishable from the country’s other opposition parties.
Islamist parties and movements in Arab countries have gained political influence by making the difficult strategic decision to participate in the existing legal political process, forcing them to confront thorny ideological issues.
The Arab world is at a dangerous juncture, with domestic, regional, and international challenges creating a state of crisis that could lead toward the disintegration of the Arab nations and the fragmentation of society.
While the current political elite is likely to remain in power, by 2020 the dynamics of modernization will have changed Egypt fundamentally.
Yemen’s stability is threatened by multiple security and economic challenges, ranging from a rapidly growing population to imminent economic collapse, and immediate and sustained international attention is needed to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state.
Lebanon’s domestic and regional politics remained relatively calm in 2009, but with Hezbollah’s refusal to disarm and Syria’s continuing determination to ferry arms into Lebanon, the nation lacks full sovereignty and remains vulnerable to sudden shocks.
Yemen’s stability and security situation is rapidly deteriorating, threatening the entire region, and without the help of Yemen’s neighbors and international partners, the situation will only continue to worsen, with potentially catastrophic results.
President Obama has had some major accomplishments in the past year, but serious challenges still lay ahead: strengthening the nonproliferation regime, climate change, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, and Afghanistan.
As Iraq’s second parliamentary election approaches, Sunnis appear as uncertain about what strategy to pursue and as divided among themselves as they were in 2004 and 2005.
Engagement with Iran over its nuclear problem has become increasingly complicated; not only has the regime backed away from previous commitments, but internal political developments require the Obama administration to call for engagement without undermining the opposition.