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.
On February 11, Iran will mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution with a resilient opposition movement, its population divided, and the threat of international sanctions.
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.
While growing Islamic extremism in Yemen is alarming, in the longer term it is the country’s domestic challenges that threaten to bring Yemen to its knees, with potentially destabilizing consequences for the region.
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.
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.
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.
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The most serious development of the Iranian protests has been the challenges to Ayatollah Khamenei, which are unprecedented and open up new questions about the potential for real, significant constitutional change.
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.
The failed attack on a U.S. airliner thirteen days ago thrust President Obama and his administration into the center of an intensified focus on domestic security. The president’s response to this new crisis has been generally strong as he balances several significant domestic challenges at the same time.
The resurgence of al-Qaeda in Yemen and around the world demands a comprehensive counterterrorism approach. In order to combat al-Qaeda and similar groups, the international community must focus on capacity building in weak states and de-radicalization programs.
The presence of Al-Qaeda in Yemen is only one of many security and economic challenges facing the country. International aid must be comprehensive in nature and empower the Yemenis to build their own capacity, in order to combat these challenges.
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.
As the security situation in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan has improved, al-Qaeda has been forced to seek out new safe havens in places like the ungoverned parts of the Yemeni countryside.
Protests in Iran over the past few days have shown the breadth, determination, and sustainability of the opposition movement, with demonstrations not only in Tehran but throughout the country.