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  • Will ElBaradei Run in Egypt's Elections?

    Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Association, has injected a new dynamism into the Egyptian political scene, but he is unlikely to be able to mobilize enough people to effect any real change in Egypt.

  • Iraq's Vote—Only the Beginning

    Iraqis head to the polls on Sunday for what is considered a fundamental test of the fledgling democracy. While the results of the parliamentary elections will help determine Iraq’s stability and may influence the drawdown of U.S. forces, the voting is only one step in the country’s political transition.

  • Russia's Policy in the Middle East: Prospects for Consensus and Conflict with the United States

    By the beginning of the twenty-first century, Russia had recovered from its domestic crisis, and so had its global ambitions. While Moscow’s principal interests still lie mostly toward the West, the Middle East is back on Moscow’s radar screen and Russia’s withdrawal from the region has been reversed.

  • Shi’i Politics: Preparing for Victory and for the Next Battle

    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.

  • Egypt: From Semi-Authoritarianism to One-Dimensionality

    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.

  • Election Imbroglio in Iraqi Kurdistan

    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.

  • Three Suggestions for Doctor ElBaradei

    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.

  • Threats of War and Whispers of Peace in the Israel-Syria-Lebanon Triangle

    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.

  • War on Terror Again?

    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.

  • Iran's Political Stock—A Short Sell

    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.

  • De-Baathification Decision Postponed Until After Election Results

    • February 04, 2010
    • Analysis of the 2010 Iraqi Parliamentary Elections

    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.

  • Yemen Faces Grave and Growing Domestic Challenges

    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.

  • Why No U.S. President will Bomb Iran

    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.

  • Sectarian Tensions are Somebody's Fault

    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.

  • Sovereign Wealth Funds: The Governance Challenge

    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.

  • Is the Brotherhood Pushing the Self-Destruct Button?

    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.

  • When Islamists Go into Politics

    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.

  • Getting to Pluralism: Political Actors in the Arab World

    • Michal Onderco
    • January 12, 2010
    • Book Review

    The book is the best offering for an overview of Arab politics. It offers important ideas for policy and also a great general overview. Accessible language as well as direct flow of information, make the book a comfortable read.

  • Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iranian Protests

    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.

  • Where We Are in 2010

    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.

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