The Obama administration must engage in a new type of dialogue with the Middle East, one modeled after the process used to improve relations with the Soviet bloc, if it wants to have any chance of impacting political reform in the region.
Yemen faces a great and growing number of challenges which need to be addressed immediately, or there is a very real risk that the country will collapse, becoming a safe-haven for al-Qaeda and destabilizing the entire Gulf region.
Any effective U.S. diplomatic approach to Iran must involve other countries in the Gulf, but Washington will not succeed if it continues to strive for an anti-Iranian alliance. A normalization of relations between Iran and its neighbors is an important and attainable step for reintegrating Iran into the international community.
The Iraqi parliament's last-minute compromise to allow parliamentary elections in Kirkuk solves the immediate problem of who is legally entitled to vote in the city, but guarantees that the controversy will resume right after the elections.
Rather than endlessly discussing ruling elites, opposition movements, and civil organizations from a reductionist framework centered on democracy and human rights, researchers must push their analysis outside the realm of conventional thinking.
Yemen’s Islamist Congregation for Reform party (Islah) faces deep internal divisions on key issues, and its fractious composition prevents it from developing a clear parliamentary platform, leaving the party with no clear path toward the reforms it seeks.
Although important, development assistance aimed at reforming the security sectors in Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen has achieved only limited results. The bulk of such aid has consisted of military training and equipment, which does nothing to ensure that security forces answer to legitimate civilian leaders.
While it is a positive development that a functional, democratic and pragmatic country like Turkey is playing a larger role in the Arab and Islamic world, it could also mean the beginning of a new round of confrontations if no progress is made in the Arab-Israeli peace process.
Without dramatic improvement in the Arab world at all educational levels, unemployment, illiteracy, and income inequality will continue to worsen, and the region will remain a danger to itself and its neighbors.
The bulk of development security sector aid in Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen has consisted of military training and equipment. The West should adopt a comprehensive approach to aid where security reform is only one part of a broader reform strategy.