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.
The imbalance of power in Arab countries allows regimes to stay in control virtually unchallenged by non-violent opposition groups. Without a break in the stalemate between the key players—ruling establishments, moderate Islamist movements, and secular parties—democratization is impossible.
The development of efficient and well trained Lebanese Armed Forces still represents one of the main priorities for achieving security and state sovereignty in Lebanon.
Moderate Islamist parties across the Arab world have the opportunity to present themselves as legitimate candidates for preventing the spread of fundamentalism, allowing for normalized relations with the West.
Preventing Yemen from becoming another al-Qaeda safe haven requires more than traditional security assistance from the United States.
The Obama administration’s recent efforts to reactivate the Palestinian-Israeli peace process depend heavily on the situation on the ground; if the situation remains difficult, it will be reflected in the success or failure of Obama’s efforts.
The emergence of Arab Sovereign Wealth Funds represents the movement of once peripheral players into the center of the political and economic system and is a shift in the global balance of power.
In response to the financial crisis, countries in the Middle East and North Africa have resorted to short-term survival tactics that lack coordination among monetary, fiscal, and social policies.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon may set a precedent for international acts of terrorism to be incorporated into international humanitarian law as crimes against humanity.
As Algerian President Bouteflika moves into his third term, he is increasingly circumventing political institutions, such as parties or parliament, by using the distribution of rent to buy loyalty.