Food security is fast becoming a critical issue for Persian Gulf countries as they face three converging factors: tighter global food markets with strained export surpluses, a decline in domestic production, and continuous population growth.
The Iraqi parliamentary elections in 2010 will determine whether the country moves toward consolidating a stable democracy, or slides deeper into sectarian turmoil.
Since the start of the financial crisis, questions about sovereign wealth funds, which had $3.9 trillion in assets in 2008, have been at the forefront of discussions regarding financial stability and global politics.
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.
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.