Confronted with structural weaknesses, external shocks, and the Ahmadinejad administration's gross mismanagement of the economy, Iran is facing its bleakest economic prospects in nearly two decades.
The formal process that leads from the elections to the formation of a new government in Iraq is extremely complicated and bound to take time, even without taking into consideration the difficulty of forming viable political alliances.
Despite the new political ferment in Egypt, engendered by the return of retired IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei, major obstacles remain to the emergence of an opposition strong enough to compete seriously for parliamentary seats and for the presidency.
There are limits to how much foreign intervention can accomplish in Yemen. To overcome its daunting security, economic, and political challenges, Yemen’s political system needs to become less centralized and more inclusive.
The announcement of new construction in East Jerusalem that interrupted U.S. Vice President Biden’s trip to Israel to reinvigorate peace negotiations reflects the strained relations between Israel and the United States and how much remains to be done before Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can lead to real progress.
In an increasingly interconnected world, the collapse of one society has immediate economic, political and security repercussions on societies around it. Preventing such collapses requires a global development strategy that reflects the key challenges of the new century, including resource scarcity.
By scaling back its political engagement to focus on a traditional religious, educational, and social agenda, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is leaving behind an even greater lack of political competition in the country.
Al-Qaeda is not the only factor threatening Yemen’s stability. Water shortages, collapsing oil supplies, war, refugees, pirates, and poverty all put the country at risk of becoming a failed state.
Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary election will not bring about any decisive changes. Elections do not cause significant power shifts; they can only reflect the power shifts that have already taken place.
Iraq’s election campaign is marked by the usual mixture of unrealistic promises, verbal attacks against competitors, and attempts by parties to appropriate symbols that do not properly belong to any one faction, as well as, more worryingly, the certainty voiced by all alliances that the elections will be marred by fraud.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.