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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While the current political elite is likely to remain in power, by 2020 the dynamics of modernization will have changed Egypt fundamentally.
Yemen’s stability is threatened by multiple security and economic challenges, ranging from a rapidly growing population to imminent economic collapse, and immediate and sustained international attention is needed to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state.
Lebanon’s domestic and regional politics remained relatively calm in 2009, but with Hezbollah’s refusal to disarm and Syria’s continuing determination to ferry arms into Lebanon, the nation lacks full sovereignty and remains vulnerable to sudden shocks.