The Obama administration has demonstrated its ability to introduce major foreign policy changes despite some powerful opposition at home, marking a victory for their advocacy of diplomacy in form and substance.
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 Egyptian state uses Islamic morals to stifle freedom of expression, which prevents them from fully embracing either conservatism or liberalism.
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.
There are significant differences to how America’s moderate friends in the Middle East and those of its radical foes reacted to Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world.
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 Muslim Brotherhood’s first women’s division, the Muslim Sisters Group, was created in 1932. Since then, women activists have been at the forefront of the social and political struggle of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt.
The Obama administration can find a positive new way forward on democracy promotion by changing how the United States supports democracy abroad rather than what emphasis to place on it relative to other interests.
Barack Obama's election was celebrated throughout the Middle East. But enthusiasm could quickly turn to hostility if the new administration does not back up its rhetoric with concrete changes to U.S. Middle East policy on three key issues: Palestine, Iraq, and political reform.