In a special live broadcast of the BBC’s The World Tonight program, Carnegie experts assessed the foreign policy priorities facing President-elect Barack Obama. The wide-ranging discussion focused on issues from Iraq, climate change, and the Middle East peace process, to Russia and Iran.
Amid the overwhelming popular enthusiasm and unprecedented media coverage in the Arab world that accompanied the 2008 U.S. presidential elections, the Carnegie Middle East Center provided an open forum for distinguished Arab observers to share their thoughts on future American policies in the Middle East.
Since the civil war of the 1990s, Algeria’s government has given moderate Islamist parties only a superficial role in politics. The resulting rise of Salafism, which rejects the country’s political system, reveals the need for Algeria to increase political transparency and participation and engage its citizens to discourage radicalization outside the political system.
Free trade agreements between the West (U.S. and EU) and Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, while containing beneficial elements, have strengthened negative perceptions of “western-led globalization” because they benefit unpopular elites and impose serious short term economic adjustment.
Arab governments tempered public anger at rising food prices by increasing wages and subsidies, but their approach is not sustainable without raising taxes. Instead they should revise agricultural policies, expand social safety nets, and curb excessive energy consumption, argues Carnegie Middle East Center economist Ibrahim Saif.
There is perhaps no leader in the world more important to current world affairs but less known and understood than Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. In a unique and timely new study Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour presents an in-depth political profile of Khamenei based on a careful reading of three decades' worth of his writings and speeches.
Despite Algeria’s recent economic growth and domestic stability, the government’s refusal to address the legacy of its violent civil war threatens its long-term stability. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to push forward his “Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation” without public input or dialogue has undermined the prospect for true reconciliation.
France sees the ascent of Anglo-American influence as having advanced at its expense not only in Iraq, but also in North Africa, a zone long considered to be France’s backyard.
Confrontational U.S. policy that tried to create a “New Middle East,” but ignored the realities of the region has instead exacerbated existing conflicts and created new problems. To restore its credibility and promote positive transformation, the United States needs to abandon the illusion that it can reshape the region to suit its interests.
Women’s participation in Islamist movements reflects a growing trend toward women’s activism in the Arab world, though quite different from Western norms.