As the Egyptian government prepares to revise its NGO law, restricting foreign funding appears to be a top priority.
The National Solidarity Fund has succeeded in reducing poverty and building a culture of solidarity, despite limited political participation.
The new Party for Authenticity and Modernity presents itself as an innovative alternative to the Islamist Party of Justice and Development, but its modus operandi is far from new.
Qaddafi's recent calls to dismantle most of the Libyan government are stretching his 1970s ideology farther than ever before.
A new plan to privatize state enterprises and distribute shares to citizens reflects little awareness of the problems of mass privatization.
Repentant jihadists—former Islamic militants who won release from prison by explicitly renouncing violence and other extremist ideas—have become a topic of political debate in Egypt and provoke varying reactions, most of them negative. In addition to the question of whether they might resume the use of violence, the changing nature of religiosity in Egypt affects the jihadists’ current relevance.
Algeria has entered the countdown stage for the April 2009 presidential election, a critical test for its democratic experiment. Neither the rules of the game nor the candidates in the coming election are clear yet, but there are several possible scenarios depending on whether President Bouteflika will run and how the other political forces will react.
As the reform agenda for the Arab world continues to expand, it is time to integrate the issue of security sector reform into the discussion. Only in Iraq and Palestine is security reform a vibrant topic for local debate and for support or intervention by the international community.
The State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative represents a critical element in the Bush administration's policy of attempting to transform the Arab world into a zone of liberal democracies and free market economies.
The May 21, 2003 earthquake that took some 2200 souls, wounded 10,000, and left 150,000 homeless has failed to jolt Algeria's political system out of its paralysis. The state's slow reaction to the disaster has further eroded President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's authority, with the result that a growing list of rivals may contest his bid for reelection in April 2004.
With the Egyptian People's Assembly's June 16, 2003 approval of legislation to create a National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), Egypt has become the latest Arab government to establish a state council to advance human rights. Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria formed such councils in the early 1990s, Yemen in 1997, Jordan in 2000, and Qatar in May 2003.
The May 16, 2003 Casablanca terrorist attacks that killed 43 people in five synchronized suicide bombings shattered two myths about Moroccan politics.
Not since the Iranian revolution has the issue of Shiite political development been of such interest to observers of Middle Eastern politics.
At the first annual conference of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), held in Cairo from September 26 to 28, President Hosni Mubarak and his son Gamal tried to give the impression that an end to autocratic rule in Egypt is at hand. Forty-year-old Gamal heads the NDP's influential policy secretariat and many believe he is being groomed to inherit his father's presidential seat.
Is America serious about democracy and political reform in the Arab world? Does the neo-Wilsonian dimension of the Bush administration's policy toward the region presage a decisive departure from the longstanding realist policy of "regime maintenance"?
Amy Hawthorne's article in the September 2003 Arab Reform Bulletin, "The Middle East Partnership Initiative: Questions Abound," is a welcome recognition of President Bush's commitment to reform across the Arab world.
With President Bush's May 2003 announcement that the United States will work to create a US-Middle East free trade zone by 2013, the White House has given free trade a leading role in its strategy for the economic and political transformation of the Arab world. As President Bush declared, "Free markets will defeat poverty and promote the habits of liberty."
Ten years after the 1995 signature of the Barcelona Declaration (which established a European-Mediterranean partnership for peace, stability, prosperity, human development, and cultural exchange), Mediterranean issues are at the heart of the international agenda. Despite the continued relevance of the Barcelona process, its effectiveness has been rather harshly assessed.