Carnegie's Nathan Brown discusses the experiences of activists, political parties, religious groups, and governments in the Middle East and highlights the difficulties involved in bringing democracy to the region.
Currently, no single party in Iraq has enough seats to form a new government. Any new government would need votes of confidence from multiple coalitions and ethnic groups. Even the leaders of the two coalitions with the largest number of seats may not have the support needed to become prime minister.
Three weeks after the election, the Iraqi High Election Commission announced the final vote count and the apportionment of seats among the lists. The announcement ends the suspense but opens a period of intense negotiating among parties which could be marred by violence.
Yemen’s secessionist Southern Movement threatens the country’s stability, but a military campaign against it would only further inflame its supporters and increase support for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A political solution is required.
Both the Egyptian ruling class and the opposition agree that Egypt does not need a political savior to lead the nation towards social justice and democracy. Only the Egyptian people themselves can bring about economic, social, and political progress.
Since Yemen became a policy priority three months ago, there has been much discussion about the emergence of under-governed spaces in the country as host for Al-Qaeda. It is critical to understand how these alternatively governed areas function, deal with conflict, and how traditional methods of conflict resolution work.
If Iraq can overcome the many risks and challenges that lie ahead of it and emerge as a stable democratic nation, it could become an engine for change in the Arab and Muslim world.
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.