In an increasingly interconnected world, the collapse of one society has immediate economic, political and security repercussions on societies around it. Preventing such collapses requires a global development strategy that reflects the key challenges of the new century, including resource scarcity.
By scaling back its political engagement to focus on a traditional religious, educational, and social agenda, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is leaving behind an even greater lack of political competition in the country.
President Mubarak has neither a vice president nor an established successor, and his increasing health problems are causing many Egyptians to fear that his illness or death could create a power vacuum that would threaten the stability of Egypt and the entire region.
Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary election will not bring about any decisive changes. Elections do not cause significant power shifts; they can only reflect the power shifts that have already taken place.
Iraq’s election campaign is marked by the usual mixture of unrealistic promises, verbal attacks against competitors, and attempts by parties to appropriate symbols that do not properly belong to any one faction, as well as, more worryingly, the certainty voiced by all alliances that the elections will be marred by fraud.
Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Association, has injected a new dynamism into the Egyptian political scene, but he is unlikely to be able to mobilize enough people to effect any real change in Egypt.
Iraqis head to the polls on Sunday for what is considered a fundamental test of the fledgling democracy. While the results of the parliamentary elections will help determine Iraq’s stability and may influence the drawdown of U.S. forces, the voting is only one step in the country’s political transition.
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.
The Iraqi elections are decisive in determining the leadership and makeup of the next Iraqi government, which will face critical challenges in the areas of political inclusion, maintaining security, managing internal tensions over Kirkuk, and rebuilding relations with the GCC and other neighbours.