While Barack Obama has re-launched Israeli-Palestinian talks and begun negotiations with Iran, the Arab world has remained virtually absent.
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 Obama administration should establish direct talks with Hamas on substantive issues in a public, multilateral forum— otherwise it risks squandering a good deal of its prestige in the Arab world by not making a prominent departure from Bush administration policy.
The Fatah Congress has given Abu Mazen and Fatah a much-needed shot in the arm, and conferred new legitimacy on the peace option among Palestinians.
The United States should establish direct talks with Hamas on how it can play a productive role in the peace process and gradually integrate into Palestinian political and security institutions.
A unity government has been formed in Lebanon following the electoral defeat of the Hezbollah-led coalition in June. However, in order to stabilize the fragile country, the new government must succeed in instituting economic, political, and security reforms.
The Egyptian state uses Islamic morals to stifle freedom of expression, which prevents them from fully embracing either conservatism or liberalism.
Ten years after succeeding his father to the Moroccan throne, King Mohammed VI has implemented significant economic and social reforms but has not yet delivered the kind of political change many hoped for when he took power.
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.
The reforms established for Morocco's recent local elections have helped improve community management, but have not succeeded in limiting royal intervention in politics.