As Algerian President Bouteflika moves into his third term, he is increasingly circumventing political institutions, such as parties or parliament, by using the distribution of rent to buy loyalty.
The Obama administration can find a positive new way forward on democracy promotion by changing how the United States supports democracy abroad rather than what emphasis to place on it relative to other interests.
Barack Obama's election was celebrated throughout the Middle East. But enthusiasm could quickly turn to hostility if the new administration does not back up its rhetoric with concrete changes to U.S. Middle East policy on three key issues: Palestine, Iraq, and political reform.
Islamist women, increasingly restless with their subordinate status in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, are pushing for greater representation and a wider role. Their call for broader participation in decision-making bodies are not signs of a “rebellion of the Sisters,” but part of the normal dynamics of change.
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.
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.
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.
Recent economic growth and stabilization in Egypt has been largely fueled by external factors which may not be sustainable. During the same period, Egypt has failed to address pressing social and economic challenges, according to a new paper from the Carnegie Endowment.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has stated that economic reform is one of his top priorities, yet it remains hindered by two major obstacles: a lack of public support, and the government’s inability to implement deep reform.
Kuwait has made exemplary strides towards democratic reform over the last two years, but deep tensions between the ruling Al Sabah family and the parliament, as well as fractures within the political opposition, could hinder future progress, according to a new paper from the Carnegie Endowment.