Egypt is far more violent and unstable than it has been in decades. With government repression driving a cycle of political violence, a different approach is needed.
Politics in the Middle East are polarized and fragmented. The Arab Spring’s citizen-led spirit of reform is still alive, but societies are torn apart by bitter tensions.
Egypt’s chronically weak non-Islamist political parties will be tested in crucial elections in 2014. Here is at look at the major players and the flaws holding them back.
The Syrian military’s recapture of Yabroud has severely weakened an already fragmented opposition.
Democracy can flourish in the Middle East, but it will take decades and will require major political and cultural change.
Pluralism is a necessary precondition for people to move towards inclusive, democratic societies that will tolerate different points of views and lay the groundwork for prosperity and stability.
There is lack of will to be decisive about the conflict in Syria and a staggering lack of understanding, especially on the part of Western donors, of what is actually happening on the ground.
Political Islam is hardly dead, but the movements that lead Islamism into the formal political process are likely to be just a little bit more leery of that path almost everywhere—and perhaps totally shut out of it in Egypt.
The United States must focus more on promoting political and security sector reforms in the Gulf that are critical to long-term regional stability by better integrating its use of military and diplomatic tools.
Reform and stability can co-exist, and the United States must demonstrate the leadership needed to realize that model in the Gulf and help end the political crisis and the violence that afflict Bahrain.