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22 Dec 2007 - 28 Jul 2011
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Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Month: September, 2007
Arab Regimes’ Response to Democracy
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
Barry Rubin, a former visiting fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, just released a paper that surveys Arab governments’ responses to recent democratization efforts. He examines both regime measures and liberal and Islamist countermeasures, and discusses how some regimes have responded positively to democratic pressures by attempting real reform.
Posted in Democracy Promotion | Comment »
Congress Passes Short-term Funding Bill
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
Last night the Senate approved the continuing resolution H.J.Res. 52 that funds ALL government programs at current levels through November 16 (the House passed the bill on Wednesday). With fiscal year 2008 beginning on Monday and none of the 12 yearly appropriations bills yet passed, this measure was needed to prevent a government shutdown.

Brian Wingfield of Forbes points out that the delayed action on appropriations is due in part to the debate over Iraq war funding, and he also addresses other budget issues that have created the need for this stopgap measure and how they might be resolved.
Posted in Congress | Comment »
Musharraf can run for president again
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
An AP article in the New York Times reports that “Pakistan’s Supreme Court removed the main obstacle to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf​’s bid for another five years in power when it dismissed legal challenges to his candidacy on Friday.” Activists are bitterly disappointed with the apparent lack of independence of the judiciary.
Posted in Elections, Pakistan | Comment »
End to Struggle between Hamas & Fatah?
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
Charles Levinson suggests that “Hamas is losing this stage of the power struggle with Fatah,” and the policy of “isolating Hamas may actually be working.” However, he questions how Hamas will react when finally backed into a corner.
Posted in Palestine | Comment »
Press Strike in Egypt
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
Issandr El Amrani posts an article which announces that “Egyptian independent and opposition newspapers will not publish on October 7 in protest at a government clampdown that has seen several journalists sentenced to prison terms in recent weeks.”
Posted in Egypt, Human Rights, Middle Eastern Media | Comment »
Partitioning Iraq
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
Juan Cole and Marc Lynch both condemn the Senate amendment calling for partition in Iraq. Cole said, “now they want to further mess it [Iraq] up by dividing it. It makes no sense to me; the US Senate doesn’t even have the authority to divide Iraq. Wouldn’t that be for the Iraqi parliament?” He also comments on the Iraqi response and a piece by Roger Owen explaining why Iraq is doomed to “warlord rivalry and chaos.” Lynch call it “a meaningless, non-binding symbolic Senate resolution,” and explains why partition would not actually solve anything and would make matters worse.
Posted in Iraq | Comment »
Dealing with Iran
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
After both the House and Senate passed bills calling for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to be officially designated a “foreign terrorist organization,” commentators are arguing about the merits of this action. An article in the Wall Street Journal (free feature) praises​Hillary Clinton for voting for the amendment. On the other side, Karim Sadjadpour​, in the Washington Post, argues that the US is pressuring Iran in the wrong way. “The United States should seek to tip the balance within the guard in favor of pragmatists, rather than hard-liners who thrive in a state of isolation and confrontation.”
Danielle Pletka, in the Wall Street Journal (subscription only), argues that the US should focus on the sanctions the UN has already approved that are not being enforced rather than try to obtain more sanctions against Iran.
Posted in Diplomacy, Iran | 1 Comment »
New Edition of Democracy Digest
September 28th, 2007 by Celest
The new edition of Democracy Digest is now available online. Of particular note are several articles about the Middle East, including two articles about engaging moderate Islamists, and articles about three paths to Mideast political change, Morocco’s “shadow democracy​,” frustrated Arab reform, and “No Anti-democracy Gene in Mideast DNA.”
Posted in Islamist movements, Morocco, Political Islam, Publications | Comment »
After the Non-Election in Lebanon
September 27th, 2007 by Sean
In the Daily Star, Michael Young gives an interesting analysis of the recent deal to postpone Lebanese presidential elections, focusing on the difficult choices faced by the governing March 14th coalition.
Posted in Elections, Lebanon | Comment »
Muslim Brotherhood Member Outlines Stance on Veiling, Political Pluralism
September 27th, 2007 by Sean
In an op-ed published in yesterday’s Forward, entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood Will Stand Up for All Egyptians,” the movement’s Ibrahim El Houdaiby states that “while we believe that wearing the hijab is a [religious] obligation, we believe it is an individual women’s choice to uphold it - a choice the state should not interfere in,” responding to an earlier piece in the same forum by Mona Eltahawy.
Houdaiby continues, arguing that the movement’s commitment to democracy and political pluralism are compatible with its commitment to Sharia law.
Posted in Egypt, Islamist movements | Comment »
POMED-SAIS Event - “Islamist Political Participation and Democratic Development: The Cases of Turkey and Morocco”
September 27th, 2007 by Sean
Event Summary
POMED and the International Development Program at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) co-sponsored a panel discussion today of recent developments in Turkey and Morocco, focusing on the pressing questions of Islamism and democratization currently facing the Middle East and North Africa.
Author Geneive Abdo, IRI’s Anthony Chang, and Matthew Frumin of NDI engaged in a vibrant discussion of the recent elections in Morocco and Turkey, and also addressed issues of Islamist political participation across the region. The event was moderated by POMED Research Director Shadi Hamid.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Elections, Events, Islamist movements, Morocco, POMED, Turkey | Comment »
New Developments in Pakistan
September 27th, 2007 by Sean
Nasir Iqbal in the Dawn gives a description of developments yesterday in Pakistan’s Supreme Court, including submission of an amicus curiae contending that “persons proposing and seconding President Pervez Musharraf as a candidate for a second term would be guilty of an offense carrying imprisonment for 10 years.”
Today the Pakistani government ordered a security crackdown in the capital, even as Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudry issued an edict ordering the immediate release of opposition leaders imprisoned by the Musharraf regime.
Posted in Judiciary, Pakistan | Comment »
Iraqi Sunni Leader Presents a new Political Program for Iraqi Federalism, National Unity
September 27th, 2007 by Sean
Marc Lynch writes of the new political program being pushed by Iraqi VP Tareq al-Hashemi​, which calls for a “united, federal Iraq” and outlines 25 specific points to achieve Iraqi political consensus.
Hashemi, the highest ranking Sunni in the Iraqi government, just met today with top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to seek support for his proposal.
Posted in Iraq | Comment »
Who Will be Next for Palestinian’s Fatah Party?
September 27th, 2007 by Sean
Charles Levinson provides an interesting round-up of recent Israeli and Palestinian speculation over who will succeed Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas, though he writes that this talk “seems a bit premature.”
Posted in Palestine, Political Parties | Comment »
Syrian Opposition Shows its Willingness to Confront Regime
September 27th, 2007 by Sean
Nir Boms has an interesting piece in the Washington Times today on the ramifications of what he calls the Reform Party of Syria’s “rare and daring sign of defiance” in its public show of support for exile Farid Ghadry. While “these events do not yet change the balance of power in Syria,” Boms writes, they do indicate there is “room and support for an alternative discourse in the Middle East,” as an upcoming generation looks for meaningful change.
Update: (via Arabist) Youssef Bazzi at Babelmed posts an interview with exiled Syrian Maamoun al-Homsi, in which the former parliamentarian reflects on his years in Syrian politics and prison, and concludes that “change is impossible from within Syria without the help and support of the international community.” The interview is published in two parts, one, and two.
Posted in Political Parties, Reform, Syria | Comment »
Senate Passes Kyl-Lieberman Measure on Iran
September 26th, 2007 by Amanda
Today the Senate passed the nonbinding Kyl-Lieberman Amendment with a vote of 76 to 22. Modifications were made to paragraphs 3 and 4 under Section (b), the Sense of Senate section, in attempts to alleviate concerns that the resolution might be taken as an authorization for the use of force against Iran.
Adoption of the amendment came as senators sought to wrap up the heart of the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization bill, HR 1585.
To read more, click here.
Posted in Congress, Iran | Comment »
Putting Some Faith in Opposition Figures
September 26th, 2007 by Amanda
Issandr El Amrani on The Arabist comments on the tendency in political discourse to nitpick at the credentials of opposition figures and says, “The Middle East will not be able to have credible alternatives to the existing regimes unless we start putting some faith — some suspension of disbelief — in the leaders who try to emerge against them.”
Posted in Reform | Comment »
An Effective Post-Bush Approach to Supporting Democracy in the Middle East
September 26th, 2007 by Amanda
Shadi Hamid in Ideas Primary, a new blog from the Democratic Leadership Council, has a new piece on how to revive democracy promotion in the Middle East. In it he lays out two policy ideas which, if implemented, could animate an effective post-Bush approach to supporting democracy in the Middle East.
Posted in Democracy Promotion | Comment »
The Loss of Freedom for Iraq’s Women
September 26th, 2007 by Amanda
Eric Martin in American Footprints highlights the issue of women’s rights in Iraq as says, “On a day when Bush presumes to lecture the United Nations about that body’s lack of initiative in terms of ’spreading freedom,’ Sahar’s entry on the loss of freedom for Iraq’s women seems more than apropos.” The piece focuses on the changing dynamics in Iraq regarding women’s liberation.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq, Women | Comment »
Lebanese Parliament Fails to Elect New President
September 26th, 2007 by Amanda
Thanassis Cambanis’ article in the International Herald Tribune covers the continuing struggle in Parliament to replace the current, pro-Syrian head of state, Émile Lahoud. The Lebanese Parliament remains in deadlock due to differences among political factions. As a result, the Parliament was unable to meet its scheduled timetable yesterday to elect a new president.
The governing majority claims the right to elect a new president with a simple parliamentary majority, while Hezbollah and its allies insist that there be a consensus candidate who can win the support of at least two-thirds of the legislature. The vote has now been postponed until Oct. 23 due to the deadlock.
Posted in Elections, Lebanon, Political Parties | Comment »
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