19 captures
22 Dec 2007 - 26 Aug 2011
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Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Month: October, 2007
Map of a Federal Iraq Being Distributed by Shia Members of the Iraqi Parliament
October 31st, 2007 by Amanda
Marc Lynch comments on his blog, Abu Aardvark, about a map of a federal Iraq that is being distributed by Shia members of the Iraqi parliament​. The map was allegedly produced by Ammar al-Hakim’s Shahid Mihrab Organization.

He goes on to explain that there are “dark murmurings among the Sunni commentators that it must have been made in Iran because of how Najaf is written.”
The map declares, “Federalism is our one path to freedom and security.”
Posted in Iraq | Comment »
The Value of Knowing How Iranians View the World and their Government
October 31st, 2007 by Amanda
Helle Dale in The Washington Times argues that as “speculation swirls around the Bush administration’s intentions toward Iran” it would be “valuable to know how the Iranian people view the world and their government​.”
According to the article, “the last independent internal opinion poll in Iran was done in 2002″ and that “every person who was interviewed got a visit from the secret police, and the pollster, Abbas Abadi, is still in jail.”
Posted in Iran, Public Opinion | Comment »
Abdullah’s Visit to Britain
October 31st, 2007 by Sean
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia began his first official visit to Britain yesterday, as The Guardian published an article on the status of Britain’s own arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
Matthew Weaver gives an hour by hour account of Abdullah’s state visit yesterday, including protests by demonstrators. He links to commentators who defend the visit “through a realpolitik approach” stressing Britain’s important trade and security alliance with Saudi, and to those who criticize the visit on the grounds of the kingdom’s human rights record. British public officials have expressed similarly divided views.
Posted in Human Rights, Military, Saudi Arabia | Comment »
Israeli and Palestinian Public Opinion
October 31st, 2007 by Amanda
Ziad Abu Zayyad in The Daily Star comments on the importance of public opinion in democratic societies and how it can play “a determining role in the shift of power between the different political forces.” However, he maintains that “this principle does not apply in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
He says, although Israel is a democratic country, “Israeli public opinion is subjected to systematic intimidation by competing ideological parties or rival political leaders, through which they expect to dictate the national agenda and the voters’ priorities.”
On the Palestinian side he says, “this process has been hampered from the outset and, eventually, blocked”
Posted in Israel, Palestine, Public Opinion | Comment »
Is Islam Compatible with Democracy?
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
This week’s video debate at’s Think Tank feature asks, Is Islam Compatible with Democracy?
POMED’s Director of Advocacy, Stephen McInerney, says the answer “is certainly yes.” Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes the opposite view.
Posted in Islam and Democracy | Comment »
Women’s Place in Omani Elections
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
Ellee Seymour contrasts the election of Argentina’s first woman president with the election in Oman where no women candidates were elected. She notes that it is particularly disappointing because a record number of women ran this time and it is reported that more women than men turned out to vote at some polling stations. She gives some possible explanations for this result.
An article in The Peninsula, an English language newspaper in Qatar, points out that Oman was the first conservative Muslim Gulf Arab state to give women the right to vote and run for public office, and two women are in the outgoing council. It also discusses the lack of real power of the Majlis Ash-Shura, or Consultative Council, but says that most Omanis are satisfied with it.
Posted in Elections, Oman, Women | Comment »
"Combustible Countries"
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
Alexandros Peterson discusses the “combustible” political situations in Lebanon & Pakistan, and warns that Bush needs to focus more attention on these issues. The article was published in the Wall Street Journal (subscription only), but is also available at the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy website.
Posted in Lebanon, Pakistan | Comment »
Dynasty Not Democracy in Egypt
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
Anouar Boukhars, in the Daily Star, discusses the probability that Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal will succeed him in Egypt and the possible “deleterious impact” of dynastic succession​.
Hrach Gregorian, also in the Daily Star, looks at US statements about democracy promotion in Egypt and gives some reasons for the backpedaling that has occurred recently. He says that no matter who wins the upcoming presidential election, “it is highly likely that Washington will refrain from any further calls for regime change in the region, albeit quietly pressing for political and economic reform in Egypt.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Reform | Comment »
Problems in Jordan’s Electoral System
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
In the Daily Star, Oraib Al-Rantawi discusses problems with Jordan’s electoral system and reforms that some Jordanians have been seeking for 10 years. He also talks about how the current system limits opposition party participation.
Posted in Elections, Jordan, Reform | Comment »
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood Takes Step Toward Accepting Democracy
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
Joshua Landis writes, “Ali Sadraddin Bayanouni, the head of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, has declared that the MB’s embrace of democracy means that it will accept a woman or Christian becoming president of Syria if they are elected to the position.” He points out that the MB is still not accepting of other minority sects.
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Muslim Brotherhood, Syria | Comment »
Turkey & Northern Iraq
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
Juan Cole reports that an Indian news station is reporting that Turkish gunships fired into Iraq. He also mentions that Turkey is squeezing Iraqi Kurdistan economically. Nikolas K. Gvosdev also discusses restrictions Turkey is talking about putting on Northern Iraq and the possible affects they could have.
Posted in Iraq, Turkey | Comment »
Lacking Capital in Iraq…the Social Kind
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
This piece at the Daily Kos discusses the importance of social capital and its serious lack in Iraq. It also says that no matter how much money the US throws at the problem, money can’t buy social capital or its positive effects.
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Iraq | Comment »
Sliding to War with Iran?
October 30th, 2007 by Celest
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, in the Christian Science Monitor, criticizes the new sanctions against Iran and warns that they “pave the way toward war.” Also, an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, criticizes Bush’s bellicose rhetoric and suggests the solution is to put pressure on other countries like Russia & China to follow through on sanctions on Iran.
An article at The Conservative Voice outlines the main presidential candidates’ positions on Iran.
Posted in Iran | Comment »
Upcoming Events
October 30th, 2007 by Sean
Check out POMED’s Event Calendar to see a list of events in the D.C. area relevant to democratic reform, U.S. foreign policy, and the Middle East.
Tue, Oct. 30, 2007
12:00 Hudson: The U.N.’s Racism Conference, ‘Islamophobia’, and the Campaign to Crush Debate and Dissent within Islam. Hudson’s Anne Bayefsky and Paul Marshall, Egyptian Exile Sheikh Ahmed Subhy Mansour, and Washington Institute Fellow Fahad Nazer will speak.
13:00 New America Foundation: The View From a Divided Palestine. Mustafa Barghouti, Daniel Levy, Steve Clemons, and Rita Hauser will discuss the topic.
13:00 GU: The Humanitarian Situation in the Palestinian Territories. Tom Garofalo of Catholic Relief Services will speak on the issue.
15:00 Georgetown: Power, Faith, and Fantasy: American Involvement in the Middle East. Michael B. Oren of the Shalem Center will discuss his latest book.
19:00 GW: Future of Democracy: Democracy, Development and Nation Building. Francis Fukuyama of SAIS will speak.
19:30 ATFP: Palestinian and Israeli Historical Narratives: A Path to Peace or Perpetual Conflict? ICG’s Lamia Matta will moderate a panel discussion featuring Ghaith al-Omari of ATFP and MEI’s Paul Scham.
Wed, Oct 31, 2007
9:30 - 19:30 GU: Arab Media Development Symposium​. Nadia Alami, Moustafa Mourad, Patrick Butler, Christine Price, George Hishmeh, Gordon Robison, Marguerite Sullivan, Rafiah El Talaei will speak on the subject.
12:30 APN: Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations: Mapping the Conflict. Dan Rothem will present on the issue.
Thur, Nov 1, 2007
14:30 POMED & Freedom House: The State of Reform: Human Rights, Democratic Development, and Individual Freedoms in Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States. Carnegie’s Nathan Brown, Thomas Melia of Freedom House, AU’s David Mikosz, and Ali Alyami of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia will speak.

Fri, Nov 2, 2007
10:00 New America Foundation: Mapping Solutions on Israel/Palestine​. Dan Rothem will give a presentation on the subject.
14:00 Wilson: Renewing the Push for Peace: Palestinian and Israeli Women’s Perspectives. Anan Attiri, Hania Bitar, Naomi Chazan, Naava Eisin, Jessica Neuwerth, Maha Abu-Dayyeh Shamas, and Aida Touma-Sliman will speak.
Posted in Events | Comment »
POMED NOTES: Palestinians and Their Politics
October 29th, 2007 by Sean
This morning, the Woodrow Wilson Center and International Crisis Group held a panel discussion focusing on the fractured state of the Palestinian political process. The discussion featured Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Professor Yezid Sayigh of King’s College in London, and Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center and ICG’s Robert Malley moderated.
Sayigh stated that the conditions in Palestine would “anywhere else in the world be called a failed state,” while Barghouti argued that “if Israel supports democracy [in the Palestinian territories], then we can achieve peace.”
The popularity of Hamas has decreased since its June takeover of Gaza, Shikaki asserted, though this is currently changing, as “the minute that the Israelis begin to ration gas and electricity to Gaza, Hamas will regain the moral high ground.”
For POMED’s notes on the event, including a hard-hitting Q & A session, click here.
Posted in Events, Israel, Mideast Peace Plan, Palestine, Reform | Comment »
Omani Elections
October 29th, 2007 by Sean
On Saturday, Omani citizens voted for representatives to their country’s consultative council, which serves in an advisory role to the monarch and government ministers. Despite a record number of female candidates, no women won a seat on the council, though a high voter turnout has been hailed as a positive sign by Oman’s government.
Posted in Elections, Oman | Comment »
The U.S. and Iran: World War? III? IV?
October 29th, 2007 by Sean
The New York Times today argues against ‘bullying’ Iran with bellicose threats, including the specter of World War III raised by President Bush in a press conference October 17th. “Clear rewards and security guarantees” need to be offered if Iran gives up its nuclear program, the editorial argues.
Martin Kramer posts his contribution to a Commentary symposium organized around Norman Podhoretz‘ new book entitled World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofacism​. In the article, Kramer argues that “our Islamist enemies turn every ‘democratic’ opening into their opportunity.”
Meanwhile on an interview with CNN last night, IAEA director Mohamed El Baradei stated that he has seen neither “an active weaponization program” in Iran nor the “nuclear material that can be readily be used into a weapon”, and that “we are far, far away from that stage” of having exhausted all non-military options for engaging with Iran.
Posted in Iran, Military | Comment »
Elections vs. Rule of Law
October 29th, 2007 by Sean
Fred Kagan, in the Washington Post today, argues that “free elections come first” in the path to liberal democracy, criticizing those who maintain the primacy of rule of law, strong institutions, or economic liberalization in democracy promotion efforts.
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Elections | Comment »
Israel Cuts Fuel to Gaza Strip
October 29th, 2007 by Sean
On Sunday, Israel began to reduce the amount of fuel brought into the Gaza strip. This has led U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon to decry Israel’s move as “unacceptable”, following remarks made Thursday by the U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator on the effects of the economic blockade of Gaza.
In a report released today, Americans for Peace Now reviews Israeli criticism of the fuel reduction, quoting articles by a retired Isreali general and a prominent editorialist, both of whom argue that the move will only serve to strengthen Hamas’ political position in Gaza.
Posted in Israel, Palestine | Comment »
Exit or No Exit? Morality and Withdrawal From Iraq
October 29th, 2007 by Sean
Dissent journal has published the complete transcript of last month’s debate at Fordham University, focusing on the ethical dilemmas of U.S. foreign policy options in Iraq. The discussion, moderated by Trudi Rubin, featured Jean Bethke Elshtain, Sohail Hashmi, Gerard Powers, and Michael Walzer.
The wide-ranging Q & A session covered the forces pushing for and against a strong centralized Iraqi government, the problems of internal displacement as Syria and Jordon close their borders to refugees, the possibility of a multilateral mission in Iraq, and the credibility of U.S. democracy promotion after the experiences of Iraq and the Second Lebanon War.
The transcript covers both the entirety of the Q & A session, as well as the panelists’ opening statements.
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Human Rights, Iraq | Comment »
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