18 captures
14 Jun 2008 - 23 Aug 2011
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Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Month: June, 2008
POMED Notes: The Bush Administration and Middle East Peacemaking: The Final Six Months
June 30th, 2008 by Adam
On Monday the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held a panel discussion regarding the future of Middle East peacemaking in the last six months of President Bush’s administration. Speakers included, Rami Khouri, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and Editor-at-large of the Daily Star, David Makovsky, Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Aaron David Miller, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and former U.S. Middle East Negotiator.
For POMED’s complete notes on the discussion, click here.
Posted in Diplomacy, Event Notes, Israel, Mideast Peace Plan, Palestine, US foreign policy | 1 Comment »
POMED’s Weekly Wire - June 30
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
POMED’s Weekly Wire for June 30th is now available.
This week’s edition includes the new standoff in Lebanon over the precise makeup of the cabinet and the looming showdown in Turkey’s highest court.
The full Weekly Wire can be viewed as a pdf here.
Posted in Weekly Wire | Comment »
Saad Eddin Ibrahim Seeks Assurances from Egypt
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
The Daily Star reports that Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, member of POMED’s Board of Advisors and exiled Egyptian human rights activist, wants certain assurances from the Egyptian government before he would return to the country. Ibrahim has stated that he preferred to stay outside of Egypt for the moment for fear of being arrested “or worse.”
Posted in Egypt, Freedom, Human Rights, POMED | Comment »
Good Governance as a Counter-Terrorism Tactic?
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
Xenia Dormandy in The Christian Science Monitor recommends that the best way for the U.S. to quell terrorist groups along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is to ease our military pressure and promote good governance in Pakistan.  By improving democracy, “jobs, infrastructure, education, and healthcare (all types of things that imply good governance and which the Pakistani government has been inadequate in providing),” terrorist groups will be weakened.
Posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan, al-Qaeda | Comment »
Engagement in the Middle East
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
Daniel Levy at Prospects for Peace asks the $64,000 question of whether recent rocket fire will lead to an escalation between Hamas and Israel and to an end to the cease-fire.
Sameer Lalwani notes at the Washington Note the pressures on both sides to “play spoiler in order to preempt a resolution that leaves them weakened or excluded from power.”
However, regardless of how successful Israel’s engagement with either Syria and Hamas will ultimately be, a New York Times editorial credits Israel for its latest diplomatic moves. “With its security and even survival at stake, it would have been irresponsible to continue to let Washington’s ideological blinders constrain Israeli diplomacy.”
Meanwhile, Mona Yacoubian and Scott Lasensky at The Council on Foreign Relations argue that the U.S. should change its policy toward Syria to include conditional engagement in order to further U.S. interests of stability in Iraq and Lebanon, promoting peace and stability between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and heading off Iranian influence.
Posted in Diplomacy, Hamas, Hezbollah, Israel, Palestine, Syria | Comment »
Covert Operations in Iran
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
A hot topic this weekend was Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker Magazine article in which he uncovered that Congress has funded a “major escalation of covert operations against Iran” designed by the Bush administration to destabilize the country’s religious leadership and undermine Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Posted in Iran, US foreign policy | Comment »
Judicial Impropriety and the Constitutional Crisis
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
The Economist reports that Taraf, a Turkish newspaper, uncovered a secret meeting between a judge on Turkey’s highest court and the headquarters of the country’s land-forces command, four weeks before the court agreed to take the constitutional case against the AKP party.
Andrew Arato at Informed Comment gives legal insight into the constitutional claims against the AKP party.  “The charges involve an incredible mélange of private statements, fully legal political acts, and imputations of intentions that are entirely unsupported​.”
Howard Eissenstat at Informed Comment warns that unlike other times when Turkish parties have been banned, “there is every reason to believe that the courts and military will not stop with the AKP’s closure, but will engage in a much wider program of rolling back the AKP’s gains and regaining control of both the bureaucracy and public discourse.”
Posted in Islam and Democracy, Political Islam, Turkey | Comment »
U.S. Support for Autocracies Promotes Radical Islam?
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
Chris Zambelis at the Jamestown Foundation examines some of the factors contributing to the radicalization of Islam. Zambelis points to the use of torture by autocracies, often seen as oppressive and illegitimate, in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia as formative in the psychology of radicalization​. U.S. support for these governments “serve as a battle cry for militants to take up arms against the United States.”
In related news, Daniel Kimmage in the New York Times sees the internet as a “very practical means of countering al-Qaeda,” but laments that “the authoritarian governments of the Middle East are doing their best to hobble Web 2.0. By blocking the Internet, they are leaving the field open to Al Qaeda and its recruiters.”
Posted in Egypt, Freedom, Human Rights, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism, al-Qaeda | 1 Comment »
The Likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran?
June 30th, 2008 by Sarah
Arnaud de Borchgrave in the Washington Times states that Israel’s message to the U.S. is that “either President Bush orders military action [against Iran] or Israel will have to strike on its own.”
However, in an interviewed with Laura Rozen at Mother Jones, Daniel Levy, Yossi Melman, Trita Parsi, and Jacqueline Shire, all agree that it is unlikely that Israel will attack Iran before Bush leaves office.  On the other hand, Danny Postel stated that he would rather “err on the side of being too worried than of not being worried enough.”
John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., predicts that Israel could attack Iran after the November Presidential election, but before the new president is sworn in.
Many sources outline how Iran will retailiate, while The Economist suggests that Israel may not be bluffing when it conducted long-range air exercises over the Mediterranean​.
Posted in Iran, Israel, Military | Comment »
2008: A Debate Showdown in Dubai; Obama’s Weakness on Iraq, Strength on Iran
June 30th, 2008 by Matt
David Ignatius floats the idea of a presidential debate in Dubai, both as great political theater and as a way of changing the perception that we don’t care what the world thinks.  Both campaigns obviously express some apprehension.
In the New Yorker, George Packer addresses the brewing political problem facing the Obama campaign as Iraq continues to move toward some amount of sustained stability.
In Sunday’s Washington Post, Ivo Daalder and Philip Gordon make the argument that Obama’s plan for engaging Iran is the correct course, considering the failures of the past 7 1/2 years.
Posted in Dubai, Election 08, Iran, Iraq, US foreign policy, US politics | Comment »
2008: Obama Should Visit A Mosque, Hit McCain As “Neocon”
June 27th, 2008 by Matt
In yesterday’s New York Times, columnist Roger Cohen penned a piece decrying fear-mongering against Islam and its unfortunate status as a “global industry”.  Cohen thinks Barack Obama has a unique ability to break this “monolithic” view, and calls on Obama to visit a mosque as a way of seizing this opportunity (especially following the incident involving the women in head scarves at a campaign event, and the continuing absence of a mosque visit on the candidate’s schedule).
On Wednesday, Reuters writer David Morgan’s analysis suggested John McCain might be vulnerable to a political attack by the Obama camp on his neoconservative flank.
Posted in Election 08, Neocons, US politics | Comment »
2008: LAT Calls For More Clarity on Iraq; Obama Calls Talabani
June 27th, 2008 by Matt
LA Times writer James Rainey, dismayed at the current state of campaign discourse on Iraq (”amounts to a bout of locker- room towel snapping”), calls up a few experts to get their two cents on areas where the candidates need to be pressed for more detail.  Rainey charges the media with cutting through the fog that has settled over the Iraq issue, but he also hopes they cut the candidates some slack if their positions change–getting away from trying to catch every “flip-flop”.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama presumably talked about Iraq in some detail with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, but didn’t put out a particularly illuminating statement about their conversation.
Posted in Election 08, Iraq, US media | Comment »
POMED Notes: “Mullahs, Money, and Militias: How Iran Exerts its Influence in the Middle East”
June 27th, 2008 by Adam
On Friday, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) held a discussion based on the release of a USIP Special Report entitled “Mullahs, Money, and Militias: How Iran Exerts its Influence in the Middle East” authored by Barbara Slavin. Slavin, a Senior Fellow at USIP was joined by discussants Kenneth Katzman, Senior Analyst at the Congressional Research Service, Dan Brumberg, Acting Director of USIP’s Muslim World Initiative, and Mona Yacoubian​, Special Adviser of USIP’s Muslim World Initiative. Virginia Bouvier of USIP moderated the discussion.
For POMED’s complete notes on the discussion, click here.
Posted in Event Notes, Iran | Comment »
American Public and Policymakers Agree - Talk to Iran
June 27th, 2008 by Amanda
The American Prospect relays some interesting statistics provided by Gallup on US public opinion saying that “59 percent believe it’s a good idea for the president to meet with the Iranian leadership.” The article continues that “experts and former government officials from across the political spectrum are also coming to the conclusion that direct talks must be part of a comprehensive strategy.”
Posted in Diplomacy, Iran, US foreign policy | 1 Comment »
Could the AKP Survive Ex Post Facto?
June 27th, 2008 by Amanda
At Informed Comment, Juan Coleposts for Howard Eissenstat on the political backsliding of Turkish democracy and the seeming inevitability of the AKPs dissolvement. Eissenstat argues that because the banning of parties by the judiciary is historically not uncommon, groups like the AKP have only emerged more resilient and better organized, and more able to challenge the secularists. While acknowledging the AKP’s strengths, particularly with its pro-Western EU message, Eissenstat points out that “the AKP’s hand is much weaker than it imagines.”
Nonetheless, he believes that if the party is taken down, the religious base who support it will remain and continue to seek out fair representation and protection of civil rights. He posits that “if liberalization and parliamentary democracy cannot deliver on basic issues, Turkey’s devout, like its military, may opt for a harder path.”
Posted in Islam and Democracy, Political Parties, Secularism, Turkey | Comment »
Sshhh…. Don’t Tell Anybody
June 27th, 2008 by Amanda
The Daily News Egypt reports that an American tourist was “marring Egypt’s image” by catching both its pervasive poverty, and sectarian fighting between Muslims and Copts on film. A hotel employee reported the woman to the Tourist Police where the State Security authorities have made attempts to find the tourist. The documentary also captured images of police intervention in the sectarian clashes.
Hossam el-Hamalawy at a3rabawy refers to another example of civil rights quashing by the Egyptian government as poet and journalist Farouk Goweida is continually denied membership to the Supreme Council for Culture in retaliation for his public criticisms of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in Al-Ahram newspaper.
The crack down on journalists by the Moroccan government is highlighted in the Daily Star by James Badcock.
Posted in Egypt, Journalism, Morocco, Sectarianism | Comment »
Troubled Times In and Out of Iraq
June 26th, 2008 by Adam
In an op-ed in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof shines a light on the plight of Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries. Kristof criticizes the U.S. and international community for neglecting what many call the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. If not dealt with, the refugee crisis could, “…drag on — and especially if we allow young refugees to miss an education so that they will never have a future — then we are sentencing ourselves to endure their wrath for decades to come.”
The New York Times reports that the situation for those in Iraq is also perilous, especially Christians. Even though security has improved to the point where local churches have stopped paying protection money to insurgents, their still remains a high degree of insecurity. Christians in Northern Iraq fear that the Kurds will not adequately protect them in order to tilt the demographic balance in the Kurds’ favor.
Posted in Iraq, Kurds, Sectarianism | Comment »
League of Democracies and War
June 26th, 2008 by Adam
In the Daily Star, Robert Skidelsky castigates the idea of a “League of Democracies” as a flawed, unnecessary pipe dream. The concept is flawed in that it is based on the ideas that democracies will agree on important international issues and that long-term peace between democracies and non-democracies is not feasible. He fears that such a league will disrupt the current international order by marginalizing Russia and China, and allowing the league “…to legitimize war-making by democracies - in order to spread democracy!”
Posted in Concert of Democracies​, Democracy Promotion | Comment »
Reform and Sanctions in Iran
June 26th, 2008 by Adam
In light of Monday’s decision by the British Parliament to remove the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) from its list of banned terrorist organizations, Amir Taheri in the Wall Street Journal looks at the implications of the decision and its possible impact on reform in Iran.
On another Iran related note, Olivier Guitta skeptically examines the impact of international sanctions against Iran, given its ability to lessen their impact. Additionally, Richard Perle criticizes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s “born-again multilateralism” and claims that multilateralism has failed to deter Iran significantly​.
Posted in Iran, Multilateralism​, Reform, US foreign policy | 1 Comment »
Political Drama in Lebanon
June 26th, 2008 by Adam
The recent impasse in forming a new government in Lebanon threatens last month’s political compromise, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The disagreements between politicians regarding cabinet portfolios may exacerbate tensions, especially between Shiites and Sunnis.
Meanwhile, Michael Young of the Daily Star urges the March 14 coalition to seriously tackle economic and social problems and develop a serious strategy to lessen sectarian differences. Unless these steps are taken to bolster the state, the coalition will have a hard time maintaining the support of a Sunni population that is feeling increasingly insecure and a Christian population that feels the coalition ignores their concerns.
Posted in Lebanon, Sectarianism | Comment »
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