Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Iran: As Tensions Rise, Movement Hits Home in Washington
January 14th, 2010 by Maria
provides an interesting analysis of Iran’s internal political situation. Using anonymous sources, Arash Aramesh writes that the Iranian regime may be trying to create a split between conservatives and ultra-conservatives as a replacement for the reformist calls for real change; creating a “moderate” conservative split in the party might give reformists another outlet and serve as an alternative to replacing the regime.
As Iran’s political environment intensifies, the regime’s crackdown on the Green Movement hits home in DC as Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Khalaji, father of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s senior research fellow Mehdi Khalaji
, has been arrested by Iranian intelligence agents. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman
(D-CA) and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
(R-FL) issued a statement
today saying they were deeply concerned by his arrest and that “the American people stand with all those inside and outside of Iran who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law.”
Following the assassination of the Iranian physics professor Masoud Mohammadi on Tuesday, speculation is rising left and right about who was behind the murder. Frontline
is reporting that Iranian state media claims Mohammadi was a nuclear physicist and accuses Israel or the United States for his murder, while the professor’s friends and students refute this, saying he supported the opposition in Iran and blame the regime for his death.
that reformists are now taking their movement beyond the streets by stamping “Death to Dictator” on Iranian currency in hopes of spreading the message across the country, forcing officials to try and remove as many of the bills from circulation as possible.
Carpenter and Wittes: Cook Wrong on Democracy Funding in Egypt
June 1st, 2009 by Max
Writing on the Middle East Strategy at Harvard blog, Scott Carpenter
and Tamara Cofman Wittes
take umbrage at Steven Cook
’s suggestion that democracy and good governance programs in Egypt are not worthwhile.
Carpenter expresses disappointment
with the casual manner in which Secretary Clinton has addressed democracy and human rights, equating these issues with economic development. He also asserts that Cook incorrectly assumes that limited headway under President Bush indicates that future democratization programs are likewise doomed to be ineffective. Rather, the amount of money spent on democracy promotion was such a small part of total U.S. aid to Egypt, that its limited success should be unsurprising.
A return to the status quo, Carpenter rebuts, by “eliminating core democracy programs, [and] toning down rhetoric to the point that it is seen as a green light to regimes to repress their people” will guarantee that we lose some as well. Instead, “the Obama administration would be wise to consider many of [the] sensible recommendations” in POMED’s recent report
on democracy in Egypt.
Democracy advocates should not lose hope over Clinton’s remarks, Wittes replies. Rather, “Clinton’s talk with the democracy activists sent a message that the issue of democratization is by no means off the table” provided that it is followed up by high level meetings with civil society activists during Obama’s upcoming Cairo trip. Furthermore, Wittes disputes Cook’s contention that “there is a zero-sum relationship between democracy aid and development aid, that democracy aid only alienates the Cairo government, and that more spending on basic development would mend fences and open the way to progress on reform.”
Crunching the numbers, Wittes shows that democracy spending was not the culprit behind cuts to human development; rather total economic aid to Egypt had steadily declined from $815 million in 1998 to $412 million in 2008 of its own accord. Wittes likewise demonstrates Cook’s assertion that democracy and governance aid increased by 133 percent to be incorrect.
Cook has already responded to Carpenter’s piece, asserting that his critics underestimate the interlocking formal and informal institutions that maintain the Egyptian status quo. Mubarak’s regime is strong and supple, able to repress and deflect most challenges and pressures for reform. When it comes to democracy and governance programs, the U.S. is “throwing good money after bad.” Cook has yet to respond to Wittes’ critiques.
The Brass Crescent Awards
December 19th, 2008 by Jason
“The Brass Crescent Awards
, a joint project of altmuslim
and City of Brass, is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners.”
Polls close by the end of the day today so vote now!
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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of POMED as an organization