Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Egypt: Supreme Council Of The Armed Forces Releases Communique, Meets With Youth Opposition
February 14th, 2011 by Naureen
In a televised statement on Sunday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced that it will suspend the constitution and dissolve the parliament in order to pave the way for new presidential and parliamentary elections in the future. The communique also stated that the Supreme Council would maintain control of the government for a six-month interim period, during which the head of the council, Mohamed Tantawi, would represent Egypt both domestically and internationally. In the short-term, the council has approved a committee for assessment of constitutional amendments. The council has called on all workers’ unions and professional groups to return to work so as not to further damage the country and warned that anyone attempting to cause Egypt to fall into “chaos and disorder” will not be tolerated. The group also met with representatives from youth groups responsible for planning the January 25th revolution, including Wael Ghonim. During the meeting, the council stated a new constitution would be drafted in ten days to be put forth a referendum within two months. While youth groups have expressed their optimism, they also cautioned that its too early to judge whether the military will follow through on its guarantees to establish true democratic reforms, especially given its refusal to dissolve the current cabinet and the generals’ decision to announce their road map for political reform without any input from the political opposition. On Monday, the “Coalition of Youth Revolutionaries” called on the military to dismiss the cabinet and form a new “government of technocrats” within one month.
POMED Notes: “Tunisia: Protests and Prospects for Change”
January 27th, 2011 by Kyle
On Tuesday, the Project on Middle East Political Science and the Institute for Middle East Studies at The George Washington University hosted an event focused on reactions to the popular uprising in Tunisia entitled , “Tunisia: Protests and Prospects for Change.” Marc Lynch, associate professor of political science and international affairs at The George Washington University, and director of the Institute for Middle East Studies moderated the event. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. The two other speakers were Christopher Alexander, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean for International Programs at Davidson College and John P. Entelis, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Fordham University.
To read full notes continue below, or click here
Tunisia: Path to Democracy Including Islamists and Labor Groups
January 25th, 2011 by Kyle
Christopher Alexander writing
in Foreign Policy warns against calls for the total dissolution of the RCD party as “unrealistic and potentially dangerous.” He highlights the positive steps that have been taken to open up the political arena to include Islamist factions, but cautions, “a bipolar standoff between Ennahda (Islamist Group) and the RCD would not be a healthy development.” Instead, he supports the creation of opposition coalitions until a succesful and functional political landscape can be created. Michael Allen notes the growth of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) as a serious political force in Tunisia with, “currently unmatched organizing capacity and national reach.” For example, Allen attributes the recent cabinet resignations to pressure from the UGTT.
Tunisia: Invest in Emerging Actors with a Democratic Mindset
January 20th, 2011 by Cole
After decades of oppression, Tunisia was ripe for revolution and the notion of “Arab exceptionalism” has been discredited, writes Nabila Hamza, a Tunisian gender-equality activist who is currently the President of the Amman-based Foundation for the Future. Although Arab public perception of the possibility for change has shifted dramatically, Arab regimes will likely placate the frustrations of the masses through controlled political openings and reinstating or raising economic subsidies. The U.S. and Arab civil society must seize this crucial moment to reinvigorate the public discourse to press for real political change in the region.
Reform or Restoration? Tunisia’s Canary-in-the-Coalmine Indicators
January 19th, 2011 by Cole
Tunisia’s strongman President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali has been deposed. But if his ruling party was kicked out the door, is it now coming back through the window? There is a serious risk that the old order will cling to power and frustrate hopes for a genuinely democratic transition, writes Steven Heydemann
, Vice President at the US Institute for Peace and Special Adviser to USIP’s Muslim World Initiative.
He identifies the canary-in-the-coalmine indicators that will demonstrate whether the Jasmine Revolution will turn out to be a true turning point for Tunisia and the Arab world.
Saudi Arabia: Human Rights First Society Report
December 9th, 2010 by Jason
The Human Rights First Society-Saudi Arabia has released a report titled “Unholy Trespass: How the Saudi Legal Code Violates International Human Rights Law.” The report seeks to “serve as a roadmap for the Saudi officials, so that they will know where the Saudi laws are either in violation of international conventions or treaties,” according to the group’s president, Ibrahim Almugaiteeb. While the report acknowledges that “[g]overnment and societal tolerance for the public discussion of human rights and civil liberties in Saudi Arabia has increased substantially in the last decade,” Saudi Arabia’s human rights record remains troubling.
Tunisia: HRW Reports Continued Abuse of Unionists
October 25th, 2010 by Evan
Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently released a report criticizing the Tunisian government’s repression of trade and student unions. Despite official statements to the contrary, HRW found that Tunisian officials regularly deny the groups legal status and attempt to persecute and subvert their leadership. HRW also reports that abuse and torture remain widespread in Tunisia.
U.S. Government-Related Resources
The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of POMED as an organization