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The Council on Foreign Relations released on June 8 an Independent Task Force Report entitled "In Support of Arab Democracy: Why and How." The Task Force found that supporting the growth of democracy in the Middle East serves U.S. foreign policy goals because if citizens of Arab countries can express grievances freely and peacefully, they are more like to build open and prosperous societies and less likely to support terrorism.  The report makes specific recommendations for U.S. policy to promote political, economic, media, and educational reform in the Middle East.

In “Islamists and Democracy: Keep the Faith” (The New Republic, vol. 232, no. 4,716, June 6, 2005), Marina Ottaway argues that, if the United States wants to encourage democratization, it should seek to understand and support democratic trends within Islamist movements, the only groups with significant organized constituencies in much of the Middle East. In the same issue of The New Republic, Marisa Katz argues in "Democratease" that President Bush's rhetoric on democracy has not been backed by action, and Lawrence Kaplan counters in "Pressure Points" that is it not the Iraq war, but Bush administration policy that is responsible for recent progress toward democratization.  

A number of works focus on developments in Iraq and implications for the region:

  • A new report released by the International Crisis Group on June 8, 2005, “ Iraq Don't Rush the Constitution,” advises Iraqis to give themselves six additional months to draft a new constitution. While there are disadvantages to delay the process, they are far outweighed by the dangers of a hurried job. By involving a wide range of actors, the constitutional drafting process can serve as a positive tool for peace-building and reconciliation instead of perpetuating divisions and power struggles.
     
  • In “ History Matters: Past as Prologue in Building Democracy in Iraq,” Eric Davis argues that restoring historical memory is a vital part of building a democratic Iraq (Orbis, vol. 49, no. 2, Spring 2005, 229-44). “Effective mobilization of the past, if done in a straightforward and non-romanticized fashion,” according to Davis, “can help to inspire Iraqis to regain a sense of civic pride and trust in their ability to forge ahead with democratization.”
     
  • James Kurth's “Ignoring History: U.S. Democratization in the Muslim World” argues that the history of U.S. democratization projects suggests that efforts to bring democracy to Iraq will fail (Orbis, vol. 49, no. 2, Spring 2005, 305-22). This failure will discredit efforts at democratization elsewhere, Kurth predicts, leaving “Islamism as the only valid ideology and Islamization as the only vital political and social project.”
     
  • In “ Returning Exiles to Iraqi Politics, ” Ariel Ahram argues that the struggle between Iraqi exiles—who have worked at formulating a national identity that transcends class and ethnic divisions—and those who never left Iraq will be a major step in resolving the country's contested national identity (MERIA, vol. 9, no. 1, March 2005).
     
  • Khaled Salih reviews scenarios for Kurds in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria in “ What Future for the Kurds?” noting that political elites in all four states face momentous decisions about the future of Kurdish populations (MERIA, vol. 9, no. 1, March 2005).

Two recent publications examine the prospects for Palestinian reform:

  • In “ Evaluating Palestinian Reform” (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Paper no. 59, June 2005), Nathan Brown argues that despite detailed reform plans, institutions to ensure democracy are either absent or ailing. He proposes concrete steps to reform political parties, security services, the judiciary, and media.
     
  • A new International Crisis Group (ICG) publication outlines the challenges Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas faces on the eve of his visit to Washington. Among them is transforming the Palestinian political system through institution-building, genuine power sharing, and enforcing the rule of law (“ Mr. Abbas Goes to Washington: Can He Still Succeed?,” ICG, Middle East Briefing no. 17, May 24, 2005).

Commenting on the Egyptian Judges Club initiative to boycott their constitutionally- mandated role in supervising elections, Nathan Brown and Hesham Nasr argue that rather than representing a bold move toward regime change, it is a calibrated confrontation to secure judicial reform and support electoral reform (“Egypt's Judges Step Forward: The Judicial Election Boycott and Egyptian Reform,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Policy Outlook, May 2005).

Several reports highlight human rights developments in the region:

  • A new report released by the International Crisis Group on June 8, 2005, “ Iraq Don't Rush the Constitution,” advises Iraqis to give themselves six additional months to draft a new constitution. While there are down sides to delay, they are far outweighed by the dangers of a hurried job. By involving a wide range of actors, the constitutional drafting process can serve as a positive tool for peace-building and reconciliation instead of perpetuating divisions and power struggles.
     
  • According to a new Freedom House survey, “ Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Citizenship and Justice ” (May 20, 2005), women in the region face a systematic gender gap due to discriminatory laws and the lack of enforcement of existing laws that guarantee equality. The study evaluates the legal, political, and societal standing of women in 17 countries based on five categories: nondiscrimination, freedom of the person, economic rights, political rights, and social rights. Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco earned the highest ratings while Saudi Arabia scored the lowest in every category.
     
  • Amnesty International's annual report highlights human rights developments in 16 Arab countries in 2004. The Middle East and North Africa Regional Overview reports numerous human rights violations in the region, including the killing of hundreds of civilians in armed conflicts and political violence.
     
  • In “ Lebanon: A Human Rights Agenda for the Parliamentary Elections ” published on May 18, 2005, Amnesty International reports that the Lebanese elections will provide an important opportunity for citizens to raise their human rights concerns with candidates. Areas needing reform, according to the report, include the justice sector, treatment of women and marginalized communities, the death penalty, impunity for past human rights violations, protection for human rights activities, and freedom of association.

The Journal of Middle East Women's Studies is the new official publication of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies. It will be published three times a year.

End of document
Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/02/15/turkey-and-bomb/fl3m

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.

2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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