The United Nations Tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is expected to release its findings soon and might indict members of Hizbollah. This has raised tensions in Lebanon to the breaking point.
Although important, development assistance aimed at reforming the security sectors in Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen has achieved only limited results. The bulk of such aid has consisted of military training and equipment, which does nothing to ensure that security forces answer to legitimate civilian leaders.
The situation in the Middle East is set to deteriorate. The European policy community assessed past European action in the region, lessons learnt, and a future strategy.
The international community and the Gulf states are not providing sufficient funding or accepting enough Iraqi refugees. The current situation is highly unstable and fragile, and very little progress can be expected without Iran’s and Syria’s involvement. No significant return of refugees can be expected in the next ten years.
Confrontational U.S. policy that tried to create a “New Middle East,” but ignored the realities of the region has instead exacerbated existing conflicts and created new problems.
Contemporary discourse on democratic transformation in the Arab world often lacks a critical assessment of the kind of progress that is taking place on the ground. Marina Ottaway and Julia Choucair-Vizoso launched their new book Beyond the Façade: Political Reform in the Arab World, a critical assessment of political reform in the Arab world based on ten case studies.
On June 19, the Carnegie Middle East Center hosted an in-house discussion with Timur Goksel, former senior advisor of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), on the challenges and opportunities facing the current UNIFIL II mission. The event was attended by a number of scholars and commentators as well as CMEC staff. The talk was moderated by CMEC director Paul Salem.
The session, part of the Carnegie Endowment's NEW VISION launch, examines the state of the Arab political reform agenda, what can be expected in terms of political change in the region, and what the U.S. efforts should be to promote regional reform.
Carnegies's third meeting dealing with political reform in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries featured researchers from across the region. The discussion focused on various drivers of political reform: political actors; new political institutions; economic transformation; and the impact of new ideas and debates to which the region's population is increasingly exposed through mass media.
The Lebanon war was a war without winners. Trends indicate that if anything, the changes that are taking place are going in the wrong direction. This was a conflict where none of the participants achieved their objectives. The Carnegie Endowment, in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, hosted Marina Ottoway, Volker Perthes, and Amr Hamzawy to discuss implications of the Lebanon War.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation in cooperation with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a one-day workshop at Carnegie to explore the potential and the limits of engaging groups and movements with an Islamist platform and ideology.
The main obstacle to reform is the lack of any coherent central authority in Lebanon that has institutionalized decision-making mechanisms. The manner in which power is divided among the various sects results in de facto mini-states responsible for all the needs of their constituents, which leads to political and administrative paralysis.
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