Economic reform measures in the region have had many flaws. Nowhere have they been part of a comprehensive economic plan that coordinated with social policies and different economic sectors. Nowhere have they been sustained. The reform process suffers from lack of consensus around the meaning and ramifications of reform among key national stakeholders.
On October 25, Maen Areikat, Gregory Khalil, and Khaled Elgindy presented Palestinian perspectives and expectations towards the proposed Middle East peace summit in Annapolis. Carnegie Palestinian affairs expert Nathan Brown commented on the continuation of the desperate situation and raised the issue of the internal Palestinian split. Carnegie’s Michele Dunne moderated.
Recent economic growth and stabilization in Egypt has been largely fueled by external factors which may not be sustainable. During the same period, Egypt has failed to address pressing social and economic challenges, according to a new paper from the Carnegie Endowment.
On October 11, 2007 the Carnegie Endowment held a discussion with three members of Turkey’s Parliament on their country’s strategic identity, American-Turkish relations, and the challenges facing the newly elected Turkish government.
Many American commentators tend to identify Middle East democracy promotion as unwise, arguing that the Bush administration should have patiently promoted the growth of institutions, civil society, and the rule of law, instead of insisting on elections in Arab countries. This new canon seems reasonable but has three crucial flaws.
The Bush administration, following its own pronouncements as well as House and Senate legislation, is expected to decide soon whether to classify Iran's most formidable military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a terrorist organization. This would be a serious mistake. By labeling all 125,000 Revolutionary Guards untouchable "terrorists," Washington would forgo the possibility of exploiting the organization's internal divisions and further decrease the likelihood of diplomatic progress with Tehran.
In this September 28 discussion, Carnegie's Amr Hamzawy and Nathan Brown, professor at George Washington University, argue for shifting the debate about democracy promotion beyond U.S. policy in the region's failed states, while Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney warns about the liabilities of direct democracy promotion in Iran.
Nothing in Arab politics ought to encourage more hope than gradual democratisation in stable nation states. Sadly, last week's surprising results in Morocco's parliamentary elections, which thrust that country's democratic experience into the spotlight, demonstrates that political reform is under threat because of growing public disenchantment with the distribution of real power.
The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.