Just as Guantánamo's legal and geographic isolation from the United States denies its prisoners recourse to the American judicial system, it also denies its military administrators the benefits of the most current research on how to de-radicalize prisoners and reintegrate them into society.
One of President-elect Barack Obama's top priorities will be to rethink the "war on terror" from the ground up. That means following through on his campaign promises to close the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo, which would be a major symbolic achievement. Transparency, due process, and legality are some of the strongest weapons in the struggle against violent extremism.
There are a number of options and decisions that the Obama administration will be confronted by in closing Guantanamo Bay. Among them are what should be done with remaining detainees; how should those who have been charged with crimes be treated; how viable is rehabilitation?
The real struggle of ideas in the Arab and Muslim world today is between moderate and extremist forces. As the majority of people remain undecided and nonaligned with either camp, the Obama administration must adopt policies that are geared toward strengthening the moderates and weakening the extremists.
Neither economic nor political reform has produced dramatic change in Arab countries in the last five years, and yet there is continued dynamism and calls for change from within Arab societies.Frustration with formal politics is leading to the creation of less organized protest activities disconnected from any party or movement.
The burst of diplomatic activity that the Middle East has witnessed in recent months frequently deviated from Washington's policy guidelines, underscoring the decline in American influence in the region.The new U.S. administration will need a new and more constructive approach to handling the various issues of the Middle East.
As Secretary of State Rice travels to the Middle East this week for another round of negotiations in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, deep divisions and institutional decay on the Palestinian side remain the most daunting obstacles to peace. Ongoing Palestinian unity talks brokered by Egypt have little chance of success without a significant international push, concludes Nathan J. Brown.
Islamist women, increasingly restless with their subordinate status in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, are pushing for greater representation and a wider role. Their call for broader participation in decision-making bodies are not signs of a “rebellion of the Sisters,” but part of the normal dynamics of change.
Since the civil war of the 1990s, Algeria’s government has given moderate Islamist parties only a superficial role in politics. The resulting rise of Salafism, which rejects the country’s political system, reveals the need for Algeria to increase political transparency and participation and engage its citizens to discourage radicalization outside the political system.
Amr Hamzawy reflects on the challenges of being a public commentator in the Middle East and the temptation to play both sides of the debate.