None of the Central Asian leaders like the idea of Russian hegemony, but the risk of anarchy and war in the border regions of Russia frighten them even more. They might not like the idea of Moscow as regional policeman, but in the absence of a viable alternative, they might swallow it more easily if Moscow turns into an effective one.
Turkey narrowly avoided an unprecedented constitutional crisis on Wednesday when its Constitutional Court refrained from banning the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In a new commentary, Henri Barkey offers an analysis of court’s decision, outlines the history of the AKP, and assesses the impact of the crisis on Turkey’s political future.
Despite the collapse of the Doha trade talks this week, the global food crisis is creating the basis for longer term progress on a new agricultural trade regime. Key differences over agriculture as well as manufacturing and services trade seemingly stymied a final deal, but progress on farm talks bodes well for an eventual pact that better reflects the needs of developing countries and the poor.
A presidential election in Palestine will not take place until Fatah and Hamas reach consensus—and Israel permits it—resulting in a deadlock with no clear path toward political reconciliation. In a question and answer guide, Nathan Brown offers an analysis of Palestinian law and the core disagreements between the Palestinian factions that cast doubt on President Mahmud Abbas’s political future.
Arab governments tempered public anger at rising food prices by increasing wages and subsidies, but their approach is not sustainable without raising taxes. Instead they should revise agricultural policies, expand social safety nets, and curb excessive energy consumption, argues Carnegie Middle East Center economist Ibrahim Saif.
The simultaneous announcement of an agreement between government and opposition in Lebanon and of the start of indirect talks between Israel and Syria in Turkey might be the best news to come out of that troubled region for a long time. While the United States favored neither position, these two developments may have a positive influence on the region.
Kuwait’s May 2008 elections dealt a setback to the local affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Constitutional Movement (HADAS) rewarding more rigid salafi Islamists and tribal candidates. The new parliament is likely to be less cohesive, and the result will be a deepening political deadlock between the government and the parliament in the Gulf’s most democratic political order.
Lebanon’s prolonged political crisis erupted in violence last week following the dismissal by the Lebanese government of an official close to Hizbollah and the launch an investigation into the organization’s telecommunications network. Contrary to a similar escalation in December 2006, Iran has not interceded to halt the violence.
Kuwait's parliamentary election on May 17 is more likely to continue political stalemate than move the country toward much needed political and economic reforms. Tensions between the ruling family and parliament may have serious implications for democracy promotion in the broader Middle East as other countries in the region begin to see Kuwait as a negative model of what democracy can bring.
The common idea that every regional contest is succinctly played out in Lebanon is false. The Middle East is not a struggle between two invincible powers. It is rather a scene in which a troubled superpower and a hobbled regional power try to find their bearings in passageways cluttered with various Arab and non-Arab agendas.
France sees the ascent of Anglo-American influence as having advanced at its expense not only in Iraq, but also in North Africa, a zone long considered to be France’s backyard.
This week, President Bush will be hosting representatives in Annapolis, MA for an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference. Carnegie's Mohammed Herzallah argues that the Palestinian leadership will be in a position to haggle in Annapolis without being held accountable by their own constituency. There must be a democratic connection between the Palestinian negotiators and the people they represent.
In the wake of the Annapolis meeting, the United States and Russia should consider putting together a diplomatic initiative to push parties in the country and the region to overcome the Lebanese presidential hurdle.
Lebanon is threatening to come undone in the coming days. The international community, and particularly the United States, need to focus urgently on Lebanon. The crisis in Lebanon deserves the most urgent and intense attention at the highest international political levels
The critical moments of the general congress of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) came when the delegates voted on amendments to the party’s bylaws and on new leadership bodies. The votes served as evidence that the NDP has been sufussed with supporters of Gamal Mubarak and the modernizing agenda he represents.
In attempting to hold on to power at any cost, Pervez Musharraf has alienated Pakistanis and precipitated a political crisis that could reverberate throughout the region. But in this unseemly effort the Pakistani president has found an important ally—the Bush administration.
Morocco conducted elections to the lower chamber of the parliament, the House of Representatives, on September 7. Local and international monitoring groups confirmed that the elections were conducted in a fair and transparent manner. However, voter turnout plunged to a historical low of 37 percent, down from 51 percent in the 2002 elections and 58 percent in 1997.
The decision by the United Nations Security Council to establish a Special Tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and others under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter has dramatically raised tensions in Lebanon.
Kuwait is gripped by a state of political paralysis. A standoff between the ruling family and the elected parliament is aggravated by deep divisions within each side, making any kind of political movement difficult if not impossible.