Libya is making a political and economic comeback, after years of being shunned as a promoter of terrorism. Some question whether the U.S. should hold the country up as an example of successful international diplomacy.
Islamist parties will play a significant role in Middle Eastern and North African countries experiencing political openings. Saad Eddine el-Othmani, General Secretary of the Moroccan Party of Justice and Development, discussed his party's efforts to promote democracy and development in Morocco in a talk moderated by Thomas Carothers with comments by Nathan Brown at the Carnegie Endowment.
The strident tone of Osama bin Laden's latest videotape masks an ideological crisis for Al-Qaeda. Arab politics have transcended the legacy of Al-Qaeda. Today gradualism, participation, and democratic reform, rather than radical violence and jihad, set the agenda.
Islamist movements have become major political actors in the Middle East. Nathan Brown, Amr Hamzawy and Marina Ottaway discussed their new study, Islamist Movements and the Democratic Process in the Arab World: Exploring the Gray Zones, which examines the “gray zones”—areas of ambiguity—in their rhetoric and thought.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson recommends Carnegie's new study, Winners and Losers: Impact of the Doha Round on Developing Countries.
We tend to interpret the failure of liberal parties in recent Arab elections as due to either the process of Islamicisation, or to or to the weakness of the political message put forth by secularists. Yet these interpretations mistakenly reduce a complex social reality that must be explained in detail in order to determine the parameters of a possible secularist revival in Arab politics.
In view of the recent victory by Hamas in Palestine and the electoral success of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, understanding the thinking of Islamist movements is more important than ever. Experts are trying to move beyond stark views of the Islamist challenge as either a democratizing force or an extreme threat to democracy, to present a nuanced view of the position of Islamist parties.
Authoritarian leaders around the world have recently started to crack down on democracy-promotion efforts in their countries. The Bush administration's pro-democracy bombast has not helped matters, but has contributed to the false idea that political liberalization is a U.S.-driven phenomenon.
Hamas’s recent victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections highlights the deep crisis of secular Arabs. In today’s Arab politics, secular parties have either degenerated into marginal forces with no broad popular support or become gatekeepers of repressive regimes.
The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections has given rise to much soul searching in Washington about who lost Palestine. The main problem, however, is not U.S. policy but the underlying conditions in the last few months that have led to the victory of Hamas and to the impressive showing by both Shia and Sunni religious parties elsewhere in the region.