On July 28, Amr Hamzawy and Paul Salam appeared on Al Arabiya to discuss ideological and strategic dimensions of Rice's "new Midde East."
Given the last two weeks in the Middle East — client entities like Hizbollah provoking a conflict, the Saudis and Egyptians speaking without power from the sidelines, Western uncertainty about the role of Syria and Iran — is it possible to draw a new map of the Middle East?
This is a dangerous moment for the Middle East, because the conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon could easily escalate to involve the broader region. Any strategy to address the present crisis must deal with the realities of the Middle East as they are now, not try to leapfrog over them by seeking to impose a grand new vision. Such a vision would be bound to fail as it did in the case of Iraq.
Over the last few decades most, if not all, Arab-Israeli crises have occurred when the United States has been either unable or unwilling to play an aggressive role as a mediator; and most have only abated after the United States has finally thrown itself into the middle of them.
Has President George W. Bush given up on his liberty doctrine? From Libya to Iran to Azerbaijan, the Bush administration appears to have downgraded the importance of democracy promotion in the last several months. Nowhere, however, has a new indifference to democracy been more striking than in Egypt.
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.
Egypt made progress in political liberties in 2005 over the course of presidential and parliamentary elections, despite many flaws. The developments of 2005 did not, however, put Egypt firmly on a path toward democracy nor did they demonstrate a clear commitment to such a path on the part of the ruling establishment.
Is the United States retreating from its democracy promotion agenda in the Arab world? Has the Bush administration become fearful of the potential outcome of Arab democratization after the electoral victory of Hamas and the considerable gains of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's parliamentary elections last year?
Since Egyptian legislative elections were held in December 2005, the National Democratic Party (NDP) has backslid on democratisation, reclaiming the ground of openness that it ceded over the past two years and reversing the short-lived tide of liberalisation. These and other factors indicate that democratisation is back to square one, unless the opposition can force the government's hand.