• Research

    Reform in Syria: Steering between the Chinese Model and Regime Change

    • Ellen Lust-Okar
    • July 17, 2006
    • Carnegie Endowment

    The regime of Bashar al-Asad is under pressure from Syrian citizens who want a different political system and from the United States, which wants Syria to change its regional policy. As a result, it is impossible to separate completely a domestic process of political reform from the external pressures.

    • Event

    Engagement or Quarantine: How to Deal with the Islamist Advance

    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.

    • Research

    Promoting Democracy after Hamas’ Victory

    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.

    • Event

    Lebanon’s Uncertain Democratic Prospects

    The main obstacle to reform is the lack of any coherent central authority in Lebanon that has institutionalized decision-making mechanisms. The manner in which power is divided among the various sects results in de facto mini-states responsible for all the needs of their constituents, which leads to political and administrative paralysis.

    • Research

    Lebanon: Finding a Path from Deadlock to Democracy

    The Lebanese political system, designed to ensure representation for a diverse population, makes it very difficult for one group to gain enough seats in parliament to govern effectively. Therefore, although Syria's withdrawal has restored Lebanon's sovereignty, it has also left a power vacuum that threatens the stability of the country.

    • Commentary

    Islamists and Democracy: Keep the Faith

    Talking to the Muslim Brotherhood and other mainstream Islamist organizations should be a central, ongoing task for American diplomats in the Middle East. It would do more to restore the tarnished image of the United States in the Arab world than any public diplomacy initiative launched so far.

    • Commentary

    Understanding Arab Political Reality: One Lens Is Not Enough

    Mass demonstrations in Lebanon, joint protest rallies of Egyptian Islamists and liberals against the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and municipal elections in Saudi Arabia are just as much features of the current situation as are cease-fire declarations by Palestinian resistance movements and multiparty negotiations for forming a coalition government in Iraq.

    • Commentary

    Was Bush Right About the War?

    The essential ingredient the Arab spring is not what occurred in the White House. It is, instead, what occurred on the streets of Ramallah, Cairo and Beirut.

    • Commentary

    Lebanon’s New Political Moment

    The assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri has forced the Lebanese to confront one another on the question of Syria’s role in the Lebanese political system and has pitted pro-Syria politicians with vested interests in the status quo against an increasingly vocal opposition movement backed by popular demonstrations.

    • Commentary

    The Middle East's Muffled Signals

    Despite predictions that the American march into Baghdad would unleash either a wave of democratization or a plague of repression throughout the region, in reality most Middle Eastern states are too preoccupied with domestic problems to be moved profoundly by events in Iraq. Iraq will have a political impact on the region, but changes are likely to come in smaller steps than commonly predicted.

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