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.
The Carnegie China Program held a luncheon seminar during which Professor Gu Xiaorong and Professor Zhang Guoyan, both of the Institute of Law at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), presented findings from a joint Carnegie-SASS research project.
In writing of the need to bring democracy to the Arab world, Natan Sharansky makes repeated parallels with America's propagation of its democratic message to the subject peoples of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.
The deeply regrettable death of the Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov at the hands of Russian forces means that the Kremlin no longer has an alibi for its failure to pursue a political process in Chechnya. The West must pressure Russia to fulfill its committment to allow elections.
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.
In the coming months, Iraq’s newly elected National Assembly will face the major task of writing a permanent constitution for the country. Two other critical issues—personal status law and a security agreement with the United States—may also be thrust on its shoulders. All three issues are directly related to debates about the role of Islam and Islamic law in post-Baathist Iraq.
Popular political mythology usually thinks of Russia looking east and west, like the double-headed eagle of its state emblem. In reality, Russia has always treated the east and the west very differently.
The elections were a success, but they do not ensure that Iraqis can now agree on a constitutional formula that accommodates the demands of all groups and keeps the country together. Democracy as separation of powers, checks and balances, and protection of individual rights has not proven enough to avoid conflict in other deeply divided societies.