Armed revolution, international legality, or home-grown constitutionalism? These three options for national change are simultaneously being used this week in the three Arab countries that arguably have had the most impact on the Middle East region in the last century—Syria, Egypt and Palestine.
The dramatic events in Egypt over the past few days following President Mohammad Morsi’s unilateral decree giving him unchallenged political authority should not surprise or frighten anyone. In fact, the continuing developments can be seen as a positive stage in the country’s historic political transition from autocracy to democracy.
On November 5, Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, confirmed that he would go ahead with the changes he made in the Kuwait’s electoral law this past October 19. This amendment to the electoral law ahead of the December 1 parliamentary elections is likely to escalate the political crisis in Kuwait.
The 2011 uprisings placed Hamas in the awkward position of attempting to align itself with a wave of popular revolts while simultaneously clamping down on protests in Gaza. But despite the domestic crackdown, Hamas managed to emerge from 2011 in a stronger regional position.
Is the International Monetary Fund loan permissible under Islamic law? Egypt’s Islamist movements have signaled that this is the case and have gone out of their way to endorse the $4.8 billion package despite more than a year of lobbying that aimed to do the opposite.
The political tensions and a handful of local clashes following the assassination last Friday of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau head Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan reflected a tragic but rather routine sequence of sentiments and events in this country, where political assassinations have occurred regularly for half a century.
Reformist judges may be finding themselves better equipped to fight with yesteryear’s Mubarak than with this year’s more complicated rivals, and the struggles over the coming years are likely to feature a different set of issues—or perhaps, more accurately, unexpected iterations of the older concerns over autonomy and authority.
By 2020 the population of the tiny Gaza Strip will grow by half a million people: 500,000 more to be fed, housed, educated, and employed. Let us address the root causes of this looming disaster rather than expecting the international community to foot the bill to mitigate their disastrous consequences.
There is a new Silk Road quietly emerging that connects the booming economies of East Asia with the oil-rich Gulf states of the Arab Peninsula and, through them, European markets accessible just across the Suez canal.
In response to pointed criticism from the United Nations Human Rights Council, representatives of the Bahraini government claimed they would accept and implement over 150 of the council’s recommendations for the improvement of human rights and the treatment of prisoners. Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa remarked that “Our actions, more than our words, should dispel any doubts regarding [Bahrain’s] commitment to upholding human rights through the rule of law.” Despite this, there are real reasons to be skeptical that Manama is ready to turn the page. » Read more about: Bahrain: Human Rights and Political Wrongs »
Even as the goodwill won by Obama’s Cairo University speech has dissipated, the level of engagement pursued early in his term suggested a reevaluation of how America does business in the Middle East. Morsi deserves his own chance to win America’s goodwill, and he’ll have that very opportunity at the UN General Assembly.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has governed Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak—and apparently wants to hold on indefinitely—can’t justify itself on its record. Especially when it comes to human rights. SCAF presented itself as the shepherd of Egypt’s transition to democracy. Instead, SCAF trampled rights of Egyptians across the board, repressing speech and public gatherings and preserving an unfair justice system. In some areas, SCAF has outdone Mubarak.
Road accidents are common everywhere, but what is striking in Egypt is how little the government seems to care, despite the high human and economic costs to society. An estimated 12,000 die and another 154,000 are injured in crashes each year, making Egypt’s roads among the most dangerous in the world. Accidents also cost Egypt as much as 30 billion L.E. ($5 billion) a year, according to some sources. Government neglect in road safety is yet another part of the legacy of misrule and unaccountability following decades of dictatorship.