Dissolution of Egypt’s parliament and doubts about the upcoming presidential election have undermined the country’s once-promising transition to democracy. Now the question is, can any likely outcome justify the hopes of last year’s Arab Spring, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The new Egypt – guided by relatively moderate Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood – is seeking a unity among Palestinian factions as a way to advance peace talks with Israel. The next question will be whether Israel and the United States welcome or spurn this initiative, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
A key justification for three recent U.S. military actions – in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – was to oust brutal dictators and pave the way for a more democratic future. But these violent strategies have fallen short on the pro-democracy front, writes the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
American neocons have long criticized Arab countries for lacking democracy, but now are complaining that some of the new Arab democracies are electing parties with Islamic affiliations. Former CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar finds some of that alarm unnecessary.
More and more, the Republican Party is becoming a Christian fundamentalist movement with attacks on “secularism” and demands for school-run prayers for students, but many of these same politicos express shock when people in the Middle East turn to Islamic-oriented parties, Lawrence Davidson notes.
The West has long played a double game regarding democracy in the Middle East, replacing popular leaders who nationalized oil or caused “trouble” with autocrats – and then condemning Muslims as politically backward. Now that democracy is returning, the West again is uneasy, writes Adil E. Shamoo.
President Barack Obama’s speech on a “new chapter” in U.S. policy toward the Middle East was filled with platitudes befitting a New Year’s resolution, but there is little expectation that he will follow through, especially on the hardest issues like the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, says Lawrence Davidson.