Democratic Transition News

Ominous Divide: Shiite Iran vs the Sunni Gulf

Feb 18, 2014
Sectarian tensions have become a major part of political life in the Gulf Arab states, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. Shiites in each state suffer varying degrees of religious discrimination and political marginalization. Tensions are typically portrayed as a spillover effect of sectarian strife elsewhere in the region or Iran’s deliberate incitement of local Shiite communities. But they are only part of the story.

Crises in Ukraine: 2004 and 2013 in comparative context

Jan 31, 2014
Big scale political crises occur in Ukraine approximately once in a decade, with each next crisis more devastating than the previous one. However, if the crises of 1994 and 2004 resulted in a change of power, the crisis of 2013 so far has not been resolved.

What the West Must Do for Ukraine

Jan 29, 2014
Ukraine is on the verge of spinning out of control. A pro-European protest that began more than two months ago in Kiev’s central square has flared into broad, angry opposition to the authoritarian policies of President Viktor F. Yanukovych. If the United States and European Union wish to encourage a peaceful resolution, they must use their leverage now. Otherwise the situation could degenerate further, to the point where the West will be no more than a spectator.

Islamists Under Fire

Jan 04, 2014
In stark contrast to the euphoria after elections more than two years ago, Islamist political parties across the Middle East now face escalating challenges to their rule. The main drama is playing out in Egypt between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood. But Islamist parties in Tunisia, Libya are also under pressure from emboldened opposition movements.

Tunisia’s Islamists I: Ennahda Withdraws

Dec 18, 2013
Tunisia’s Islamists are the first to step aside voluntarily after being elected. But they are also more divided today than ever before. The challenges of being in government rather than trying to topple it have driven sharp new wedges into old cracks within the Ennahda Party.

Tunisia’s Islamists II: The Salafis

Dec 18, 2013
Salafis today influence Tunisian politics in multiple ways. While the number of militant Salafis remains modest, their activism influences the way in which Tunisians and outside observers think about the state of affairs in the country. Generally speaking, violence has not been a common political tool in Tunisia. But the steady escalation in Salafi militancy over the past two years undermines this reputation.

Latin American Program in the News: Un respaldo capital para el proceso de paz

Dec 11, 2013
This article discusses Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' recent visit to Washington, D.C. Most sectors in Washington see Colombia as having had tremendous success in the past decade, although there is much less optimism in Colombia. Cynthia Arnson discusses the high-level talks and gives an analysis of perceptions in Colombia. This article is in Spanish.

Poll: Tunisians Say Country Moving in Wrong Direction

Dec 06, 2013
A growing percentage of Tunisians are dissatisfied with their government’s performance, according to a new poll by the International Republican Institute (IRI).

Who Needs European Integration in Ukraine?

Dec 04, 2013
The West has yet another opportunity to learn more about Ukraine. Although it’s not under the best circumstances, we hope that someday the opportunities will change in their quality, not just increase in quantity, and the word “Ukraine” will evoke, in the minds of EU citizens, something specific and positive rather than vague and negative.

Latin American Program in the News: Election strengthens Honduran military's hand

Dec 03, 2013
This article discusses the role that the Honduran military played in the election of National Party candidate, Juan Orlando Hernandez. Eric Olson discusses how the military has become a political actor and why the region is likely to become more militarized.

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