Nov 13, 2012
On October 31, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood announced, "We cannot in any way compromise in demanding to apply Sharia." Article 2 of the constitution already cites the "principles" of Sharia as the main source of legislation. But it does not define those principles. In a statement, the Muslim Brotherhood defined them as commandments mentioned in the Koran and instructions derived from the traditions of the Prophet Mohamed. The organization specified that only principles accepted by mainstream Sunni scholars should apply.
Nov 05, 2012
Islamic television is increasingly popular and prevalent across the Middle East one year after Islamists began winning democratic elections. Even secular satellite channels are now broadcasting more religious content—and in better prime time slots. The satellite sheikhs vary widely, however. Indeed, the battle over defining Islam in a new political era is now being waged on television screens.
Oct 24, 2012
Efraim Halevy is a former Director of Mossad and former Head of the Israeli National Security Council. Aaron David Miller is the Vice President for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The interview took place following the October 18 meeting “Iran, Palestine, and the Arab Spring: The View from Israel” at the Wilson Center.
Oct 23, 2012
U.S. policy in the Middle East was a central point of dispute during the final presidential debate on October 22. President Barack Obama claimed that he has shown strong leadership on counterterrorism, democracy, women’s rights and religious minorities. During the debate, he labeled Romney’s proposed policies “reckless” and “all over the map.” Governor Romney criticized Obama for not stemming the “rising tide of chaos” in the region. He called for arming the “responsible parties” of Syrian insurgents in order to force President Bashar Assad out. Both candidates emphasized economic development as the key to stability and peace in the region.
Oct 22, 2012
In October 2012, a new Rand Corporation report highlighted divisions between Muslim Brotherhood youth and senior leadership in Egypt. Younger members are usually more progressive on social issues like gender equality and minority rights. They are also frustrated by the organization’s internal hierarchy, which provides them with limited leadership roles or responsibility. The report warns that U.S. officials are not doing enough to engage with emerging leaders at the grassroots level.
Oct 22, 2012
The Pew Research Center conducted a poll on the U.S. public‘s views on the Middle East in early October. The public is increasingly pessimistic about regional developments following the Arab uprisings. In April 2011, 42 percent of Americans thought changes in leadership would “lead to lasting improvements for people” in countries like Egypt and Libya. But in October 2012, only 25 percent still believe there will be lasting improvements.The results were released prior to the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Overall the poll found little difference in opinion between Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The majority of Americans, 54 percent, say it is “more important to have stable governments in the Middle East, even if there is less democracy in the region.”
Oct 17, 2012
This new series provides a platform for women to engage in a free and fluid exchange about pivotal Middle East issues. On October 8, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi completed his first 100 days in office. For this piece, Egyptian women were asked the following question: What are the successes and failures of President Mohamed Morsi’s government?
Oct 16, 2012
On October 12, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton declared that U.S. support for democratic transitions is a “strategic necessity” and not just “a matter of idealism.” She discussed the status of North African political transitions at a conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Clinton pledged to increase engagement with the region, despite the outbreak of anti-American sentiment in September 2012. She urged Congress to approve an additional $770 million in assistance to countries that enact political and economic reforms.
Sep 28, 2012
The leaders of Islamist governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia have condemned attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates in reaction to the offensive “Innocence of Muslims” film. In public statements and private contacts with American officials, all three leaders assured the United States that the assaults did not reflect government policy or public opinion among the majority in their countries. Each of them blamed small groups of extremists.
Sep 07, 2012
In just ten weeks, President Mohamed Morsi has gone from political unknown to one of the most powerful leaders in the Middle East. The U.S.-educated engineer—a former parliament member and a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Council—is proving to be both unpredictable and politically savvy.