Jan 29, 2013
On January 28, a new report by the Quilliam Foundation warned that the Mali conflict has now evolved into a global security threat. The latest chapter in the half-century old conflict began in July 2012 when Islamic extremists linked to al Qaeda seized control of northern Mali. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has been winning recruits since the mid-2000s, rebranding the Taureg nationalist movement as an Islamist one.
Jan 16, 2013
The second anniversary of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution reflected the deepening political divisions across the North African country. Five different political factions—two Islamist and three secular parties—took to the street of Tunis on January 14 to mark the ouster of former President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali. They had starkly different messages.
Jan 09, 2013
On January 8, the Quilliam Foundation released a new strategic briefing on the Al Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra), a powerful rebel group fighting the Syrian regime. The report warned that the hard-line Islamist group is linked to al Qaeda, seeks to create a new jihadist umbrella movement in Syria and ultimately create a caliphate.
Dec 18, 2012
The Middle East faces even bigger challenges in 2013 than it did during the first two years of the so-called Arab Spring. So far—a pivotal caveat—the Arab uprisings have deepened the political divide, worsened economic woes and produced greater insecurity. Solutions are not imminent either.
Dec 11, 2012
Egypt’s Facebook sheikhs reflect the growing diversity within Islam. The new tech-savvy sheikhs range from rock-star street preachers to Salafi populists. Even the old clerics are finding they have to be hip to keep their flocks. Their television shows, broadcast on popular satellite stations, compete for viewers—generating new rivalries over who controls the Muslim message.
Nov 02, 2012
Tunisia -- Robin Wright interviewed Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda Party, on the first anniversary of Tunisia’s first democratic elections. Ghannouchi reflected on the new Islamist spectrum, especially concern about the growing Salafi factor.
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
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 16, 2012
Following the massive Arab and Muslim demonstrations and attacks on American embassies in Libya and Egypt in reaction to an anti-Muslim video, the Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and the Program on International Policy attitudes conducted an American public opinion poll to study how the American public reacted to these events. A majority of Americans said the attacks were supported by extremist minorities but also thought the Egyptian and Libyan governments did not protect American diplomats and their staff. About three in ten Americans wanted to completely cut aid to Egypt and four in ten wanted to reduce aid.