"While the Burmese may have been impressed with events in Tahrir Square last year, Egypt should be looking to Myanmar’s example now. Egyptians are due to head to the polls this weekend but democratic change seems increasingly elusive. Myanmar, meanwhile, has moved further and faster toward real political reform," writes Jane Harman in Politico.
In fighting for their own rights, women in the Middle East are broadening the democratic space in society as a whole.
The failure of Tunisia's ruling Islamic Ennahda movement to convince secular parties and civil society groups that it is truly committed to the separation of religion and state underlies the current political crisis there. Ennahda's moderate leadership has made repeated compromises on religious issues to meet secularist demands for a new constitution. But it has lost their trust by showing too much deference to its own militant Islamic wing and fundamentalist Salafis outside the movement.
Hassan Rouhani’s surprising first round victory in the presidential elections represents a significant shift in the Iranian political landscape. In a field of candidates dominated by conservatives, Rouhani ran as a moderate. He questioned the necessity of the expanding security state and the constant oversight of student and civil society associations by the security agencies. He spoke of the need for greater freedom of press and speech, and devoted attention to women’s rights issues. Whether he will succeed, or whether he will initiate a change of direction only to be blocked by yet another rightwing backlash, remains to be seen.
Since Tuareg nationalists and al-Qaeda seized control of northern Mali in February 2012, the world has been dithering about what to do. Neither the United States nor Algeria, two potentially key actors in the unfolding drama, has decided on its role yet. Mali’s neighbors, the African Union, and the UN Security Council have not wanted to take any risky action and have found ways to put off a military response in the slim hope of finding a political solution.
The 2000 peace talks at Camp David offer three key lessons on how not to solve the world's most intractable conflict, writes Distinguished Scholar Aaron David Miller in Foreign Policy magazine.