Egypt's civil liberties have been called into question several times since the January 25 Revolution. Most recently, Egypt issued a law limiting preaching at mosques to graduates of Al-Azhar University. While this has come under heavy criticism both nationally and internationally, this decision is an attempt by Egypt to regulate, not restrict, religious freedoms, and in so doing puts Egypt back on the road to recovery from years of religious misinterpretation.
On January 16 in The Hague, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will open the trial of the suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafiq Hariri and 21 others who died with him. This trial can be important for Lebanon, for the region, and for the United Nations' tribunals because it carries the hope of ending a culture of impunity in Lebanon and in introducing a new culture that chooses the courts and the rule of law over revenge, retribution, and violence in the Middle East. The outcome of the trial has stark implications for the future of Lebanon and for international justice.
Iran meets with the US and five other nations in Moscow this week over its nuclear program. It is their third session in three months in the latest round of an almost decade-old attempt to answer fears that Iran seeks the bomb. Yet the two sides still have irreconcilable positions, and it is hard to see an ice-breaker towards a deal, writes Iran nuclear expert Michael Adler.
"The referendum on Egypt's constitution scheduled for Saturday is a sign that Egyptians of varying views are finally playing politics, not just planning protests. Washington should embrace this in its newfound role of providing guidance without interfering. In other words, it should be coach, not captain," writes Jane Harman in The Washington Post.
"On the second anniversary of the Arab uprisings, millions across the Middle East still have dreams of makeovers. But revolutionary fairy tales have devolved into the reality of running countries that are still without fully functioning governments or basic laws. Providing fundamental public services, much less addressing economic woes that sparked the uprisings, is still a very long way off," writes DIstinguished Scholar Robin Wright.
The only thing that's really clear about U.S. Middle East policy these days is its stunning lack of clarity, writes Aaron Miller. Still, even while it seems confused and directionless, Barack Obama's Middle East policies have logic and coherence.
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The Iran Primer Blog
The Islamists Are Coming
Experts & Staff
- Haleh Esfandiari // Director, Middle East Program
- Kendra Heideman // Program Associate
- Michael Adler // Public Policy Scholar
- Margot Badran // Senior Scholar
- Jason Brodsky // Policy Advisor to the Director, President and CEO and Research Associate
- Aaron David Miller // Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar
- William Green Miller // Senior Scholar
- Amal Mudallali // Senior Scholar
- David Ottaway // Senior Scholar
- Marina Ottaway // Senior Scholar
- Joby Warrick // Public Policy Scholar
- Robert Worth // Public Policy Scholar
- Robin Wright // USIP-Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar