Islamists are Coming
Hamas never has faced such large challenges and opportunities as presented by the Arab uprisings. It abandoned its headquarters in Damascus, at much cost to ties with its largest state supporter, Iran, while improving those with such U.S. allies as Egypt, Qatar and Turkey. Asked to pick sides in an escalating regional contest, it has sought to choose neither. Internal tensions are at new heights, centring on how to respond to regional changes in the short run. Leaders in the West Bank and exile tend to believe that with the rise to power of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in particular and the West’s rapprochement with Islamists in general, it is time for bolder steps toward Palestinian unity, thereby facilitating Hamas’s regional and wider international integration. The Gaza leadership by contrast is wary of large strategic steps amid a still uncertain regional future. These new dynamics – Islamists’ regional ascent; shifting U.S. and EU postures toward them; vacillation within their Palestinian offshoot – offer both Hamas and the West opportunities. But seizing them will take far greater pragmatism and realism than either has yet shown.
Not all Islamist political parties are to be feared, but an extremist strain called the Salafis have a warped vision of a new order in the Middle East, writes Robin Wright in The New York Times.
On August 10, the Treasury Department sanctioned Hizballah for supporting the Syrian government on the basis of Executive Order 13582. “This action highlights Hizballah’s activities within Syria and its integral role in the continued violence the Assad regime is inflicting on the Syrian population,” the Treasury Department said in its formal announcement.
The Saudi official from the Ministry of Interior’s “ideological security” department was relaxed and confident. The government had uprooted scores of secret al-Qaeda cells, rounded up 5,700 of its followers, and deafened Saudi society to its siren call to jihad to overthrow the ruling al-Saud royal family. For the kingdom, the threat from Islamic terrorists had become manageable. So, what is the main security concern of the Saudi government today? The answer came as something of a surprise: the return of 150,000 Saudis who have been sent abroad to study, nearly one half of whom are now in the United States.
Seven months after an Islamist became prime minister for the first time in Morocco’s history, it remains as nebulous here as in Tunisia and Egypt what the Islamists coming to power really portends. It is a conundrum that Islamist-wary Western capitals and independent analysts are all struggling to fathom.
Newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi travelled to Saudi Arabia on July 11. In this exclusive interview, Senior Scholar David Ottaway explains the significance of this trip...
The following are translated excerpts from Morsi’s acceptance speech in Arabic on June 24, 2012: In the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful. Thanks be to Allah, prayers and peace be upon the messenger of Allah… Egyptian people, you who today are rejoicing and celebrating the feast of democracy in Egypt, you who are standing in squares, in the Tahrir Square and in all the squares of Egypt, my beloved ones, my family and people, my brethren and my sons, who are looking forward to the future, you who want good, rebirth, development, stability, safety and security for our country of Egypt. My beloved ones, I address you thanks to God Almighty. We all thank God for reaching this historic moment, this moment which represents a landmark that has been written with the hands and wills of the Egyptians, their blood, tears and sacrifices, this moment, which we are all shaping with these sacrifices.
Who is Mohamed Morsi? Mohamed Morsi Issa el Ayat is a former chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and a long-time leader in the Muslim Brotherhood. He is a trained engineer educated at the University of Southern California...
Egypt’s long election season is not just about forming a new government. The real stakes in the 12-week vote for parliament and the two-stage presidential contest are defining a new order—the critical issue across the Middle East for years to come. The final combination of political forces will influence regional dynamics far beyond Egypt too...
In stark contrast to Islamist victories elsewhere, Algeria’s election on May 10 produced a “crushing defeat” of two moderate Islamist parties, reports David Ottaway in a new analysis from Algiers. The outcome defied public predictions by Islamist politicians that they would win at least a plurality of seats—and potentially even enough to lead a new government. Two secular parties aligned with the former government instead increased their dominance in the National People’s Assembly, winning 288 seats – or 62 percent of the vote. The moderate Islamists have instead been marginalized politically—a position that may undermine prospects of cooperation with the new government.