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Blog Buzz: New Islamic TV Expands Across Mideast

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.

Turkey’s Popularity Slips in Mideast

Nov 05, 2012
Turkey’s standing in the Arab world and Iran has dropped noticeably over the past year according to a new poll by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). In 2011, 78 percent of the 2,800 respondents had a positive view of Turkey. In 2012, it dropped to 69 percent. “Most of the participants think Turkey is the strongest political power in the region. They consider Saudi Arabia the strongest economic power and Iran the strongest military power,” said TESEV Foreign Policy Chairman Mensur Akgun at an Istanbul press conference.

Tunisia: Interview with Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi

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.

Morocco: Women on Goverment Successes and Failures

Nov 01, 2012
One year has passed since the Justice and Development Party (PJD), a moderate Islamist party, won 107 of 395 parliamentary seats in Morocco’s first free election. The PJD won 27 percent of the seats and the right to lead a coalition government with three secular parties. Moroccan women were asked the following question: What are the successes and failures of the Justice and Development Party-led government?

U.S. State Department Assists Arab Economies

Nov 01, 2012
On October 26, the Assistant Secretary for the U.S. State Department Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs pledged to “create more links between the new [Arab] democracies and American industry.” Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez briefed the 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference on successful economic development projects enacted since the Arab uprisings.

Obama, Romney Debate U.S. Policy in the Middle East

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.

Rand: U.S. Engagement with Muslim Brotherhood Youth

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.

Pew: U.S. Voter Pessimism on New Middle East

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.”

Women Grade President Morsi’s First 100 Days

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?

American Perceptions of US Embassy Attacks

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.

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