Islamists are Coming
President Barack Obama outlined his past and future policies toward the Middle East in his September 24 U.N. General Assembly speech. He committed to ensuring the free flow of oil from the region to world markets, dismantling terrorist networks, and stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He also promised that the United States would “continue to promote democracy, human rights, and open markets” to achieve peace and prosperity in the Middle East.
A majority of both Libyan men and women prefer Islamic law to be adopted as a main source of governance rather than the sole source, according to a new survey by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Some 54 percent of women think Sharia law would improve women’s rights, compared with 68 percent of men.
More than two years after the Jasmine Revolution, nearly three quarters of Tunisians are dissatisfied with how democracy is working, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Tunisians are especially critical of their political leaders. Both secular and Islamist political parties also suffered declines in popularity.
Concern about Islamic extremism is rising among many of the world’s Muslims, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. In five of the 11 surveyed countries — Indonesia, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey — worries about extremism have increased since 2012.
The political map of Egypt is slowly changing. As events continue to unfold following the June 30 and then the July 3 coup, there are emerging new realities that may have an impact on the future of the country for years to come.
Dalia Ziada is an award-winning human rights activist and the executive director of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo, Egypt. She analyzed the ouster of the Islamists in the following interview.
In stark contrast to the euphoria after elections two years ago, Islamist political parties across the Middle East now face escalating challenges to their rule. The main drama is playing out in Egypt between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood. But Islamist parties in Tunisia, Libya are also under pressure from emboldened opposition movements.
Hamas and Hezbollah have had a dramatic break-up after the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011. Part of the break-up is due to sectarian differences; another part is due to rival regional alliances. For the wider Middle East, the Hamas-Hezbollah split is a dangerous microcosm of a growing trend.
Tunisians' confidence in their Islamist-led government evaporated in the last year, dropping to 32 percent in May 2013 from 56 percent in March 2012.Citizens' trust in their government showed signs of major erosion in late 2012 and has not recovered.
On August 7, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and E.U. High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton urged Egypt's government and opposition parties to begin a process of "genuine reconciliation" and to quickly prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections.