The al-Sisi regime has chosen a model of development based on the implementation of large, ambitious projects under military supervision. The projects, such as the broadening of the Suez Canal and the building of a new capital city, may fail economically, like many such projects did in the past. No matter the economic impact, al-Sisi’s approach is consolidating the political and economic position of the military and shifting the balance among the private sector, the old state sector controlled by the bureaucracy, and the military economy. The change will be long lasting.
The Regional Cold Wars in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East: Crucial Periods and Turning PointsMay 21, 2015
The Regional Cold Wars in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East systematically explores the crucial turning points in the Cold War on all of its diverse fronts and examines the mutual interconnections of events in diverse regional Cold War theaters.
Saudi Arabia has reacted to the attempt by Houthi Shi’ite rebels in Yemen to take over the entire country with Iranian backing by forming for the first time a pan-Arab Sunni military alliance against the Houthis. The Arab coalition has begun raining bombs down on Houthi positions across Yemen, and Saudi Arabia has amassed 150,000 troops along the Yemeni border. Now the Saudis and its Arab partners must decide whether and when to put “boots on the ground” in a belated attempt to stop the Houthi takeover.
The onset of the Algerian War of Independence in November 1954 was an important development in the international history of the Cold War. Coming as it did on the heels of the end of the First Indochinese War, the Algerian conflict further emboldened national liberation forces throughout the colonial and semi-colonial world, a region of increasing importance to policymakers in Washington and Moscow. Pierre Asselin introduces documents from the Algerian National Archives on socialist bloc support for Algerian National Liberation Front.
The election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the presidency brings Egypt one step closer to the full implementation of the transitional road map. The last step, the holding of parliamentary elections, is also on schedule. Yet Egypt is not getting closer to democracy. The lopsided result of the presidential elections, with 96.91 of the votes going to al-Sisi, is not a sign of healthy pluralism. The draft of the new parliamentary election law will further hamper pluralism and it will promote fragmentation by reserving about 70 percent of parliamentary seats for independent candidates.
Ottaway writes that three years after the beginning of the Arab uprisings, Tunisia and Egypt are moving in different directions. Tunisia is moving in a democratic direction because well-established political and civil society organizations counterbalance each other, forcing compromise. In Egypt, politics pitted the Muslim Brotherhood against the military and other state institution, inevitably leading to the triumph of the state. A new process of democratization is unlikely to start without other uprisings.
Track-Two Diplomacy toward an Israeli-Palestinian Solution, 1978–2014 is an important insider account of a crucial set of negotiations aimed at settling a seemingly endless conflict.
The Egyptian referendum was not about the content of the constitution, but about the popularity of the military. Thus, it is not the first step toward democracy in Egypt. The United States has nothing to gain by embracing this regime. It should not condemn it, preach to it, or try to change it, because it would not work. But it should not go to the opposite extreme of praising it for leading the country to democracy. Rather, it should keep its neutrality and its distance.
One year ago, Egypt was marred by a democratically-elected, autocratic, theocratic president and a deeply flawed constitution. Looking back at the past six months, the fact that Egypt was given a second lease on life and a chance to rewrite the constitution seems like a fairy tale. Is our new constitution a dream constitution? More importantly, could it be a dream that will not come true?
The draft of the Egyptian constitution, which will shortly be submitted to a referendum, is largely an aspirational document painting a picture of Egypt as a modern, progressive welfare state—an unattainable goal for the bankrupt country. But the constitution also provides an accurate map of power distribution in the country.