Middle East and North Africa Publications
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.
Following the interim P5+1 deal with Iran, the world has never been this close to resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. There is no doubt that a de-escalation in Western relations with Tehran will help usher in a more cooperative and less threatening Iran whose domestic political dynamics would positively influence the region as a whole.
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?
Written by Yaacov Ro'i
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.
Iraq’s Kurdistan has signed multiple energy agreements with neighboring Turkey and is about to become an independent oil and gas exporter in defiance of Baghdad and Washington. This will provide Kurdistan, already an autonomous region within Iraq, with the financial and economic basis for its possible eventual independence. Turkey strongly opposes this and even limited autonomy for its own Kurds but has succumbed to its voracious appetite for new energy sources.
The Rouhani government, barely 100 days old, has delivered what no other Iranian government had achieved since the initiation of Iran’s nuclear program: a deal between the United States and Iran.
This publication is the outcome of the July 10, 2013 conference of the same name co-sponsored by the Middle East Program, Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, Environmental Change and Security Program, and Global Health Initiative. Women leaders and activists from the Middle East write about the current women’s rights situation on the ground in the region and what strategies can be employed to use international human rights norms to secure their rights going forward.
Michael Adler has been covering the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program. The confrontation over Iran’s nuclear work contains contradictions that will be difficult to resolve, even with the better atmosphere brought in by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The mixture of Iran reining in its nuclear work and the United States and its allies letting go of sanctions requires sacrifices that neither side is yet willing to make.
A central principle of Putin’s foreign policy is reasserting Russia’s role as a great power on the global stage. Moscow has worked to restore and build ties to its former Cold War allies in the Middle East in pursuit of this goal.