Middle East and North Africa Publications
Despite a spiraling crisis in Ukraine and discontent in Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Iranian nuclear talks have hit their stride. At a meeting in March in Vienna, Iran and six major powers talked through the nitty-gritty of intractable issues, even if both sides made clear that it was too early to expect any breakthroughs.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2014, the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center invited a cross-section of women activists, politicians, academics, and entrepreneurs to give us their views on the situation for women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This publication, “MENA Women: Opportunities and Obstacles in 2014” includes pieces from 44 women from 22 countries including Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, and other countries in the MENA region, plus the United States, Austria, Indonesia, and Sudan, who shared with us their concerns and hopes for women.
Iraqis are heading to the polls at the end of April. More important than the results of these elections are fundamental issues confronting the country such as the economy's utter reliance on oil, the prevalence of corruption in every sector, and the deepening sectarianism that is impacting political and economic decisions.
The Middle East Program and the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Wilson Center hosted a two-panel discussion on “MENA Women in the Reformist Process: A Retrospective,” the first of which focused on women’s political participation and the second focusing on economic reforms and social change.
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.
Iran marked the 35th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution on February 11. Shaul Bakhash, who witnessed the revolution first-hand, reflects on the revolution’s tumultuous birth and its legacy and how it differed from the still-born revolution in Egypt during the Arab Spring.
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.
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?