The Great Debate

Egypt: Elections do not make a democracy

By Bill Schneider
July 8, 2013

An election is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for democracy.  That’s the takeaway from the continuing upheaval in Egypt.

What just happened in Egypt?

By Shibley Telhami
July 4, 2013

It was not supposed to turn out this way: Only a year after Egyptians freely elected Mohamed Mursi as their president for a four-year term, he was removed by a military decree. This sets in motion a “road map” for a new transitional period leading to another experiment akin to the period following the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Assessing the resiliency of Hillary Clinton

January 14, 2013

As Hillary Rodham Clinton finished her last few weeks on the job, after a month of convalescence, how can we assess the secretary of state’s contributions?

A battleground for weapons of the future

By David Axe
November 30, 2012

More than a week after a U.S.-Egyptian brokered ceasefire brought a fragile peace to Gaza, military analysts are busily assessing the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Their goal: Apply lessons from the eight-day battle to weaponry still in development.

Mideast’s dynamic opportunity for peace

By Robin Wright
November 21, 2012

The Arab world may be in turmoil, but its leaders actually need an enduring peace—now in Gaza and long-term with Israel—because regimes across the region are vulnerable as never before.

Romney’s big chance with Jewish voters

By Keith Koffler
October 22, 2012

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the Monday foreign policy debate, should play to the Jewish TV audience like he was the star of a Borscht Belt revue.

The key to understanding the ‘Arab Spring’

By Graeme Bannerman
October 11, 2012

The United States has been unable to develop a clear national policy about the Arab Spring largely because Washington does not fully understand what’s happening in the Middle East.

One year later: three lessons from the Arab Spring

By Stefan Wolff
November 25, 2011

By Stefan Wolff
The opinions expressed are his own.

When Mohamed Bouazizi, a jobless graduate in the provincial city of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia, about 200km southwest of the capital Tunis, set himself on fire on December 18, 2010 after police had confiscated a cart from which he was selling fruit and vegetables, few would have predicted that this event would spark the phenomenon we now refer to as the Arab Spring. Protests quickly escalated in Tunisia and within four weeks Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had to flee to Saudi Arabia having failed to stop the protests either by repression of promises of reform.

from David Rohde:

Complete Egypt’s revolution

By David Rohde
November 23, 2011

For decades, the Egyptian military has operated an economy within an economy in Egypt. With the tacit support of the United States, the armed forces own and operate a sprawling network of for-profit businesses. The military runs factories that manufacture televisions, bottled water and other consumer goods. Its companies obtain public land at discounted prices. And it pays no taxes and discloses little to civilian officials.

from David Rohde:

Trust Tunisia

By David Rohde
October 24, 2011

As the first elections of the post-Arab spring unfold over the next several weeks, you will be hearing the term “moderate Islamist” over and over again. Early results from elections in Tunisia suggest that the moderate Islamist Ennahda party is going to win the largest number of seats in a new assembly that will rewrite the constitution, choose a new interim government and set dates for parliamentary and presidential elections. Members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood who have also been described as moderate Islamists are expected to fare well in similar elections there in November. And Islamists play a growing role in Libya’s transitional council as well.