Showing posts with label Democracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democracy. Show all posts

May 25, 2016

#IslamicSocietiesReview : The end of political Islam starts in Tunisia

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016   No comments
#IslamicSocietiesReview Comment:  
Adjusting to domestic, regional, and international challenges, Ennahda, the leading Islamist movement in North Africa, charted a new path that embraces pluralism and co-existence. Recalling that the rise of political Islam was necessitated by tyranny and oppression, Ennahda, now, embraces politics and honors Islam, but not mix them. Its leadership has chosen to distinguish between the ethical/theological and the political. In doing so, Ennahda has all but repudiated the actions taken by the Muslim Brotherhood which wanted to dominate the political and social life in Egypt. Realizing the enormity of the transition, Ennahda opted to re-elect its founder, Rached al-Ghannouchi, president one more time. Should he manage to keep the movement united and prevent it from bleeding members to militant Salafi groups, Ennahda would be a model for Arab countries' religious movements.
Underscoring these challenges, Ghannounchi delivered a key address to the movements' members; below is the original speech and a translation.

May 10, 2016

Context and consequences of the resignation of the architect of Turkey's zero-problem foreign policy

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016   No comments

By Rahmat Hajimineh*

A recent decision by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, which was announced on May 5, to resign his post, can be considered as the outcome of a power struggle in Turkey’s political structure a review of which will not only be important in terms of typology of politicians’ behaviors, but also from the viewpoint of its consequences.

The first thing that seems to be important following Davutoglu’s resignation is the meaning and type of his resignation in political literature of Turkey. The development has been described as the “palace coup” by those opposed to the ruling Justice and Development Party and outspoken critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including the leader of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu. This term is used to denote that Davutoglu has been actually deposed from power by Erdogan.

June 8, 2014

Why have many Syrians voted for Bashar al-Assad and what is the U.S. administration’s alternative to elections it does not particularly like?

    Sunday, June 08, 2014   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
Syrians vote, June 3, 2014.

Most Western governments and some observers argue that the elections that took place in Syria on June 3, 2014 were not legitimate because not all Syrians were able (or willing) to participate, they were held under war conditions, and Syrians were coerced into voting for the current president. These would be reasonable arguments if they were consistently applied. A brief examination of similar cases and relevant facts reveals that this is not the case.

April 13, 2014

Is Ukraine becoming for the West what Syria has been for Russia?

    Sunday, April 13, 2014   No comments





Riding the wave of protests known as the Arab Spring, many Syrians rallied to demand more political and civil rights. Without the hesitancy that characterized their initial reaction to the protest movements in Tunisia and Egypt, Western administrations and some of the Persian Gulf regimes immediately threw their support behind the protesters. Assad’s regime belonged to the so-called non-moderate Arab governments and the protesters offered the West and its allies an opportunity to overthrow it. They formed the “Friends of Syria” group, now consisting of only eleven nations, to provide the opposition with all needed support, including deadly arms, to achieve that goal. After three years of brutal war, Syria’s economy and society are severely damaged and its allies, mainly Russia, China, and Iran have invested a huge political, economic, and military capital to help the Syrian government survive. The Friends of Syria claimed that Assad became illegitimate because he killed Syrians. Assad claimed that he was fighting armed terrorists and thugs.

Now fast-forward to 2013. 

November 25, 2012

Analysis: Recognizing the new Syrian National Coalition alone will not end the war in Syria

    Sunday, November 25, 2012   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

Those who doubt Lakhdar Brahimi’s assessment of the crisis in Syria ought to rethink their position. His ostensibly naïve initiative for a ceasefire over the Eid holidays might have been a brilliant maneuver that ended the existence of the Syrian National Council, the previously prominent face of the Syrian opposition. Before proposing an ambitious plan of six or one hundred points like his predecessor, Brahimi wanted to make sure that there are reliable representatives of both sides who can exert influence and control over their subordinates. After visiting Russia and China, he proposed, from Tehran, that both the opposition forces and the government stop fighting for four days.

Apparently, he wanted to test the influence of the Syrian regime backers and the political leaders of the opposition (Syrian National Council, or SNC) who accepted the ceasefire. Even the military leaders of the FSA accepted the Eid ceasefire. He was aware that for the ceasefire to hold, the opposition groups must stop fighting. It is one thing to claim control over armed groups by simply supporting their actions, but it is a different level of credible control to actually order these groups to stop fighting and see compliance on the ground. Brahimi wanted actual proof of command and control over armed groups in the form of four days of quiet.

The result was embarrassing for the so-called opposition leaders. During the four-day holidays, more car bombs exploded in crowded cities and more attacks on military checkpoints. Worse, some of the FSA groups used the quiet time to attack Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo and other Kurdish majority areas to bring more territory under their control. Deadly fights erupted between FSA fighters and Kurdish neighborhood protection militias, forcing the FSA groups to retreat.

May 19, 2012

Will American voters re-elect President Obama?

    Saturday, May 19, 2012   No comments
Or can Mitt Romney offer them a viable alternative? But an alternative to what and why?

As it is generally the case, extraordinary circumstances must be present for an incumbent president to lose re-elections. The last time this happened, President Bush (41st) was fired because of the economy. Bill Clinton rode the spiffy slogan, “It is the economy stupid,” to underscore the need for change.

This election cycle, and by selecting Mitt Romney as their candidate, Republicans seem to use the Clinton strategy against Obama. But how good or bad is the economy in comparison to early 1990's?

The answer may not be relevant or important because Obama could rightly remind Americans that the poor economic conditions did not start under his watch. Also, he could point out that, unlike George W. H. Bush, he did not start the wars that taxed the economy either. His son, a Republican, did. But all these issues could be mooted if the economy were to improve between now and November. In which case, the Republican candidate could fall back on social causes, foreign policy, and defense issues.

While social causes that touch on civil rights and religion are motivating forces for conservative voters Mitt Romney is not seen as a stronger defender of those values. Foreign and defense issues too cannot be used to attack Obama this time for a number of reasons.

First, Romney, in comparison to Obama, does not have the experience or the record that will allow him to challenge Obama’s. Romney’s policy is merely a concept when compared to Obama’s practical steps taken since taking over in 2008.

Second, Obama, despite his promises to end Bush’s policies and practices, he actually continued on the same path. He failed to close Guantanamo, he pursued Bush’s road map for Iraq, he escalated in Afghanistan, he killed the top terrorist, he authorized more drone assassinations than his predecessor, and he took part in the Libya war without putting troops on the ground or committing American resources. This record is a problem for the left but it is hardly "attack-able" by the right given the policies and practices of the previous administration.

In terms of foreign policy, Republicans might attack Obama’s Middle East record. But even that can be easily undermined by simply qualifying it. For instance, Republicans are using the slick slogan “Stand with Israel” to suggest that Obama is not. That slogan too can be taken apart given Obama’s stance in support of Israel even when other western and European countries were prepared to abandon it. For example, Obama defeated Abbas’ efforts to secure UN recognition. He pressured Turkey and Egypt to keep peace with Israel despite the extraordinary changes taking place there. And he aborted or vetoed UNSC resolutions condemning Israeli for issues related to illegal settlements and Gaza War. Republicans could be more accurate and change their slogan into “Stand with Natanyahu.” But that is like asking a liberal politician to love a conservative one, neither party does it and it will be disingenuous to ask Obama to be the first. Natanyahu is simply too conservative, not only for Obama, but for many Israelis and American Jews too.


So comes November, voters will have the option of firing a president whose, economic,  defense, and foreign policies were center-left if not outright conservative practices masked by his liberal credentials or hire Romney who would fire everyone and attempt to turn around an economy that is already turning around. Romney, as fiscal conservative,  would privatize social security and healthcare, outsource the postal service to UPS and FedEx, and bid out  natural resources and infrastructure. 

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