TRIPOLI (Reuters) - At a pre-wedding evening party in central Tripoli, a group of Libyan women sing traditional songs to the beat of a drum as they prepare to apply henna to the bride's hands and feet.
Ousted, survived, killed, ousted, survived, resigned. These are the fates of six Arab strongmen who were first confronted with popular uprisings against their rule last spring. Zine Ben Ali of Tunisia (ousted), Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein of Jordan (survived), Moammar Gadhafi of Libya (killed), Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (ousted), Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain (survived) and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen (resigned). Saleh's recent resignation completed a quartet of Arab Spring casualties.
The last decade has been marked by the rise of the Shiites in the Middle East. Through the bullet and the ballot box, Shiite parties have risen to power from Baghdad to Beirut -- thereby extending Iran's reach into the heart of the Arab world. Sunni rulers have viewed with much anxiety the new "Shiite crescent" that extends from Iran all the way to Lebanon.
Revolutions have overthrown post-colonial regimes throughout the Middle East and north Africa, but the region is still in a delicate phase of transition. Rivalry between Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey could destabilize the region further, with dire consequences.
The leaders of the two biggest Palestinian parties met in Cairo on Thanksgiving, and just going by the headlines afterward, you'd have thought nothing had happened. "Palestinians talk unity, no sign of progress," said Reuters.
While there is no reason to panic, concern about the rise of Islamists in post-dictatorship Arab societies is warranted, especially as the rights of women are particularly and immediately open to attack.
One-year on, the Arab revolutions continue to circle around the issue of whether Islam is compatible with democracy. This article asks the long-feared question: Is the Arab Spring, articulated in the democratic idiom of freedom, liberty and justice, doomed to a takeover by the Islamists?
If the Arab Spring was seeded by a liberal insurrection, the Arab Fall has brought a rich harvest for Political Islam. In election after election, parties that embrace various shades of Islamist ideology have spanked liberal rivals. In Tunisia, the first country to hold elections after toppling a long-standing dictator, the Ennahda party won a plurality in the Oct. 23 vote for an assembly that will write a new constitution.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - As Islamist groups emerge triumphant in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan seems decided to act as their...
Bahrain needs to set about the hard work of healing societal cleavages, to build the truly sovereign and democratic country which the majority of its citizens appear so determined to achieve. If their much-touted ‘democracy promotion’ rhetoric is to have any real significance, western governments must help rather than hinder this process.
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