Showing posts for "Middle East"
The median age of the Algerian population is 27 years, and 46 percent of the population is under the age of 24. But its president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is 76 years old, and is now set to take another five-year term that will have him in office at age 80. And Mr. Bouteflika is already suffering from poor health that has led him to spend months on end in France for medical treatment. Read more »
The goal of Secretary of State Kerry’s energetic diplomacy with the Israelis and Palestinians is the two-state solution, which means the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestine living at peace with its neighbor Israel.
Or is it? What’s missing in that sentence is the word “democratic.” Do we care? Once upon a time, the United States worked hard to give Yasser Arafat, a terrorist and thief, a state to rule. That policy was changed in the George W. Bush administration, when we began to care not only about the borders of the new Palestine but was within those borders. Bush said he would not support establishment of a Palestinian state if that state would just be another dictatorship, another kleptocracy, another home for terrorism. Read more »
Secretary of State Kerry continues to press forward in his negotiations with Israelis and Palestinians, seeking some sort of “framework” document that would be an acceptable basis for future negotiations. We’ve been here before: the “Roadmap” of 2003 was supposed to provide such a basis and was accepted–with reservations–by both sides. My guess is that Kerry will succeed, if success is defined as keeping both sides at the table. Read more »
It is a commonplace to say that U.S. policy in Egypt has managed to offend every political actor there, but it’s also true. From the army to the Muslim Brotherhood, from the liberals and democrats to Islamists, all share a deep disdain for American policy. Read more »
Two remarkable statements must be juxtaposed to understand how much trouble lies ahead in trying to get a nuclear deal with Iran. Thus far, the trouble has been over the temporary arrangements, meant to last six months and likely to be extended for another six. That deal was reached last year and an implementation agreement then took two more months to reach. The next task is to negotiate an arrangement that is comprehensive and permanent. How likely is that, and have we really thus far reached any agreement at all? Read more »
Egypt’s constitutional referendum this week should be no cause for celebration. It was not free and fair; the turnout did not suggest a consensus among Egyptians; and the future stability of Egypt is in doubt.
According to the Egyptian authorities, turnout was 38.6 percent, and 98.1 percent of those Egyptians who voted said yes. The 98 percent figure should give anyone pause. If it is accurate, it’s obvious that everyone opposed to the new constitution stayed away–hardly a reliable basis for political stability and consensus. That more than 60 percent of Egyptians did not vote, despite a huge campaign by the government, is not reassuring either. Read more »
President Obama has a full court press under way to stop Congress from passing new sanctions legislation that could–could, not will–impose sanctions on Iran one year from now if negotiations break down or Iran cheats. The idea seems to be that passage of the bill would signal mistrust of Iran, or would break the spell of sincerity being cast at the negotiating table. Read more »
Former prime minister of Israel Ariel Sharon was buried today.
In Commentary Magazine, I offered my thoughts about the passing of a man I worked with closely during his years as prime minister, and some of the words President Bush had planned to say when attending Sharon’s funeral–in 2006. We had all expected that Sharon’s stroke in January 2006 would lead quickly to his death, and President Bush intended to attend the funeral. Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.