Isobel Coleman

Democracy in Development

Coleman maps the intersections between political reform, economic growth, and U.S. policy in the developing world.

Pervez Musharraf and Pakistan’s Economy

by Isobel Coleman Thursday, November 3, 2011

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at an interview in London in January 2011 (Stefan Wermuth/Courtesy Reuters).

What has Pervez Musharraf been doing since he resigned, in the face of impeachment, from Pakistan’s presidency in 2008? Well, he’s been busy living in self-exile in London, making the talk show rounds (check him out with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show in July), and building up a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League. Despite numerous legal issues dogging him at home, Musharraf vows to return to Pakistan next year to contest the presidency. Yesterday, he visited the Council on Foreign Relations for an on-the-record conversation with Jim Shinn, the co-author of a recent Rand monograph, Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer, that clearly lays out the possibilities and obstacles to a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. Read more »

Libya’s National Transitional Council

by Isobel Coleman Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Libya's newly elected Prime Minister Abdelrahim al-Keib shakes hands with National Transitional Council (NTC) Chairman Mustafa Abdel-Jalil at the end of a public vote in Tripoli, October 31, 2011 (Ismail Zetouni/Courtesy Reuters).

In an earlier blog, I wrote about Libya’s political and economic prospects in the wake of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s death. In that piece, I argued that Libya has strong economic prospects, buoyed by enormous foreign currency reserves, vast oil wealth, and a relatively small population of 6.5 million people. However, its political challenges are formidable, including deep tensions between secularists and Islamists, tribal divisions and armed militias that could prove difficult to integrate into a national force. In the last week, there have been a number of troubling political developments. The gruesome details of Qaddafi’s death and the apparent execution of scores of pro-regime supporters in Surt, in particular, are of deep concern because they demonstrate a lack of effective oversight by the National Transitional Council (NTC). Widespread revenge killings of regime supporters would forecast a grim and bloody post-Qaddafi era. The immediate challenges for the newly elected prime minister, Abdelrahim al-Keib, are to unify local militias under the NTC’s command, disarm fighters, rebuild destroyed infrastructure, and get Libya’s economy running. Al-Keib, an academic who has lived in the United States for ten years, has 8 months to set up an interim government, write a constitution, and hold elections – a tall order indeed. Read more »