Isobel Coleman

Democracy in Development

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

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Showing posts for "Middle East and North Africa"

Egypt: Another Step Backward on Civil Society

by Isobel Coleman
Egyptian soldiers stand guard near Rabaa al-Adawiya square during a protest by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo, Egypt, October 4, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh). Egyptian soldiers stand guard near Rabaa al-Adawiya square during a protest by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo, Egypt, October 4, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh).

Last month, Egypt’s interim ministry of justice proposed a law that would severely restrict Egyptians’ right to protest and assemble. If signed into law, the drafted legislation would give authorities the ability to cancel and violently crackdown on demonstrations without clear reason or warning. Read more »

Quotas and Women in Egyptian Politics

by Isobel Coleman
Women search for their names outside a polling station in Cairo May 24, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Suhaib Salem). Women search for their names outside a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, May 24, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Suhaib Salem).

Earlier this week, Egypt’s Constituent Assembly, charged with amending the country’s constitution, announced that 25 percent of municipal seats will be reserved for women. There is no word yet on when municipal elections will be held, or if a similar quota will be established for parliament, but the move is a positive step toward improving the low political participation of women in the aftermath of Egypt’s revolution. Read more »

Guest Post: Ed Husain on How to Counter Islamic Extremism

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
The "Tribute in Lights" illuminates the sky over lower Manhattan on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2011 (Courtesy Reuters/Jim Young). The "Tribute in Lights" illuminates the sky over lower Manhattan on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2011 (Courtesy Reuters/Jim Young).

This guest post is written by my colleague, Ed Husain, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR. Here he discusses his latest Policy Innovation Memorandum, which lays out a plan for countering violent extremism.  Read more »

Washington Should Suspend Aid to Egypt

by Isobel Coleman
Riot police fire tear gas during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, Cairo, Egypt, August 14, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany). Riot police fire tear gas during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, Cairo, Egypt, August 14, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany).

The Egyptian military’s recent violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood makes clear that, despite their claims to the contrary, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his armed forces have no intention of supporting Egypt’s democratic process. It is time that Washington call the military’s actions what they are: a coup. Read more »

Upheaval in Egypt

by Isobel Coleman
Supporters of Egypt's deposed President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, July 4, 2013 (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters). Supporters of Egypt's deposed President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, July 4, 2013 (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters).

Yesterday, the Egyptian military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the constitution, following days of anti-government protests across the country. Morsi and his supporters have denounced the military’s actions, although protest leaders have celebrated the move as a step toward realizing the original goals of the 2011 revolution. In my article posted today on CNN.com, I analyze the events unfolding in Egypt and the intricate relationship between religion and politics that will play an important role in future of the country and the surrounding region. Read more »

Egypt’s Protests: Three Things to Know

by Isobel Coleman

Earlier today, the Egyptian Armed Forces showed their hand. Their leaked political roadmap proposes suspending the constitution, dissolving the parliament, and setting up an interim council. Opposition coalitions and Islamist groups have unveiled their own proposals as President Mohammed Morsi clings to power in spite of the military’s threat to intervene if he fails to resolve the political deadlock before Wednesday. As political leaders struggle to reach a resolution and the military’s 48-hour deadline looms,  protesters continue to riot across Egypt. Watch below for three things to know about the current upheaval. Read more »

Youth Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa

by Isobel Coleman
Graph by author. Data are from ILO's Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO's 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD's second quarter 2012 data. Graph by author. Data are from ILO's Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO's 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD's second quarter 2012 data.

As the graph above makes painfully clear, the Middle East and North Africa face significant challenges when it comes to youth unemployment. A World Economic Forum report from 2012 notes, “Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world…and largely a youth phenomenon.” Read more »

Rached Ghannouchi and Tunisia’s Transition

by Isobel Coleman
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, Tunisia's main Islamist political party, speaks during a demonstration in Tunis on February 16, 2013 (Anis Mili/Courtesy Reuters). Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Nahda movement, Tunisia's main Islamist political party, speaks during a demonstration in Tunis on February 16, 2013 (Anis Mili/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, my colleague Ed Husain and I hosted a meeting with Rached Ghannouchi—the cofounder and president of Tunisia’s Islamist Nahda party—at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. The audio is available here. Read more »

Women and Sports in Saudi Arabia

by Isobel Coleman
Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar (R) starts her women's 800m round 1 heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters). Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar (R) starts her women's 800m round 1 heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters).

Last summer, I wrote about two young women from Saudi Arabia, Wojdan Shaherkani and Sarah Attar, who were the first Saudi women ever to compete in the Olympics. They had to endure criticism from conservatives at home and lots of discussion about what they would wear to compete, but they served as a powerful symbol of a better future for Saudi women’s athletic participation. Read more »