Politics

Referendum victory a hollow one for Morsi

President Morsi must turn his attention from parliamentary politics to building a genuine consensus After a first round of voting in Egypt’s referendum on a new constitution, the ‘yes’ campaign is set for certain victory. Ten out of 27 governorates have voted, and the ‘yes’ vote is in the clear with 57 per cent, according [...]

Bahrain's unreported oppression

Bahrain’s unreported oppression continues – with a little help from the West

The Frontline Club – 24 August 2012 At an event hosted by the Frontline Club, an expert panel of speakers shed light on the ongoing oppression of political opposition in Bahrain, one of the most under-reported aspects of the Arab Spring, and the government’s systematic use of Western public relations companies to manage the regime’s [...]

Algiers’ smoke screen of reform

Against the backdrop of popular unrest in the region, Algiers promised political change. Yet, despite concessions, the regime is maintaining its grip on power Ever since January 2011, when Algerians took to the streets to protest their economic plight and demonstrate their political frustration alongside their neighbours in Tunisia and Egypt, the government has promised [...]


Muslim Brotherhood’s rise sparks paranoia in the GCC

Gulf states wary about the group’s recent political successes in North Africa Speaking at a Ramadan event in late July, Dubai’s police chief, Dahi Khalfan Tamim, issued a dramatic warning against any attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow the Gulf monarchies. The movement, he claimed, had “met people from the Gulf” to discuss “toppling [...]

Lindsey Hilsum at the Frontline Club, 26 April 2012

Writing Libya’s revolution

Speaking to a packed Frontline Club on 26th April, Channel 4 News’ international editor Lindsey Hilsum shared a fascinating personal insight into the revolution in Libya last year that overthrew the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power. In Hilsum’s words, Libya was the “only true revolution of last year – where the [...]

The political crisis in Egypt is threatening the transition to a new democratic regime

Political crisis threatens transition in Egypt

6 April 2012 Egypt is enduring one of its most politically fragile periods since Hosni Mubarak was forced from office A little more than 12 months after President Hosni Mubarak was removed from office, Egypt is teetering on the brink of a political and economic crisis. Plans to draw up a new constitution are in [...]


The elections in October 2011 are the greatest achievement of Tunisia's new government, according to Merhezia Lebidi Maiza, Ennahda member and deputy speaker of Tunisia's constituent national assembly, speaking at Chatham House on 21 March 2012

Tunisia divided on new political regime

21 March, 2012 Yesterday Tunisia celebrated the 56th anniversary of its independence from French colonial rule. But a little over a year since the ouster of president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power, it is no longer freedom from imperialism that defines the politics of this small North African nation. The key [...]

Israel continues to champion pre-emptive attack on Iran

A pre-emptive strike against Iran would be justifiable in the case of an imminent threat of attack, according to a senior Israeli diplomat speaking in London on 16 March. “Iran represents an existential threat to the state of Israel and we will not compromise on our national security,” said Ran Gidor, minister-counsellor for political affairs [...]

Why the two-state solution is not dead – yet

Speaking at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies on 14th March, Gershon Baskin argued that the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is just waiting to be implemented. But fundamental problems with the peace process itself mean that hopes are still at a low ebb. It is easy to understand why people may have given [...]


A voter in John Garang memorial park, Juba on the first day of the referendum on independence for South Sudan

Six months after South Sudan gained independence, the same challenges remain

On 9th January, South Sudan will celebrate six months of independence form the north. But the problems faced by the new country are still mounting In early 2011 I devoted two months to covering the referendum on the independence of South Sudan from the north and the government’s efforts to set up the apparatus for [...]

Options limited against Al-Assad

Despite the international outcry against the Syrian regime, the lack of a clear course of effective action means Bashar al-Assad is likely to battle out the challenges to his leadership in the short term Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is cutting an increasingly isolated figure. International demands for an end to armed attacks on protesters that [...]

New Libya still a distant dream

The Gaddafi regime may have fallen, but it will take time to restore order and stability With pockets of fierce fighting continuing in Tripoli and elsewhere, and former leader Muammar Gaddafi still at large, Libya’s new dawn must be viewed with caution. But one thing is clear, the 41-year era of Gaddafi and his idiosyncratic [...]


Political uncertainty drags on in Egypt

The slow progress of political reform continues to frustrate people that are desperate for change The beginning of the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak on 3 August marked another step towards the consignment of Egypt’s old political order to the history books. But when it comes to the replacement of the old regime with [...]

Old tensions fail to disappear in Sudan

As Sudan splits, the issues that caused the bloody civil war will not be easily consigned to history If anybody thought that the success of the January referendum on the secession of South Sudan from the north meant that the hard work was over, recent events will have forced them to reassess. The backdrop to [...]

Morocco’s quiet revolution

The North African nation becomes first in the region to agree a programme for constitutional reform Compared with the political turmoil that has engulfed much of the Middle East and North Africa in recent months, Morocco’s revolution has been a quiet one. Protesters have taken to the streets in many of the kingdom’s major cities, [...]


Turkey’s leaders consolidate backing

Under its ruling party, Turkey has enjoyed unprecedented political stability and economic growth. But unrest in Syria will test the government’s foreign policies The third consecutive victory of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the parliamentary elections on 12 June this year was no surprise. Since coming to power in 2002, the moderate [...]

Turkey is turning towards the East

A lack of progress on accession to the EU in recent years has seen Ankara increasingly emphasise its ties with its Muslim neighbours As one of the few countries in the world that can claim to span two continents, the question of whether Turkey’s identity lies with Europe or with the Middle East has become [...]

Sudan prepares for split

Co-operation between the North and the South will be key to economic development. But disputes over oil resources and debt will hamper progress Forty years of civil war in the past half century have meant Sudan has rarely enjoyed the political stability that is vital for economic development. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in [...]


The scramble for the South

A spate of secret and exploitative land deals may cause instability and more economic hardship in the new state Almost 10% of the land in South Sudan, due to win its formal independence on 9 July, has been sold or leased to foreign and local companies, according to a new report. Foreign investors have signed [...]

Crucial months ahead in Tunisia

Tunisia’s reform movement has achieved a great deal in recent weeks, but a smooth and swift transition to democracy cannot be taken for granted In the two months since the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January, Tunisia has seen a dramatic series of reforms that have changed the face of society. [...]

Algeria is no stranger to uprisings

Although the protests of recent weeks fall short of a revolution, dissatisfaction is mounting in Algeria and will not abate without concrete solutions As regimes have collapsed around it in recent weeks, to say that Algeria has been an island of tranquillity would be an exaggeration. The food riots that broke out across North Africa [...]


Juba, South Sudan, on the first day of voting for the referendum on independence

South Sudan referendum

Millions of South Sudanese voted in an independence referendum, which could cut Africa’s biggest country in two MEED – 28 January 2011 In John Garang memorial park in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, the mood is one of celebration. A group of drummers beat out a rhythm on tall African drums, while locals dance [...]