Political Reform Movements

  • Mohamed ElBaradei when he was the International Atomic Energy Agency chief, who is now serving as vice president for foreign relations

    Commentary

    Egyptian Liberals, Please Stand Up

    While Egypt really is in trouble, what is needed is not a U.S. signal in the form of an aid cut off or another European mediation effort, it is for Egyptian liberals to stand up and condition their participation in government on genuine national reconciliation.

    Aug 1, 2013

  • a demonstration in downtown Tunis, January 20, 2011

    Report

    Building Democracy on the Ashes of Authoritarianism in the Arab World

    In April, RAND and the International Strategic Research Organization convened a workshop in Istanbul, where policymakers, opinion leaders, and experts from Arab regions explored practical measures countries can adopt to build enduring democratic institutions and practices.

    Jul 29, 2013

  • Egyptian men talking in Idfo, Aswan, EG, January 2013

    Commentary

    The Enduring Mirage of the Arab Spring

    U.S. policy should not be hamstrung by a narrow focus on democratization, writes Seth G. Jones. More than ever, the United States and its allies should think first about protecting their vital strategic interests in Egypt and the region.

    Jul 22, 2013

  • Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan speaking at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia in Istanbul, June 2012

    Commentary

    The Biggest Loser of Cairo's Coup: Turkey

    The military coup deposing Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, has sparked an important shift in the regional balance of power in the Middle East. Morsi's ouster deals a strong blow to the Turkey-Qatar-Egypt “pro-change” axis and to Turkey's hopes of playing a larger role in the region.

    Jul 19, 2013

  • Egyptian policemen on guard by the entrance to the Ayyubid 13th century Madrasa of al-Salih Ayyub in Cairo, Egypt

    Blog

    In Egypt, Polarization Stands in the Way of Stability

    The establishment of a stable government in Egypt is an elusive goal that depends on finding ways to reduce seemingly intractable levels of political polarization, says Jeffrey Martini. There is little cause for optimism that polarization will diminish any time soon.

    Jul 18, 2013

  • Egyptian police stand talking to each other, the visors on their riot helmets raised.

    Commentary

    Halting Aid to Egypt Over Military 'Coup' Would Hurt US Interests

    Critics advocate for acknowledging that what occurred in Egypt is a coup and shutting off the more than $1.5 billion that Egypt receives annually from the US government. But this position fails to appreciate the limits of the leverage Washington derives from its aid to Cairo and the potential consequences of halting it.

    Jul 11, 2013

  • stack of Egyptian election ballots

    Report

    Arab Spring Revolutions Have Not Yet Created Democracies, but Democratization Is Possible

    The Arab world is the one region that has been left out of the global trend toward greater embrace of democracy, but a successful shift from authoritarian regimes to democratic governments is possible there.

    Jul 9, 2013

  • Report

    Democratization in the Arab World: A Summary of Lessons from Around the Globe

    This report is an updated version of the summary section of Democratization in the Arab World: Prospects and Lessons from Around the Globe. It is largely the same as the summary published in 2012, but has been modified somewhat to reflect recent events.

    Jul 9, 2013

  • Crowd going to Tahrir square to join the June 30 protests against the Muslim brotherhood and President Morsi

    Commentary

    The Egyptian Military's Playbook

    The Egyptian military, still bruised from its last stint in power, is likely to proceed with caution this time around. If it does intervene, it will likely seek some acquiescence from the Islamists and will want to quickly form an inclusive caretaker government.

    Jul 2, 2013

  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009

    Commentary

    Erdoğan's Next Steps

    Safeguarding Turkey's interests — and Erdoğan's own political agenda — depends on Erdoğan's willingness to adopt a more even-handed approach to his domestic opponents, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Jun 28, 2013

  • Egyptians protesting in Tahrir Square in March 2013

    Commentary

    Egypt's Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

    Rebel, or Tamarud, is a petition drive aimed at ousting President Morsi by collecting more signatures calling for his resignation than the number of votes he received in the 2012 elections. On June 30, the organizers will take to the streets in a rally that is likely to touch off clashes with security forces and Morsi's supporters.

    Jun 28, 2013

  • anti-Morsi protest in downtown Cairo

    Blog

    Luxor Governor's Resignation Highlights Growing Divide in Egypt

    The governor of the Egyptian city of Luxor, Mohamed El-Khayat, resigned amid protests last week, just days after being appointed to the post by President Mohamed Morsi. His selection was controversial due to his affiliation with an Islamist terror group that in 1997 killed 62 people in Luxor, many of them tourists.

    Jun 25, 2013

  • Hassan Rouhani's supporters, Valiasr street

    Commentary

    Rouhani: Rival Constituencies

    Rouhani may improve the economy in pursuing his underlying goal to preserve the Islamic system, writes Alireza Nader. But not all Iranians would be satisfied with just economic improvements. Many want greater freedom of expression and a bigger say in the political system.

    Jun 24, 2013

  • People voting in 2013 Iran's election

    Testimony

    Rouhani's Election: Regime Retrenchment in the Face of Pressure

    Iran's foreign policy may be ultimately controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and it will not change dramatically. But newly elected president Hassan Rouhani will nevertheless have an opportunity to reshape Iran's position on the nuclear program, as he will appoint Iran's nuclear negotiator and other key figures.

    Jun 18, 2013

  • a couple salsa dancing

    Commentary

    Putting the Spring in the Arab Spring

    Qatar has a salsa scene. Dubai hosted the big international Fujairah Latin Festival. The Oman Salsa Festival took place in March. Jordan and Cairo both have a salsa scene. What makes this so conversation-worthy is that it is indicative of a growing cultural openness in parts of the Middle East.

    Jun 17, 2013

  • Protestors clash with Turkish riot policemen on the way to Taksim Square in Istanbul on June 5, 2013

    Commentary

    Turkey's Perfect Storm

    The spontaneous protests in Turkey, which began in Istanbul and have spread to over 70 Turkish cities, have raised serious questions about Turkey's political stability and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Jun 14, 2013

  • Europeans with 'No Arms for Assad' signs

    Commentary

    Europe Keeps Its Options Open in Syria

    France and Britain say they are not planning any arms shipments at this time. The decision thus seems unlikely to have a significant impact on the ground in the near term, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    May 30, 2013

  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) and First Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei attend a ceremony in Tehran July 22, 2009

    Commentary

    Will Iran's Real Reformists Please Stand Up?

    Neither Ahmadinejad nor Mashaei will be the political “messiahs” many religious and secular Iranians long for, writes Alireza Nader. Much like Khatami and the reformists, figures like Ahmadinejad are willing to challenge the system only to a limited degree.

    May 15, 2013

  • An Iranian worker builds a wall in Aradan, east of Tehran, March 12, 2008

    Commentary

    Labor and Opposition in Iran

    The economic pains caused by the Iranian regime's mismanagement, corruption, and international sanctions have dealt serious blows to worker wages, benefits, and job security — enough reason for Iranian laborers to organize and oppose the regime.

    Apr 22, 2013

  • Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans in front of the courthouse and Office of the Attorney General, near Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 22, 2013

    Blog

    In Brief: Jeffrey Martini on Mapping Egyptian Politics

    In this video, RAND Middle East analyst Jeffrey Martini discusses what past electoral performance and the current political context say about the Islamists' strength in Egypt and what it means for the United States.

    Apr 8, 2013