The POMED Wire

Turkish Parliament Rejects Corruption Charges Against Former Ministers

 Photo Credit: ABC

Earlier this week Turkey’s parliament voted against putting four ex-ministers from the ruling AKP party on trial for corruption. Despite 48 AKP members breaking rank and voting to put the former ministers on trial, the “outcome was expected as the ruling AK Party has a large majority in parliament and it closes one of the last avenues in the investigation after earlier court cases were already dropped.” The four men accused of corruption are former European Union Minister, Egemen Bagıs, former Interior Minister, Muammer Guler, former Economy Minister, Zafer Caglayan, and ex-Environment Minister, Erdogan Bayrakta. Transparency International commented that “(It) will only reinforce the growing global perception that corruption is a major problem in Turkey…”, while Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition party the Republican People’s Party, stated that “Parliament has been seriously overshadowed. We feel uncomfortable about this. Parliament could have removed this stain.”

Turkey also pushed to implement a new law tightening internet restrictions that would give ministers the power to restrict access to “any website deemed to threaten lives, public order or people’s rights and freedoms by committing a crime.” Communications Minister Lutfu Elvan said the proposal “was needed …

G.N.C. Withdraws from Peace Talks; Leon Calls for Peacekeepers

The General National Congress (GNC) announced they would not be participating in the U.N.-sponsored peace talks, accusing ”troops allied to the opposing government of storming a central bank branch in the eastern city of Benghazi and other acts of violence,” allegedly led by General Khalifa Haftar. Despite the G.N.C.’s withdrawal, the U.N. commented that Libya peace talks could possibly resume next week in Geneva, though there has been no confirmation of when or where the talks would take place.

Warning that Libya has the potential to become a second Syria, Bernardino Leon also made clear the need for U.N. peacekeepers in order to maintain the peace. Leon had already spoken with U.S., French, U.K., and other officials prior to the Geneva talks regarding peacekeepers, urging that all sides in the Libyan conflict would have to approve of having monitors in Libya. Earlier this month, Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, called for sending peacekeepers as “Libya can’t be left in the condition it is now.” Jason Pack argues that by stifling the influx of cash and arms to Libya, the West could make clear that ”it will only recognize a Libyan government committed to a transition to constitutional …

Saudi’s King Abdallah Dies, Salman Takes Over

Photo Credit : REUTERS/Lintao Zhang

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah passed away at age 90, after weeks of being hospitalized with pneumonia. Officially taking the throne in 2005, King Abdullah had been indirectly running Saudi affairs following the stroke of his half-brother King Fahd in 1996. Salman, who is currently 79 years old, formerly governed Riyadh until he was appointed the Kingdom’s Defense Minister. In a televised speech, King Salman said, “We will continue to hold on to the strong path on which Saudi Arabia has walked on since King Abdulaziz.” Salman’s health leaves speculators concerned over the length of his rule, as he has suffered a stroke in the past, and there are rumors that he suffers from dementia, which the palace has denied.

In response to King Abdullah’s death, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his condolences, calling him “a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace.” President Obama also offered his condolences on the King’s death, stating, “As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship. The closeness and strength of the partnership between …

POMED Notes: New Challenges for Islamist Movements

On Thursday, January 22, 2015, the Project on Middle East Political Science at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs hosted a panel titled, “New Challenges for Islamist Movements.”  The panel consisted of Quinn Mecham of Brigham Young University; Raphaël Lefèvre of Cambridge University; Khalil al-Anani of Johns Hopkins University; and Monica Marks of Oxford University. Marc Lynch, Director of POMEPS and Professor at George Washington University, moderated. The panel discussed the organizational challenges that Islamist movements across the Middle East and North Africa are currently facing and how Islamists, from new youth members to senior leadership, are responding.

For the full notes, continue reading or click here for the PDF.

Quinn Mecham began the panel by naming four issues universally affecting Islamist movements: the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and beyond, the failure of existing nation states and the subsequent rise of the Islamic State (IS), the involvement of Islamism in sectarian proxy wars, and the question of how to sustain Islamist movements in a rapidly changing global environment. Mecham focused on the political efficacy of IS in terms of building a functional nation state, contending that while IS is not a state by any …

Yemeni President Attempts to Resign Amid Turmoil

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Prime Minister Minister Khaled Mahfoudh Bahah, and their entire Cabinet resigned on Thursday, citing “his disappointment at the difficult circumstances and challenges surrounding what is going on from the conflict with the Houthis.” Following the resignation of the President, the speaker of Parliament, Yahya al-Raye, is constitutionally obligated to create an interim government.hadi Hadi adviser Sultan al-Atwani explained that the President had resigned after pressure and threats from the Houthis, and that parliament will convene on Friday to determine whether or not to accept the President’s resignation.

The resignations followed a reconciliation meeting between rival factions in the government and other political parties that was mediated by the United Nations special envoy Jamal Benomar.  Speculation as to whether or not Speaker Raye has actually assumed this role is still unclear, as there are rumors that parliament won’t accept the President’s resignation.

The news comes a day after the State Department said that Hadi “remains the legitimate leader of the country”. Prior to the announcement of Hadi’s resignation, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, released a statement yesterday, voicing concern that “Yemen is becoming the …

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