POMED Notes: Appropriations and Democracy in the Middle East
Yesterday afternoon, POMED and the Heinrich Böll Foundation released a new publication, The Federal Budget and Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2010: Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights in the Middle East, written by POMED’s Director of Advocacy Stephen McInerney. McInerney presented the report’s findings, launching a discussion with Thomas Melia of Freedom House and Marina Ottaway of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Andrew Albertson, Executive Director of POMED, moderated.
McInerney highlighted the report’s key conclusions, that the Obama administration’s first annual budget requests significant increases for overall foreign assistance to the Broader Middle East and North Africa, including large increases for democracy and governance assistance. These increases are especially focused in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, but the remaining countries and programs in the region also receive increased democracy and goverance funding, with the notable exceptions of Egypt and Jordan.
Tom Melia warned against drawing conclusions too broadly based on budget numbers alone, and he asked whether this budget can truly be seen to represent the approach of the new administration, which has yet to fill many key positions, including the administrator of USAID. Marina Ottaway questioned the effectiveness of spending large sums of money on democracy and goverance programs in the region if they are unaccompanied by diplomatic pressure and other policy support.
Click here for POMED’s notes on the event.