Photo Credit: The New York Times
Talal al-Barazi, governor of the Syrian city of Homs, one of the last rebel controlled cities, declared today that despite being “an insurgent held-war zone,” the city is ripe for “relatively good elections.” Over 220,000 people from the province of Homs have fled to neighboring Lebanon since the start of Syria’s civil war. Additionally, Al Jazeera reported that, “Syrian army troops backed by pro-government militia members have entered rebel-held neighborhoods of Homs after laying siege to the districts for nearly two years.” Anne Barnard reported that al-Barazi’s optimism is being shared at the “highest levels in Damascus” where Syrian officials have declared that a presidential vote will be held within three months. The officials expect President Bashar al-Assad to win — even though, “for the first time in decades, there will in theory be an opponent on the ballot.” In Syria, the campaign for Assad’s second bid as president is already unofficially rolling in “a measure of Mr. Assad’s growing confidence that he is wrapping up the war.” Opponents of Assad say elections would be “absurd” amid a military crackdown that “has terrorized large segments of the country to suppress a movement for …
Photo Credit: American Task Force on Palestine
On Tuesday, April 15, the American Task Force on Palestine held a panel entitled, “The Status and Future of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Michele Dunne, Senior Associate in the Middle East Program at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, William McCants, Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and Hassan Mneimneh, Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the Middle East and North Africa at the German Marshall Fund were panelists. Hussein Ibish, Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine moderated the event.
For full event notes keep reading or click here for the PDF.
Hussein Ibish began the panel with introductory remarks. He presented his observations of the Muslim Brotherhood in various countries across the world, proposing that perhaps today the epicenter of the Brotherhood is in Egypt. He asked the panelists to begin by responding to his observations of the Brotherhood across the region and asked them what is going on with the movement. Is the Brotherhood shaping up differently in each country that it has a presence?
Mneimneh responded first by describing the Brotherhood as being both “humbled” and “encouraged” by the events of the Arab …
Photo Credit: Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission conducted a hearing entitled, “World Bank Lending and Human Rights” on Wednesday April 9. The hearing was chaired by Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA). Representatives Janice Shakowsky (D-IL) and David Cicilline (D-RI) also attended. The first panel included former Member of Congress and Chair of House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank. The second panel included Director for Business and Human Rights at Human Rights Watch Arvind Ganesan, President of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia Nadejda Ataeva, Human Rights Attorney at the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights Delphine Djiraibe, and Coordinator of the Land Defense Program at the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras Felix Valentine.
For full event notes continue reading or click here for the PDF.
Rep. James McGovern began by acknowledging that the World Bank is a vital source of economic support and has the power to change peoples’ lives for the better or for the worse. He said that the purpose of the hearing was to ensure that the World Bank is a force of good and that the proper safeguards are in …
Photo Credit: Ammon News
On Tuesday morning, Fawaz al-Aytan, the Jordanian ambassador to Libya, was kidnapped along with members of his security staff in central Tripoli. Reportedly, the Moroccan national driving the ambassador was shot and wounded during the abduction. The two masked gunmen “demanded an Islamist militant be released from a Jordanian jail in exchange for the diplomat’s freedom.” That militant, Mohamed Dersi, is “a Libyan Islamist jailed for life in 2007 for plotting to blow up the main airport in Jordan.” A senior Jordanian intelligence official told Reuters, “Jordan has currently locked up some of the top global al Qaeda scholars and jihadists like Mohammad al Makdisi and Abu Qatada. A deal over Dersi may encourage other jihadists to follow suit, so, very tricky.”
State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki released a statement saying, “At a time when Libya most needs political consensus to move forward its democratic transition, extortion by physical attack must not hijack the process of peaceful dialogue. Threats of violence to the Prime Minister or others are unconscionable and we condemn them in the strongest terms. The United States urges all Libyans to work together to find common ground to …
The Middle East and North Africa Club at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) held a public event called “Terrorism, Party Politics, and the US: Expectations of the Upcoming Iraqi Elections” on Monday, April 14, 2014 to discuss the elections for the Council of Representatives that will take place on April 30. The event featured Ahmed Ali, Iraq research analyst and Iraq team lead at the Institute for the Study of War, and Judith Yaphe, adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Douglas Ollivant, senior national security fellow with the New America Foundation, moderated the discussion.
For complete notes, please continue reading or click here for the PDF.
Douglas Ollivant opened the event, mentioning the data points that could be gathered from the upcoming elections on April 30, especially the “relative strength of the [political] blocks” and the possibility for Iraqi political parties to break out of their traditional organizations. Then, Ollivant asked Ahmed Ali to deliver his opening remarks.
First, Ali noted that the Institute for the Study of War will be publishing an election report on Iraq. Then, he identified the elections as an “indicator of the …