Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Marc Lynch (7)


Kuwait Feature: A Moment of Truth for the Country? (Lynch)

A car hits two protesters on Wednesday --- both survived

Wednesday's violent clashes in Kuwait have brought its long-brewing political crisis to a dangerous point. It did not have to be this way, in a Gulf state that has long stood out for its robust public sphere, electoral traditions and vibrant parliament. But a series of unusually provocative steps by both the royal family and the opposition, in the context of a long-running battle over the powers of parliament and accountability for the royal family, have taken their toll and tempers are running hot. After months of growing popular mobilization and a complex crisis of political institutions, Kuwait's political future suddenly seems deeply uncertain.

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Jordan Feature: Troubled "Reform" as Prime Minister Resigns (Murphy)

Former Prime Minister Khasawneh, a long time adviser to Jordan's royal family, who helped negotiate the country's peace deal with Israel in 1994, was appointed to his post last October in an attempt to mollify growing street protests demanding an opening of the political system.

The election law he's been working on was intended to deliver that opening. But he's been hemmed in on two sides: one, by tribal leaders close to the court and the security services worried that it would end up delivering power into the hands of Jordan's opposition. And two, by the opposition, which has complained loudly that the new law doesn't go far enough.

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Tunisia Feature: The Rise of a "New Islamist Movement" (Lynch)

Tunisia's post-revolutionary politics are being profoundly shaped by the meteoric rise of the long-banned Islamist movement al-Nahda. Decades of fierce repression during the regime of former President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali crushed almost every visible manifestation of Tunisia's Islamist movement. The banned movement played a very limited role in the revolution. But since Ben Ali's flight and the triumphant January 30 return of exiled leader Rached Ghannouchi, al-Nahda has grown with astonishing speed.

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Libya Snapshot: Why the US Intervened "Up to 100,000 Could Be Massacred"

"This is a limited humanitarian intervention, not war," White House Middle East strategist Dennis Ross, National Security Council strategic planning official Derek Chollet, and two military officials told a group of outside foreign policy and Middle East experts during a briefing at the White House Roosevelt Room Tuesday.

"We were looking at 'Srebrenica on steroids' --- the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred, and everyone would blame us for it," Ross explained.

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Tunisia and Algeria: How Protests Put "Arab Regimes on Edge" (Lynch)

It's very clear that most Arab regimes are on edge over the possibility of the spread of the protests in Tunisia and Algeria. Arab columnists and TV shows have been excitedly debating the real causes of the protests and what they might mean, while in country after country warnings are being sounded of a repeat of the "Tunisia scenario."

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US Foreign Policy: Why Obama's Outreach to Muslim World is Still Valuable (Lynch)

President Obama's visit to Indonesia this week has received relatively little attention in the US. While --- somewhat ironically --- opponents such as Bret Stephens and Charles Krauthammer have hailed the Obama speech in India for promoting the free market and an alliance to "face the common threat of radical Islam and the more long-term challenge of a rising China", the President's address in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world came and went.

Marc Lynch, writing in Foreign Policy, tries to fill in the gaps and provide a wider context for the Obama speech....

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Iran, Sanctions, and War: The Obama Administration Spins Out of Control

Many may perceive the message in Thursday's New York Times article --- again, even though there is no evidence that the "senior Administration official" is presenting an agreed point of view --- as one advocating military action.

That's pretty stupid, given that others in the Administration --- like the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen --- have been trying to talk down the idea of military intervention and have been reminding the Israelis that the US Government is opposed to an airstrike on Iran.

It's not even a sensible political manoeuvre. The Ahmadinejad Government is likely to seize upon this as proof of America's hypocrisy --- they talk negotiations, but they mean conflict --- and unrelenting hostility towards the Iranian people. Rather than fold to the mounting economic pressure that the Administration official envisages, the Government and the Supreme Leader will use this further sign of the "enemy" to try and rally support to offset the economic difficulties.

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