Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of two commentary articles written by members of the opposition to the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. This article is written by Ibrahim El-Houdaiby, a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The second installment will be penned by a member of the secular wing of the Egyptian opposition. CAIRO, Egypt — The latest escalation by the Egyptian regime against the Muslim Brotherhood has been widely portrayed as a conflict between a “secular” government and a religious-Islamist opposition. This is hardly the case. It is rather part of a larger conflict […]

TEHRAN — I decided to move to Iran after having spent seven years living in and writing about the Arab World, where foreigners are generally handled as a rare and privileged species. As such, I approached reports of Iranian impudence in dealings with the West and Westerners with suspicion. Were these reports just another case of anti-Iranian Western propaganda? The steady stream of reports coming out of Iran about Westerners being arrested, summarily tried and jailed on spying accusations did make me wonder, however. Iran is the only country in the region where this is a regular occurrence. This doesn’t […]

From the moment Iranian forces captured a group of 15 British sailors and Marines, the tensions among competing power centers within Iran began bubbling to the surface. One can almost imagine the heated debates raging among assorted Mullahs, military men and politicians about what to do with the 14 men and one woman taken on March 21 in the waters of the Persian Gulf. That, not coincidentally, was the day before a scheduled meeting of the United Nations Security Council, which approved new sanctions against the Islamic Republic, demanding yet again the suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment program. There are […]

The indisputable father of modern-day Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, accomplished great deeds in a short period of time. The greatest of these was the ease with which he weaved secularism into the fabric of a Muslim society. With his tantalizing and audacious reforms, he marched post-Ottoman Turkey unwaveringly toward the West and away from its Eastern neighbors. Among other reforms, Ataturk replaced the strict Islamic Shariah law with Swiss civil code, abolished state religion, secularized school curricula, and discouraged the use of the veil among women. Turkey’s republican constitution, modeled after the French constitution, enshrined the country’s commitment to secularism, […]

Muslims often complain that the West only looks their way when there is something negative to say about Islam and its people. This time, they have a point. A most extraordinary event took place earlier this month in St. Petersburg, Fla., and it received only scant attention outside the blogosphere. The Secular Islam Summit brought together some 200 delegates determined to speak their mind about the direction of the Muslim world and to redraw the battle lines of today’s overarching ideological conflict. Describing themselves as “secular persons of Muslim societies,” and explaining that they are “believers, doubters, and unbelievers,” they […]

On March 14, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council together with Germany submitted a draft resolution that would broaden the embargo against Iran. As part of the international effort to derail Tehran’s nuclear program, the proposed resolution seeks, amongst other things, to ban procurement of Iranian “arms or related material.” Though harsher sanctions will be required before Iran thinks again about suspending its nuclear program, a global embargo on its defense exports could nevertheless be a painful blow.<<ad>>In 2005, Iran exported around $100 million worth of military hardware. Its defense industrial base has grown significantly and today […]

YEREVAN, Armenia — Inside the tomb-like confines of the Armenian genocide museum, a haunting narrative of images and words unfolds. A list is posted at tour’s end of Western nations that have officially recognized the tragedy, minus one major endorsement: the United States. U.S. lawmakers have recently introduced non-binding resolutions that would declare up to 1.5 million Armenians victims of genocide at the hands of Turkish forces almost a century ago. Support is reported to be strong enough in the House to pass the measure if it goes to a vote; the Senate introduced a similar resolution last Wednesday with […]

A fresh analysis of the war in Iraq concludes that parts of the conflict can now be described as “civil war.” In its March report to Congress, the Pentagon says that while not all of the violence in Iraq falls into that category, “some” of it does. It is the first time the Pentagon has publicly used such language. Have the military elite finally wiped the tar from their field glasses and glimpsed reality? What makes this interesting is not that the Pentagon finally admitted what many have known for months, but the potential repercussions the admission may bring. For […]

A scan of the Near East’s political horizon is enough to throw the most earnest of peacemakers into despair. A few days ago, al-Qaida’s chief commentator on world affairs, Ayman al-Zawahri, blasted Hamas for agreeing to a power-sharing deal with Fatah in the Palestinian territories. Not to worry, Hamas promptly reassured Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man, Hamas remains thoroughly committed to destroying Israel. While the leading party on the Palestinian side reaffirms its unwillingness to accept a two-state solution, the diplomatic world is in a flurry of activity that seems to ignore that reality. Israel has been holding talks with […]

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Corridors of Power is written by veteran foreign affairs correspondent Roland Flamini and appears in World Politics Review every week by Sunday morning. Click here for the Corridors of Power archives. WHO OWES WHOM? — Invasions, as the Bush administration can attest, are costly undertakings. But in the case of Iraq, the United States is unlikely to follow the example of the Russian government, which has sent Afghanistan the bill for the 1979 Soviet invasion and subsequent occupation. Moscow is asking the Afghans to pay $9 billion it says Russia spent on “development” in Afghanistan in the infamous decade that […]

While the Bush administration’s efforts to contain Iran have found some resonance with the region’s Sunni Arab political establishment, a recent survey conducted in six Middle Eastern states reveals that the strategy to galvanize an anti-Iranian coalition has not made an impact on the climate of opinion formed in the Arab street. Pro-Western Sunni Arab regimes, especially Saudi Arabia, have raised concerns about an Iranian arc of influence stretching through Iraq and Syria to southern Lebanon, a development that, ironically, has been partially aided by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. But the July-August 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah opened […]