Children are among the dead following a chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria. Prof. Hrach Gregorian, the Director of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at American University, weighs in during Off Script with Bruce Johnson.
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“US-Iran Relations in the Trump Era: Back to Confrontation?”
The Institute of World Affairs @ RESOLVE is pleased to invite you to the first in its 2017 program of briefings, featuring:
Dr. Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council
It has been almost thirty years since the adoption, in October 1989, by the Lebanese Parliament of the Taif Accord. The agreement put an end to a civil war that engulfed Lebanon for more than 15 years. Between 1989 and 2005, the Taif Accord remained largely unimplemented because of internal disputes between Christian and Muslim Lebanese and foremost because of Syria’s heavy-handed manipulation of politics in the country.
“Foreign Policy Challenges for a New Administration”
The Institute of World Affairs@RESOLVE is pleased to invite you to the first in its 2016 program of briefings, featuring Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering
The Mouse that Roared
What is to be made of the recent crisis in Nigeria that pitted the outgoing government of Goodluck Jonathan against Boko Haram? How is it that a rebel group consisting of a core of some 7,000 to 10,000 fighters using mostly small arms and bombs has been able to resist, and often rout, the largest army in West Africa? Why has this conflict lasted for close to six years? Why was the presidential election scheduled for February 14 postponed for six weeks, and why in the interim were foreign mercenaries brought in to do battle with homegrown insurgents?
History has again repeated itself as farce. This time, the protagonists were Mohammed Morsi and the head of Egypt’s armed forces, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. On June 22, the General advised the President to take immediate steps to defuse a situation that was quickly spiraling out of control, to initiate a national dialogue, inclusive of all the opposition movements, and to express a commitment to building bridges across a highly fissured political landscape.
Egypt has just entered a tunnel darker than the one that, just a year ago, produced Mohammed Morsi and ushered in the short, sad reign of his Freedom and Justice Party. With the military’s ouster of the country’s only freely elected president, a new era begins with little promise of lasting solutions to the problems that plague the country.
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are confronted with major structural adjustment challenges that cannot be solved without the help of regional and international donors and private investment. After decades of one-man rule, their economies are in tatters, political institutions are fragile, civic society is underdeveloped, and security has yet to be firmly established. Progressive minded secularists are engaged in an uneven battle with conservative Islamists intent on consolidating power. The situation in all three countries is fluid, dynamic and dangerous. Violence is never far from the surface, and when it flares up regimes are shaken and unable to mount an effective response. These close neighbours are entering new territory with an untested leadership and with an administrative apparatus sorely in need of technical assistance. Only Libya possesses sufficient natural resource wealth that properly managed can help it recover without international financial assistance. The military takeover in Egypt has quieted the street for the moment, it remains to be seen if in its aftermath the country can be put on a sounder political and economic footing. Like Egypt, Tunisia requires substantial foreign aid and investment to right its economy. Security, education, employment, all must figure prominently in national development strategies. Support for secularist parties is essential to balance political power and to avoid the rise of religious tyranny. In all cases, international actors should be supportive of locally generated solutions, and highly attentive to sensitivities about foreign intervention. Outside engagement should be broad-based, and include regional intergovernmental organizations such as the Arab League. Such engagement must be sustained over a sufficient period of time to increase the likelihood that there will not be political and economic backsliding.