The Mehlis Report and Lebanon’s Trouble Next Door

by Marlin Dick | published November 18, 2005

The UN-authorized investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, now well into a second phase of heightened brinkmanship between Damascus and Washington, also has Lebanon holding its collective breath.

Egypt’s Election All About Image, Almost

by Mariz Tadros | published September 6, 2005

The skies of Cairo are cluttered with strips of cloth daubed in red, blue and green. Hanging in crowded squares and stretching across streets before traffic lights, almost all of the banners proclaim the enthusiastic support of “So-and-So and his family” or “such-and-such shop or hospital” for Husni Mubarak in his quest for a fifth term as president of Egypt.

Egypt Looks Ahead to Portentous Year

by Mona El-Ghobashy | published February 2, 2005

Not so long ago in Egypt, elections for the parliament, bar association and press syndicate, as well as presidential referenda, were dismissed as mere beautifying accessories for an incorrigibly authoritarian regime. In 2005, several developments promise to accentuate the significance of these once nugatory rituals.

Another "Historic Day" Looms in Iraq

by Chris Toensing | published January 28, 2005

Yet another "historic day" will dawn in war-weary Iraq on January 30. As interim prime minister Iyad Allawi told Iraqi television viewers, "For almost the first time since the creation of Iraq, Iraqis will participate in choosing their representatives in complete freedom." Not to be outdone, President George W. Bush used the first news conference of his second term to herald the "grand moment in Iraqi history" that the world will witness when Iraqis go to the polls.

A Very Slippery "Landslide" for Mahmoud Abbas

by Peter Lagerquist | published January 20, 2005

A chorus of international approval greeted Mahmoud Abbas' victory in the Palestinian Authority presidential election. January 9 was "a historic day for the Palestinian people and for the people of the Middle East," declared President George W. Bush, as the final count gave the Fatah party candidate some 62 percent of the vote -- three times the tally of his nearest challenger, human rights campaigner Mustafa Barghouthi.

Afghanistan's Presidential Elections

Spreading Democracy or a Sham?

by M. Nazif Shahrani | published October 8, 2004

Less than a month before George W. Bush's second bid for the White House, his protégé and partner in post-Taliban Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, faces an election that both men hope will not only establish the legitimacy of Karzai's presidency but also prove the Bush administration's claim that the war-ravaged nation's transition to democracy has been a success. Over 10.5 million Afghans have reportedly registered to choose from among a slate of 16 candidates on October 9, 2004, less than three years after the removal of the infamous Taliban regime and their al-Qaeda allies from power in Kabul.