- Egypt Protestors Stand Firm
- Kuwait Minister Quits over Torture Allegations
- AOL to Buy Huffington Post
- Assange Extradition Trial Begins
After two weeks of deadly protests, activists in Egypt stuck to their demands for the immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, despite unprecedented negotiations between the government and opposition groups (DeutscheWelle) including the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition was disappointed with the talks, and opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei described the process as "opaque." According to state-run television, one of the issues agreed to was a future end to the military emergency law that has been in place since 1981. Negotiators also discussed media liberalization and plans for committees that would manage a transition to a representative government (CNN). Though the opposition movement has a fragmented leadership, it adheres to a unified set of demands (NYT) centered on Mubarak's resignation, the end of one-party rule, and an overhaul of the constitution.
U.S. President Barack Obama stressed on Sunday that the Egyptian people would not allow a repressive government to replace Mubarak, and that the Muslim Brotherhood is only one faction among many other secular-minded constituents. According to al-Jazeera, Egypt's pro-democracy supporters are "still not pleased with Obama's stance on the crisis."
The Arab world is watching warily as protests in Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and Syria add to regional unrest, notes this CFR Analysis Brief. All are rooted in concern over economic mismanagement and repression, but any new cast of leaders would face steep challenges.
With food prices at historic levels, unrest is mounting around the world, particularly in import-dependent regions like the Middle East. CFR's Laurie Garrett says to meet demand going forward, countries will need to enhance food production and efficiencies.
Former secretary of state James A. Baker says the crucial U.S. alliance with a politically stunted Egyptian regime poses major difficulties for the Obama administration as it tries to balance U.S. values with national interests.
This issue guide provides a range of background and analysis on the protests in the Middle East and North Africa.
The anti-government protests in Egypt will likely mean a greater political role for the Muslim Brotherhood, analysts say. But this Backgrounder notes the divide in views over whether the Islamist group will choose a path of moderation or extremism.
This CFR Contingency Planning Memo discusses political instability in Egypt and assesses the possibility of a troubled leadership succession or an Islamist push for political power, the implications for the United States, and policy steps the U.S. government might take.
The Kuwait government accepted the resignation of Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Khaled al Sabah, which will prevent officials from questioning him in relation to a suspected torture case (TheNational).
For a fourth straight day, Thai and Cambodian troops exchanged fire over a disputed territory surrounding a nine hundred year-old Hindu temple (al-Jazeera). According to reports, at least five people have died in the clashes.
Japan: Prime Minister Naoto Kan led a large protest to demand the return of the Kuril islands (StraitsTimes), a small chain held by Russia since the end of World War II. The dispute over the islands has kept the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty ending World War II hostilities.
High-ranking diplomats from India and Pakistan met in Bhutan but failed to set any dates for restarting peace talks, which have been stalled since the 2008 Mumbai attack (BBC).
Bangladesh: Police and activists clashed in a nationwide strike (AP) led by the country's main opposition party to protest high crime and rising commodity prices. Schools and businesses were shuttered across Bangladesh, including in capital Dhaka, where the opposition headquarters were raided by police.
Tunisia's interim government banned ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's party as new anti-government protests (GulfDailyNews) broke out across the country, leaving five people dead in the last two days.
Sudan: The final outcome of southern Sudan's independence referendum (BBC) is due to be announced, but analysts don't expect the declaration to be the end of the process. The disputed border region of Abyei, citizenship, legal matters, and natural resources will require further negotiation.
The Sudan referendum will likely result in the south's independence, but unresolved disputes and population shifts require the Obama administration's continued diplomatic and humanitarian engagement, says CFR's John Campbell.
In a sale valued at $315 million, AOL will purchase the Huffington Post (FastCompany). The two companies will integrate all of their content, and Arianna Huffington will be president and editor-in-chief.
United States: GOP policymakers will introduce legislation this week to recover millions of dollars in U.S. contributions to the UN (FT). The gesture comes after two years of work by the Obama administration to repair U.S.-UN relations, including paying $1.2 billion in arrears.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared at a hearing in London to determine whether he will be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual abuse. Assange denies any wrongdoing, though he admits to consensual relations with the two women, who were both volunteers for WikiLeaks (NYT).
WikiLeaks' publication of classified foreign policy cables highlights the continued power of traditional news media and the challenges journalists face from online groups that do not share their views on transparency, says media expert C.W. Anderson.
The Netherlands: The Dutch government recalled its ambassador from Tehran in protest of Iran's hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman (CNN) accused of drug smuggling. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran suggested the drug charges were only a pretext to execute her for security offenses in the wake of the 2009 presidential election protests.
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