from Middle East Program

In Support of Arab Democracy

Why and How

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

A Council-sponsored Task Force says that the United States should support the evolutionary development of democracy consistently throughout the Middle East. It points out that a strategy to promote democracy entails inherent risks, but that “the denial of freedom carries much more significant long-term dangers.”

Madeleine K. Albright
Madeleine K. Albright

Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group LLC

Vin Weber

Partner, Mercury

Steven A. Cook
Steven A. Cook

Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies and Director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars

The Task Force, comprised of leading regional, economic, diplomatic, and business experts, finds that democracy promotion is the best means to achieve stability in the Middle East and is further important in restoring America's credibility in the Arab world. It is also consistent with American ideals. The report states that democracy will not resolve the problem of terrorism entirely, but that “more open political environments will likely weaken the pull of extremist ideologies that fuel violence.”

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The independent, bipartisan Task Force, cochaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) and directed by Council Next Generation Fellow Steven A. Cook, cautions that “if the new policy is implemented in ways that are superficial, halfhearted, underfunded, and inconsistent, it will yield new allegations of hypocrisy and further damage relations between the United States and Arab populations.”

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Task Force Members

Task Force Members

FEISAL ABDUL RAUF is the Founder and Chairman of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) and of the Cordoba Initiative, a multifaith organization whose objective is to heal the relationship between the Islamic world and the United States by 2015. He is also the Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a mosque in New York City. He is a member of the World Economic Forum's Council of 100 Leaders and a Trustee of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York. His writing includes Islam: A Search for Meaning and Islam: A Sacred Law. His latest book, What's Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West, ranked among the Christian Science Monitor's five best nonfiction books of 2004.

KHALED M. ABOU EL FADL is Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a prominent scholar in Islamic law. He serves on the board of Human Rights Watch and as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He was previously a Visiting Professor at Yale Law School.

ODEH F. ABURDENE is President of OAI Advisors, an advisory firm providing investment, economic, business, and energy expertise on the Middle East. He is also an adviser to Capital Partners Holding. Previously, Dr. Aburdene served as Vice President for Middle East Business at Occidental Petroleum and First National Bank of Chicago. He sits on the Board of AMIDEAST, Search for Common Ground, the Rand Center for Middle East Public Policy, the Bethlehem Foundation, and Seeds of Peace. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT is cochair of the Task Force and Principal of the Albright Group LLC. She is also Chairman of the National Democratic Institute and serves on the Board of the New York Stock Exchange. Dr. Albright served as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton.

NANCY BIRDSALL is the founding President of the Center for Global Development. Prior to launching the center, she served for three years as Senior Associate and Director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From 1993 to 1998, she was Executive Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank. Before joining the Inter-American Development Bank, she spent fourteen years in research, policy, and management positions at the World Bank. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than a dozen books, academic articles, and monographs including, most recently, Financing Development: The Power of Regionalism and Delivering on Debt Relief: From IMF Gold to a New Aid Architecture.

DANIEL M. BRUMBERG is Special Adviser for the Muslim World Initiative at the United States Institute of Peace, where he focuses on issues of democratization and political reform in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world. He is also an Associate Professor at Georgetown University and a former Senior Associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is Chairman of the Foundation on Democratization and Political Change in the Middle East, a member of the Advisory Board of the International Forum on Democratic Studies, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Democracy and Political Science and Politics.

LESLIE CAMPBELL is Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programs of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Media, Policy, and Civil Society (IMPACS), and a Fellow at the Queen's University Center for the Study of Democracy. Before his position at the National Democratic Institute, Mr. Campbell served as Chief of Staff to the leader of the New Democratic Party in the Canadian House of Commons.

STEVEN A. COOK is Project Director of the Task Force and a Next Generation Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he specializes in Arab politics and U.S. Middle East policy. Previously, Dr. Cook was a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Soref Research Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

LARRY J. DIAMOND is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University, as well as Coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and Codirector of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy. Dr. Diamond was a Senior Adviser on political transition to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad from January to March 2004.

MICHELE D. DUNNE is Editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic at Georgetown University. She is a former Middle East specialist in the U.S. Department of State and served in assignments at the National Security Council, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff, the National Intelligence Council, and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem.

NOAH FELDMAN is Assistant Professor of Law at New York University. He recently returned from Baghdad, where he served as Senior Adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority on the new Iraqi constitutional process. He is the author of, most recently, After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy.

F. GREGORY GAUSE III is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont and Director of the University's Middle East Studies Program. Previously, he served on the faculty of Columbia University and as a Fellow for Arab and Islamic studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf States, along with other articles and monographs on the politics of the Middle East.

AMY W. HAWTHORNE is an independent consultant specializing in Arab politics and democracy promotion. She provides strategic, analytical, and program-management expertise to U.S. and Arab organizations working to promote democratic change in the Middle East. Previously, she was an Associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she served as the founding Editor of the endowment's Arab Reform Bulletin. She was also previously Senior Program Officer for the Middle East at the International Foundation for Election Systems, a Washington-based democracy-promotion organization, where she designed and managed projects to promote governance and political participation in several Arab countries, and a Fulbright scholar in Egypt.

ROBERT J. KATZ is Senior Director at the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Previously, Mr. Katz was General Counsel and Partner at Goldman Sachs and, prior to that, Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Horace Mann School and as a Trustee of Cornell University, a member of the Dean's Advisory Board of Harvard Law School, and a Director of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

MEL LEVINE is Partner in the Los Angeles and Washington, DC, offices of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, and served in the U.S. Congress from 1983 to 1993. Mr. Levine previously served as the U.S. Chair of the U.S.-Israeli-Palestinian ''Anti-Incitement'' Committee established by the Wye Plantation peace agreement. He is a Trustee of the University of California (Berkeley) Foundation, a former Trustee of the United States Holocaust Museum, and a Director of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

ABDESLAM E. MAGHRAOUI is Associate Director of the Research and Studies Program of the Muslim World Initiative at the United States Institute of Peace. He was most recently a Visiting Lecturer and Resident Scholar in Princeton University's Department of Politics. Previously, Dr. Maghraoui served as Director of al-Madina, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountable governance in the Arab world.

JOSHUA MURAVCHIK is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the World Politics Institute and an Adjunct Scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Dr. Muravchik serves on the Editorial Boards of World Affairs and the Journal of Democracy.

MICHAEL N. POCALYKO is Managing Director and CEO of Monticello Capital, an investment bank in Reston, Virginia, and New York. He also chairs Erdevel Europa S.A.R.L., a global corporation headquartered in Luxembourg that, as a private venture, he formed to build water infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East. He was a Naval aviator who commanded multinational operations in Beirut and the Persian Gulf and has served in both federal and Virginia government. Mr. Pocalyko is an active corporate director in high-technology industries and a Trustee of Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

WILLIAM A. RUGH is currently an independent consultant. He was most recently President and CEO of AMIDEAST. A Foreign Service veteran, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen and to the United Arab Emirates.

ANITA SHARMA is the Information Officer for the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Tsunami Emergency Relief Program in Indonesia. Previously, she directed the Conflict Prevention Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was a foreign policy adviser for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign. She also worked with IOM in Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait and served as an Elections Observer and Supervisor for Kosovo elections in 2001 and 2002 with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe. Ms. Sharma has also served in research positions at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict and the Association of the United States Army. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of Women in International Security (WIIS).

GEORGE VRADENBURG III is President of the Vradenburg Foundation. He was most recently Strategic Adviser and Executive Vice President for Global and Strategy Policy at AOL Time Warner. Prior to joining AOL Time Warner, Mr. Vradenburg served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CBS, and as Executive Vice President at Fox. Mr. Vradenburg is currently Cochair of the Potomac Conference Task Force on Emergency Preparedness for the Greater Washington Region.

VIN WEBER is Cochair of the Task Force and Managing Partner of the Washington office of Clark & Weinstock. He is also Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy. Previously, Mr. Weber was President of Empower America. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1993 (R-MN).

TAMARA COFMAN WITTES is Research Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where she is completing a book on U.S. democracy promotion in the Arab world. Previously, Dr. Wittes served as Middle East Specialist at the United States Institute of Peace, Director of Programs at the Middle East Institute, and Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University. She is the Editor of How Israelis and Palestinians Negotiate: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Oslo Peace Process.

TARIK M. YOUSEF is Assistant Professor of Economics in the School of Foreign Service and Shaykh al-Sabah Chair in Arab Studies in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. He is also a consultant on the Middle East and North Africa region for the World Bank and the UN Millennium Project. He worked as an Economist for the International Monetary Fund from 1997 to 1999. Dr. Yousef specializes in development economics and economic history with a particular focus on the Middle East.

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