There are limits to how much foreign intervention can accomplish in Yemen. To overcome its daunting security, economic, and political challenges, Yemen’s political system needs to become less centralized and more inclusive.
The announcement of new construction in East Jerusalem that interrupted U.S. Vice President Biden’s trip to Israel to reinvigorate peace negotiations reflects the strained relations between Israel and the United States and how much remains to be done before Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can lead to real progress.
Experts fear that Yemen is rapidly becoming a center for radicalization and a haven for extremists. At the same time, a confluence of looming domestic challenges threatens to bring the country to its knees, with potentially destabilizing consequences for the region.
By scaling back its political engagement to focus on a traditional religious, educational, and social agenda, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is leaving behind an even greater lack of political competition in the country.
Al-Qaeda is not the only factor threatening Yemen’s stability. Water shortages, collapsing oil supplies, war, refugees, pirates, and poverty all put the country at risk of becoming a failed state.
Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary election will not bring about any decisive changes. Elections do not cause significant power shifts; they can only reflect the power shifts that have already taken place.
Turkey's constitution, imposed by the military in 1982, must be redrafted if the country is to move towards a more responsive political system and avoid repeating the cycle of paralysis followed by heavy-handed military and judicial intervention.
Over the next year, Egypt will hold three important elections, none of which stand any chance of redistributing power in the country. Egypt needs long-term democratic reforms, and the United States can play an effective role in promoting those reforms.
On February 11, Iran will mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution with a resilient opposition movement, its population divided, and the threat of international sanctions.
Armenia and Turkey have a chance to move forward from their troubled past by ratifying the historic protocols signed in October 2009. While the governments in both Yerevan and Ankara face strong opposition to the protocols, a failure to ratify the agreement could have disastrous consequences for the entire region.