Democracy Articles

Oslo Journal: ‘The Referees Are Gone’

3:38 PM, May 10, 2011

Ahmed Benchemsi would probably have held on to his job as editor of Morocco’s top newsmagazine, TelQuel, had he known a wave of democratic uprisings was about to engulf the Middle East and North Africa. Last October, he had been forced to shutter TelQuel’s Arabic-language sister publication, Nichane, after the Moroccan regime mounted an advertising boycott that drove down revenues by almost 80 percent.

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Democracy in Iraq

4:19 PM, May 02, 2011

A recent scene on Iraqi television, via Bad Rachel

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Marco Rubio on Syria: 'Sever Ties and Recall the Ambassador at Once'

4:00 PM, Apr 28, 2011

One of the Senate's rising Republican stars is today backing calls for the Obama administration to withdraw the U.S. ambassador to Syria. "Clearly, we should be on the side of the Syrian people longing for freedom and challenging the regime's corrupt and repressive rule," writes Senator Marco Rubio.

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The Syrian Regime's Crimes Against Humanity

2:40 PM, Apr 25, 2011

Article 7 of the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) defines "crimes against humanity" as "murder" and other "inhumane acts" committed "as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population."

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Hosni Mubarak, and Sons, Detained in Egypt

9:38 AM, Apr 13, 2011

Former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak has reportedly been placed under detention in his hospital room in Sharm el-Sheikh. Mubarak has been there since last night, when he is thought to have had a heart attack. The AP reports:

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Qaddafi's Libya

4:30 PM, Apr 06, 2011

The New York Times has apparently come across photos that show atrocities Muammar Qaddafi and his henchmen committed on Libya's own people.

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Worsening Crackdown in China

And the still invisible U.S. response.
8:22 AM, Apr 04, 2011

In a post last week about the dramatically deteriorating human rights situation in China, there remained many questions about what had really happened to Dr. Yang Hengjun, the Australian citizen of Chinese descent, who disappeared one week ago and was believed to have been in Chinese custody.

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China's Crackdown on Bloggers and Human Rights Activists

And America's polite response.
2:31 PM, Mar 31, 2011

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu took a question at a press conference on Tuesday about the disappearance of another dissident. Her response, which quickly pinged around the Chinese online community and its English-language China-watching counterparts, was to blithely assert: "I have not heard of that person."

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Marco Rubio on Libya – and the Need for Regime Change

1:14 AM, Mar 31, 2011

Senator Marco Rubio offered his full-throated support Wednesday for the U.S. intervention in Libya and called on President Barack Obama to be clear that regime change is the objective of America’s involvement. In an interview yesterday afternoon, Rubio said that failing to remove Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, after Obama publicly called for him to go, would have grave consequences for America’s reputation in the region and in the world.

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Rubio Takes the Lead

Urges Congress to authorize military action, endorse regime change.
10:28 PM, Mar 30, 2011

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has obtained the text of a letter freshman senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent tonight to the Senate majority and minority leaders. In it, Rubio proposes that the Senate authorize the president’s use of force in Libya, and that the authorization state that the aim of the use of force should be the removal of the Qaddafi regime. (The full text of the letter is below.)

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Kiss’s Gene Simmons Stands Up for Israel and Arab Democracy Movements

5:04 PM, Mar 23, 2011

Gene Simmons, a cofounder of the rock band Kiss, recently returned to his native Israel, after a 52-year hiatus. Unlike other entertainers who have boycotted the Jewish state, such as Elvis Costello, the Pixies, and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Simmons expressed his support for Israel.

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Arab Fear or Arab Freedom?

11:37 AM, Mar 21, 2011

Where the political shockwave inspired by Tunisia's democratic rebellion will lead we don't yet know. We do know what set Tunisia's revolt in motion: the end of Arab fear. When an oppressed people snap fear's psychological bonds, they shatter the tyrant's most potent weapon.

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'Democratization in the Middle East? Implications of the Arab Spring'

5:18 PM, Mar 18, 2011

Here's video from the Foreign Policy Initiative's event, "Democratization in the Middle East? Implications of the Arab Spring," which was held earlier this week in Washington, D.C.:

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Obama: 'It Would Be So Much Easier To Be the President of China'

9:51 AM, Mar 11, 2011

The president has wistfully been thinking about how easy it would be to be the leader of the People's Republic of China, the New York Times reports. And one unnamed official told the Times's reporters that "No one is scrutinizing [Chinese leader] Hu Jintao's words in Tahrir Square."

The quotations are part of a piece aimed at explaining the president's thinking on the crisis in the Middle East. And his envy for the Chinese leader is meant to demonstrate the difficulty of balancing so-called "pragmatism" with "idealism."

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President of China?

Obama's lament.
9:01 AM, Mar 11, 2011

“Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’”

Obama Seeks a Course of Pragmatism in the Middle East,” The New York Times, March 11, 2011.

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The Dalai Lama's Slow-Motion Retirement

4:07 PM, Mar 10, 2011

During his annual address to the Tibetan people on March 10, the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet announced that he wished to complete his decades-long effort to divest political authority from the Dalai Lama’s own institution.

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The Subtle Success of China’s ‘Jasmine Revolution’

Displaying China’s thug state for the world to see.
1:14 PM, Mar 08, 2011

In mid-February, a mysterious posting on a Chinese language website called on Chinese citizens to take to the streets for low-risk meet-ups at locations with heavy pedestrian traffic throughout the country, starting on Sunday February 20 at 2 p.m. (Beijing local time). Labeled by the organizers as China's "Jasmine Revolution," the organizers clearly intended to hitch a ride on the democratic momentum the protesters the Middle East and North Africa have gained over the last two months.

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Uprising in Libya; Qaddafi Out?

7:10 PM, Feb 20, 2011


Among other unconfirmed reports out of Libya right now, one is that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has left the country for exile in Venezuela. Another is that Qaddafi's sons, Muatassem and Saif al-Islam, fought each other, with the former shooting the latter. It's hard to know much right now, since media coverage out of Libya has gone virtually black.

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'Democracy is the Best Solvent': An Interview with the Algerian Novelist Boualem Sansal

10:46 AM, Feb 18, 2011

The Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal is the author of The German Mujahid. The book addresses a unique theme for an Arab author: the Holocaust. Via the reflections of two young brothers in a Parisian banlieue, it tells the story of Hans Schiller: a German SS officer who immigrates to Algeria, converts to Islam, and becomes a hero of the Algerian war of independence.

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The Middle Way

10:10 AM, Feb 17, 2011

One frequent criticism of the war in Iraq has been that it is impossible to impose democracy from above. The revolution in Egypt represents an attempt to achieve democracy from below, as it were. The jury is out on both nations--and on both paths.

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Fears of a Muslim Brotherhood Takeover are Overblown

8:25 AM, Feb 12, 2011

The controlled public rage against corruption, oppression, and marginalization at the hands of tyrannical Arab regimes that has unfolded in recent weeks is unprecedented and probably unstoppable, but it caught most Western observers by surprise. While they accept the Arab revolt for what it is—a rejection of dehumanizing conditions—most Western analysts have dug out their old notes and recycled their customary predictions: The inevitable outcome will be that Islamists will take over and mobilize the Arabs against Western interests.

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Mideast Revolt Exposes Isolationist Left’s Foreign Policy Delusions – and Hypocrisy

1:00 PM, Feb 11, 2011

Though Egyptian state TV has announced Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, it is unclear what the mass revolt rocking Egypt has in store for that ancient nation’s future. But what is clear is that the momentous events in Cairo--and, indeed, the massive tsunami of people-power engulfing the entire Mideast--have put some quarters of the American left in a most awkward position.

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Mubarak Chooses Chaos—and Gets the Boot (UPDATED)

8:43 AM, Feb 11, 2011

UPDATEOn Friday the Army made its decision. Mubarak was forced out. His Thursday speech was a disaster and it seems to have helped persuade the generals that they had, at last, to choose between Mubarak and the people. They made the right choice.


Who rules Egypt, and who will rule it tomorrow? After 30 years the Hosni Mubarak period is coming to a close, but how the period ends—in violence and turmoil, or on a stable path to democracy—remains unclear.

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Obama's Response to Mubarak Crucial

He must side wholeheartedly and unabashedly with the protesters.
6:14 PM, Feb 10, 2011

Herzliya, Israel

Tonight, Hosni Mubarak revealed how out of touch he is with the situation in Egypt.

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White House Calls Out Iranian 'Hypocrisy'

10:30 AM, Feb 10, 2011

The White House is accusing the Iranian regime of “hypocrisy” for placing a leading opposition figure under house arrest. Mehdi Karroubi, one of the leaders of Iran’s Green Movement after the rigged elections in June 2009, has been placed under house arrest in Tehran and is unable to meet with his relatives.

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