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Fikra Forum

Fikra Forum

خلق الحوار. التأثير على السياسة.

Generating Dialogue. Impacting Policy.

Electoral Reform: What’s Really Needed in Iraq

Lina Musawy

Among accusations of elections fraud and the burning of a warehouse storing half of Baghdad’s ballot boxes, Iraq’s electoral process appears to have experienced a dramatic challenge to its credibility. However, Iraqi voters’ disaffection with the polling process is longstanding and was openly expressed through a major boycott of the electoral process in May. Citizens publicly declared their intention to boycott through a large social media campaign, using the hashtag “#boycotters.” Country-wide voter turnout reportedly only reached 44.5%, with many suspecting that actual turn-out may have been even lower. Given recent elections’ low participation rates, the Iraqi government may need to make a decisive change to the electoral system and the Independent High Electoral Commission in order to restore voter confidence and participation.

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Thomas Parker’s Response to David Pollock’s “Iran, Israel, Syria, and the U.S. Views From China"

Thomas Parker

Overall, China has a negative opinion of the U.S. role in the region—though Beijing’s views are sometimes nuanced and occasionally outright positive. Why is China’s outlook mainly negative? First, China does not like the United States to use military force in the Middle East because Beijing resents America’s international military predominance, particularly in East Asia where it serves to constrain Chinese behavior towards Taiwan and the South and East China Seas.

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Fikra Forum's Top 104 Articles of 2017

NGO Law in Egypt - Maged Atef (January 12, 2017) Writing from Egypt, BuzzFeed reporter Maged Atef explains how the most recent Egyptian law targeting NGOs may eliminate them altogether and cause irreparable damage to Egyptian society. While the government argues that these civil society groups aim to undermine the elected Egyptian government, their suppression will actually cause more harm than good.

Iran, Israel, Syria, and the U.S.: Views From China

David Pollock

Next week, President Rouhani of Iran is due to visit China for a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the margins of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Two weeks ago, coincidentally, I spoke in Shanghai at a mid-sized meeting billed as “the first conference on Syria ever held in China,” including an influential Iranian foreign policy adviser, cosponsored by two leading local institutes (and facilitated by China’s embassy in Washington). The presence of diverse dignitaries in such a closed, relatively informal but intense forum afforded a rare opportunity for first-hand impressions of interactions among Chinese, Iranian, Syrian, and other key actors in the emerging, increasingly multipolar Middle East scene.

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The Iraqi and Syrian Crises: A Strategic Definition

Haitham Numan

Political conflict in the Islamic world began between two schools headed by the Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan. A bloody fight for power led to a conflict that still persists today in the form of the Sunni-Shia divide and the Turkish-Arab-Iranian conflict. Defining the current conflict in Iraq and Syria as sectarian is superficial and naïve. The reality of the conflict is one of two different forms that have taken on the cover of sectarianism in propaganda and political marketing. The reality of these two forms is: a clash between the schools of Baathist Nazism and Islamist Fascism, and class-based strife. Both forms justify their struggle in sectarian terms in the media to manipulate and mobilize the masses.

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Can Jordan Dismantle the “Deep State” Moguls?

Shehab Al-Makahleh

Today, Jordan’s government is facing backlash after a long period of corruption labeled a “deep state” system. Citizens are organizing demonstrations rejecting federal decisions to increase taxes and impose further strict rules on the people that would negatively affect their livelihood.