Pluralism in Islam

By Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (for Safe Democracy)

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam considers that instead of attempting to excavate the true, eternal essence of Islam, it is worthwile to comprehend the expanding discourses about it within specific ideational situations. This is what he believes is the real challenge posed by Islam. Adib-Moghaddam also illustrates how two transnational Islamic spaces have created a cognitive divide in which the rational majority suffers: “East” by neo-fundamentalist movement and “West”, by neo-conservative strategists. He notes that Bali, Madrid, London, New York, Baghdad, Kabul, Najaf and the Palestinian territories have been caught in the cross-fire of this divide.

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Democracy and Arab minorities

By Mohammad Darawshe (for Safe Democracy)

Mohammad Darawshe discusses the implications of the results in the recent March 2006 Israeli parliamentary elections and states that the elections increased the Arab minoritie’s representation in Israel’s Knesset, thereby winning ten percent of Parliament seats. Darawshe explains the three factors that contribute to the Arab lower share of voters in terms of their actual population and they are: lower turnout rate, age, and citizenship status. According to him, the Arab political parties must unite to form one coalition (rather than four, separate parties) in order to establish legitimacy as a true option and not simply remain an opposition voice.

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Assad’s strategy and regional realities

By George E. Irani (for Safe Democracy)

Dr. George E. Irani believes that Bashar Assad‘s Syrian regime is in the eye of the storm due to three factors: pressures from the Bush Administration, the UN investigation into the Hariri murder, and regional powers. Dr. Irani does mention the success Assad had in Arab solidarity against the US Congress-sponsored sanctions against Syria. However, Dr. Irani adds that Assad failed to achieve a consensus on both the Lebanon and Palestine arenas. Dr. Irani states that the regime is manipulating the remaining leverage it holds on Lebanon, and it hopes to continue using the Palestinian faction as a means to maintain Syrian intervention: Syria can always play for time and use US diplomatic blunders as a means to enhance and maintain some kind of respect.

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Poverty bears the face of a woman

By Bernardo Kliksberg (for Safe Democracy)

Seventy percent of the 3,000 millions of poor in the planet (half of the world population) are women and girls. Two-thirds of the illiterate of the world are women. Bernardo Kliksberg believes that notwithstanding the fact that the conditions of women have improved in the last fifty years, the outstanding challenges are of a great importance: discrimination and exclusion of women have lasted too much in the world –he warns– and it is high time we all contribute to eradicate it.

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A missing mediator in the Southern Cone

By Pedro G. Cavallero (for Safe Democracy)

Pedro G. Cavallero analyzes the current escalating dispute with Uruguay and Argentina in opposition (or in confrontation). As explained, the dispute has come as a result of two European companies’ decision to build an ambitious cellulose-pressing company in Uruguay. Cavallero illustrates the fact that Argentina‘s concern is the would-be environmental impact, stemming from the plant’s operation, in one of its provinces. On the other hand, the Uruguay‘s response has to push forward with expanding foreign trade policy. Cavallero thinks that this dispute has revealed a subtler discontent: the lack of an effective institutional venue to adjudicate transnational matter, in other words, a trusted, impartial mediator.

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New left or neopopulism?

By Fabián Bosoer (for Safe Democracy)

Fabián Bosoer believes that winds of change are blowing in Latin America again. Some people, enthusiastic or worried, consider that the turn to the left of the continent is getting deeper, in order to stress a rupture with the nineties. For others, he adds, the classic dilemma between populism and liberal democracy is on the table again. Bosoer rejects both positions, which put all the countries of the world in the same basket, and states a third alternative. In any case, the key question is: Is there a new paradigm of the democratic governability in Latin America?

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The Logistics of Terrorism

By Jean-Luc Marret (for Safe Democracy)

Jean-Luc Marret analyzes the logisitics of terrorism and defines it as a complicated mass of machinery and discusses its organizational dynamics, networks, rapid transmission of decisions, and finally draws upon Abu Nidal’s Fatah as a present day illustration of such a structure. As stated by Marret, the structure is geared in two directions: the relationship maintained by leaders and is influenced by the constraints of security. He adds that terrorist networks are dependent on four elements: membership numbers, theater of operations, place of origin, and logistical support, and explains it.

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Mexico, A Sleeping Giant Next Door the US

By Pedro G. Cavallero (for Safe Democracy)

Pedro G. Cavallero states that electoral processes in Latin America receive sporadic coverage in the US despite the fact that most of the region’s democracies are far from fully consolidated. Mr. Cavallero analyzes the Mexican political situation –before National elections– and notes that the perception of Mexico in the US remains blurred, often distorted, and even reduced to simplistic notions, and despite this “binding vicinity”, the country is becoming a vanishing neighbor for the US.

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Dinner with Bill Clinton

By Martin Varsavsky

Mr. Varsavsky met over dinner with former President Bill Clinton a couple of days ago in New York, where he had the opportunity to share some of his personal ideas on International Affairs. Topics of discussion included the following: Clinton’s view on a potential Hillary Clinton presidential bid, John McCain, Vladimir Putin, Google and Yahoo in China, the oil prices, elections in the US, school vouchers, public education, health care, Iraq, Iran, Hugo Chavez, the Dubai port issues, Michelle Bachelet, evangelical Christians, and FON.

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