Is Political Islam Headed For The Dustbin Of History?
The hope of a movement of nonviolent, moderate form of Islam flourishing in the Middle East was bright at the peak of the Arab Spring, but the rise of ISIS and other Islamic-inspired terror groups has cast a cloud over political Islam’s future, asserts Cameron Glenn of The National Interest.
“The marginalization of Islamist parties is a setback after the unprecedented political opportunities provided by the Arab Spring in 2011. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological grandfather of dozens of Islamist parties, won the presidency and the largest share of seats in parliament—to be ousted and declared a terrorist organization in 2013. By the end of 2015, Islamist parties across the region had lost elections, been banned or opted to boycott political systems increasingly skewed against them,” writes Glenn.
The trend towards more violent and polarized political systems in the region, as well as the increase in attacks on Western targets, will further weaken moderate groups. And that trend does not appear to be heading for a reversal any time soon.
“With extremist groups becoming ever more violent and polarized and political systems becoming more repressive, nonviolent Islamist parties may find themselves even further pushed to the margins of the political debate in 2016. Political Islam’s annus horribilis isn’t over,” he concludes.
China Again Stokes Fires In South China Sea
China has once again sparked protests over in the South China Sea region after it landed a plane on a runway on one of its newly-created artificial islands. China, which claims it owns most of the South China Sea, has for months been slowly building up disputed islands in order to secure their claims on them.
The latest salvo has elicited protests from the United States, as well as Beijing’s regional neighbors, particularly Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said China’s landing of the plane “raises tensions and threatens regional stability.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement that the landing was “a serious infringement of the sovereignty of Vietnam on the Spratly archipelago, contrary to the common perception of high-ranking leaders of the two countries and (to) an agreement on the basic principles for directly solving maritime issues between Vietnam and China”.
Global Agreements Easier To Negotiate Than To Implement
The implementation phase of major multinational agreements reached in 2015, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to the Iran nuclear accord, will likely be more trying than the negotiation process, writes Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haass.
From the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the global climate deal to a framework for Syrian peace, Haass asserts that drawing a framework is a lot easier than actually bringing resolutions to reality.
“The negotiators still must be able to deliver their governments’ full backing, and this is never automatic, especially when it comes to democracies such as the US, where different branches of government are often controlled by different political parties.
“A second reality is that there is an unavoidable trade-off between negotiations and implementation. In many cases, agreement is possible only if critical details are left unresolved,” he argues.