Shadi Hamid

Shadi Hamid is director of research at The Project on Middle East Democracy, and a contributor to the National Security Network's foreign affairs blog, Democracy Arsenal.

Recent Articles

The Myth of Moroccan Democracy

Recent parliamentary elections have cast doubt on whether Morocco is the model of Middle East reform the United States is hoping for.

Earlier this month Morocco, one of America's closest Arab allies, held national elections. Touted as a bold step toward democracy, the vote was closely watched in the West. But the elections, rather than proving a success, have raised difficult questions about the future of Moroccan democracy and highlighted the flaws in America's approach to democracy promotion. In the lead-up to the polls, analysts painted the contest as a test of Islam's political strength. Islamists had risen to power in Iraq, Palestine, and Turkey; and many wondered whether Morocco would be next. The main Islamist organization in the country -- the Justice and Development Party (PJD) -- was widely expected to win the largest number of seats, following the lead of religious-based groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the similarly named Justice and Development Party in Turkey. But instead of securing a projected 70 - 80 seats, the PJD won only 47, coming in second to the secular Istiqlal Party. This is...

Aiding and Abetting Egyptian Repression

Why Congress should use American foreign aid to Egypt as leverage for reform.

The time of year has again arrived when the U.S. Congress considers funding levels for foreign aid. But this year is different. Democrats control a majority in both the House and Senate and, for the first time in more than 12 years, will have the opportunity to set the agenda on this critical issue. 2007 has seen a continued deterioration in the political situation in the Middle East. Democrats have been preoccupied with a contentious debate on Iraq war funding, which has split the caucus in recent weeks. But beyond the war, 2007 has also been marked by the resurgence of Arab autocrats, who have strengthened their grip on power, and embarked on a sometimes brutal campaign against their opponents. There is no longer any "Arab spring" to speak of. Most troubling is the unfolding situation in Egypt, one of America's closest allies in the region and the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid. Since January, the regime of longtime President Hosni Mubarak has unleashed an unprecedented wave...

Vision Gap, Part II

Read Part I of "Vision Gap" here . What might a progressive foreign policy look like -- not just in theory but also in practice? In recent months, there have been numerous efforts to forge a workable alternative to the belligerency of neoconservatism and the amorality of neo-realism, including proposals from Michael Signer , Madeleine Albright , Robert Wright , and Peter Beinart . Several common themes come up repeatedly, themes that may very well animate a new progressive consensus on foreign policy. But despite their ambition, the contributions in question address only vaguely the inevitable moral and strategic dilemmas that would-be Democratic policy-makers will have to face. Beinart's book, for example, is an invigorating call to arms. But critical questions remain unanswered. Yes, we must promote democracy abroad. We must offer a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East. But the battle we fight today is different than the one we fought in the Cold War for a fundamental reason: If we...

Vision Gap, Part I

“Don't doubt yourselves. We know who we are.” Senator Barak Obama said those words to an audience of progressives in a well-received speech at the Take Back America conference in June. If only it were true. When it comes to foreign policy, we do not know who we are, at least not yet. Today, significant fault lines divide the left on a host of major foreign policy questions. If such disagreements were simply a matter of differing policy prescriptions, that would be one thing. But the divisions are of a more fundamental nature -- a product of competing meta-narratives liberals hold to understand America's role in a post-9/11 world. There have been sustained efforts by Democrats of late to close ranks and present a unified front. Bill Clinton has said that “we ought to be whipped if we allow our differences over what to do now over Iraq divide us.” Even despite these differences, most progressives now agree that the Iraq adventure, for all the promise it might have once had, has proven a...