Andrea Taylor

  • Muqtada al-Sadr: From US Foe to Iraqi Kingmaker

    The checkered and turbulent past of the man best poised to take on the role of “kingmaker” in Iraq may return to impact his ability to form a government, and Iraq’s relationship with the United States.

    The ethnically and politically diverse Alliance of Revolutionaries for Reform, led by prominent Iraqi political figure Muqtada al-Sadr, won the greatest number of seats in the May 12 Iraqi parliamentary elections on an anti-corruption, Iraq-first platform. Whether Sadr has the ability and desire to form a government committed to a better future for all Iraqi people, remains uncertain.

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  • Iraqi Parliamentary Elections in a Fragmented Political Landscape

    The Iraqi parliamentary elections on May 12 are likely to be critical in their symbolism but far from definitive in their outcomes. Free and fair elections that lead to the peaceful political transition of members of the Council of Representatives—a process consistent with the 2005 Constitution—could help to solidify Iraqi democratic confidence. Nonetheless, how Iraqis vote is unlikely to clarify the political trajectory of the state.

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  • Syria: Mission Accomplished?

    The morning after US, French, and British jets targeted chemical weapons facilities in Syria, US President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter to declare “Mission Accomplished.”

    That declaration—the two words that former US President George W. Bush came to regret—has left many scratching their heads.

    “I found the comment itself puzzling because I don’t know what exactly the president (or the briefers at the Pentagon press conference) mean by it,” said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “They seemed to pitch it as meaning ‘successful operation.’”

    Itani said there was no doubt that the strikes hit their targets without any loss of US lives or equipment. “But if ‘Mission Accomplished’ is supposed to mean that Bashar Assad has been deterred from using chemical weapons, the most that I can say is ‘maybe,’” he said.

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  • Taylor Quoted in The Arab Weekly on U.S. Facing Challenges on Middle East Issues

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  • How Legal Reform Can Drive Social Change for Women in Tunisia

    While women in the Middle East and North Africa still face critical challenges, it is worth noting recent progress on the occasion of international women’s day. Many countries across the Middle East have taken recent steps to codify certain rights for their female citizens. With the introduction of quotas for their legislative bodies, female representation in parliament in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia has jumped since 2011. Last year, lawmakers in Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon repealed provisions in their penal codes allowing rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Even Saudi Arabia has taken a progressive step and issued a royal decree in September 2017 allowing women to drive.

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  • What’s Next? Seven Years After Tunisia’s Spring

    Seven years after the 2011 Arab uprisings, Tunisia remains the only country to have emerged from the sweeping changes that took hold in the region as a fledgling democracy. Since then-President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali stepped down from power of January 14, 2011, Tunisia has accomplished a number of major successes, including holding free and fair national elections, fostering political compromise, implementing reforms to institute equal protection for men and women under the law, and making progress on freedoms of expression and belief. Economic challenges and political setbacks, however, could upset Tunisia’s advances.

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  • Tunisia’s Democracy: Between Economic Reform and Public Engagement

    Tunisia’s transition to democracy is in a difficult spot: the public is frustrated with the political and economic situation, but the political elite are shying away from needed public engagement. Two recent events stand out: the 2018 draft budget law put forward this month and the recent postponement of the local elections to next year. By postponing the elections, Tunisian politicians forwent an opportunity to engage the citizenry at a time when that dialogue will be critical—as the government begins to implement economic reforms that are expected to grow its economy, changes will also bring layoffs and tax hikes to a population already largely dissatisfied with its government’s performance.

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  • A Way Forward for Devolving Local Power in Libya?

    Despite the signing of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) in Skhirat in 2015, the political situation in Libya appears no closer to being resolved. Indeed, there is now a widening consensus within Libya and among concerned states that the LPA must be amended. Over the last two years, cleavages within Libya deepened amid exacerbating interference from regional and international powers with divergent interests in the conflict. The fractured state of politics at the national level delayed top-down approaches to recovery and reconstruction. As an interim step, in concert with broader efforts to reform the LPA, UN negotiators should consider a process of devolving some power in Libya to local governing bodies.

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  • Taylor Quoted in the Arab Weekly on the Breakdown of Relations Between Turkey and Germany/the US

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