By Nir Boms and Erick Stackelbeck
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 4, 2004
Last month, as Yemen hosted the Sana’a Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the Role of the International Criminal Court-the first such event in a country long wracked by internal strife and despotism-the Bush administration was undoubtedly keeping a watchful eye. With Afghanistan and Iraq inching slowly towards reform, Libya apparently coming clean about its WMD program, and Syria and Iran under increasing U.S. pressure, the Yemeni government’s talk of democracy appeared to be another step toward the fulfillment of President Bush’s vision of a free Middle East. But in Yemen, as in most Middle Eastern countries, there is a fine line between rhetoric and reality.
By Nir Boms and Erick Stakelbeck
Published July 14, 2004, The Washington Times
One of the more intriguing aspects of last week’s transfer of power in Iraq was the reaction it drew from neighboring governments in the region, particularly those that, traditionally, have been anything but democracy-friendly.
Iran’s mullahs, for instance, “welcomed” the transfer as giving “sovereignty back to the majority of the Iraqi people.” Likewise, Jordanian government spokeswoman Asma Khader labeled the move “a step toward rebuilding political, economic, security and social institutions in Iraq,” while Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher called it “an opportunity for [the Iraqi people] to take control of their own affairs and restore complete sovereignty.”