Arab Spring's First Harvest
1 | TUNISIA
The results are in, and the Islamists have won. In Tunisia's first democratic election since the January revolution that ousted President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, the Ennahda party got 40% of the votes, far more than any other party. Ennahda, a once outlawed Islamist group, will now lead an assembly to draw up Tunisia's new constitution, paving the way for parliamentary and presidential elections next year. Party leader Rachid Ghannouchi, who for decades lived in exile, has promised to work closely with liberal and secular parties. Ennahda officials stress the moderate nature of their Islamist politics. Years of secular authoritarianism in Tunisia have created a society in which the urban elite feel as European as they do Arab. Critics fear that Ghannouchi's big-tent rhetoric belies the conservatism of his populist base and that policies drawn from the harsher tenets of Shari'a may creep into the political process. How Ennahda accommodates the concerns of the opposition will be a bellwether for the Arab Spring. Islamist parties, for decades the most visible opposition to Arab dictatorships, are expected to do well wherever democratic elections are held, starting with Egypt in late November. But Western alarmists often overstate the danger of political Islam. The Muslim world is home to many democratic parties guided by Islamic values, some of which, like Turkey's AK Party, defend state secularism.
What other Islamist parties are doing:
The AK Party has ruled since 2002, expanding the NATO-member country's influence in the Middle East while preserving pro-Western policies
Since the first elections held after the fall of the secular dictator Saddam Hussein, the Islamic Dawa Party, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has been in power alongside a coalition of other Shi'ite parties
The Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, may emulate Ennahda's success in upcoming elections
'I suspect that the 7 billionth citizen, a child, will be born into a world of contradiction.'
BAN KI-MOON, U.N. Secretary-General, discussing with TIME's Bryan Walsh the social and economic inequities that face the world's population, which hits 7 billion Oct. 31
A Long Goodbye
3 | IRAQ
President Obama announced that all U.S. troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011, ending a nearly nine-year war effort. Even though the date had been agreed to by the Bush Administration, Republican presidential hopefuls seized on the withdrawal as a mark of Obama's weakness. The U.S. will keep training Iraqi security forces and may deploy up to 5,000 private security contractors in the country.
Show Me Your Money
2 | U.K.
A year after stunning the world with thousands of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks may be on the verge of folding. Founder Julian Assange, who is still fighting extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual misconduct, says a "financial blockade" imposed by credit-card companies may soon bankrupt WikiLeaks.
Looking for Hope
4 | TURKEY