profile image

Bessma Momani

Senior Fellow, CIGI

Dr. Momani is a senior fellow at The Centre for International Governance Innovation, and associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo and the Ballsillie School of International Affairs. She resides in Waterloo, Canada.

During the Egyptian crisis in early 2011, Bessma commented widely for national and international media, drawing on her extensive research on the country’s political and financial structures from 2002 to 2006, including her book, IMF-Egyptian Debt Negotiations (American University of Cairo Press, 2006), and her articles, “A Middle East Free Trade Area: Economic Interdependence and Peace Considered” (The World Economy, 2007) and “Promoting Economic Liberalization in Egypt” (Middle East Review of International Affairs, 2003).

Two of Bessma’s edited books, Shifting GeoEconomic Power of the Gulf (co-edited with Matteo Legrenzi, Ashgate, March 2011) and Targeted Transnationals: Arab-Canadian Immigration and Integration (co-edited with Jenna Hennebry, 2013), illustrate the continued diversity of her research interests. She is the author of a number of other edited books on Canada and the Middle East and on Reconstructing Iraq. In addition to her media work, she is the author of over two dozen scholarly articles in economic and political science journals.

Dr. Momani is an associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo and the Ballsillie School of International Affairs and resides in Waterloo, Canada.

Without Better Public Services, the Middle East and North Africa Will Continue to Suffer

With recurring outbreak of conflict or violence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, focusing on implementing essential services may seem like a secondary concern. Conversely, the low-quality services may be the root of the problem. Poor state performance is exacerbating tensions in society, deepening mistrust and discouraging citizens from engaging with the state. Public institutions that deliver essential social services are not responsive to citizens' needs, leaving citizens to abandon the system and seek alternative means.
04/30/2015 12:16 EDT
Shutterstock / Bruce Raynor

It's Time to End Our Dependence on Oil

Periods of instability that punctuate oil price history, highlight the importance of energy sector reform, which can be made all the more effective if paired with climate change considerations. To avoid climate change pitfalls created by falling oil prices it is necessary to approach environmental reform in new and innovative ways.
04/22/2015 01:02 EDT
SAEED KHAN via Getty Images

Why G20 Photo-Ops Are Still Important

Since its creation, the key impetus of the G20 meetings has been to get the most important leaders of the G20 in a room to decide on ways to promote economic growth and help solve the economic, political, and social issues of the time. In absence of a crisis, many of the G20 meetings will be little more than photo ops, unlikely to result in any profound policy moves. But these photo ops are still important and valuable in signalling to markets and the global community that the G20 leaders have their eye on the ball.
11/14/2014 10:41 EST

What's Next in Tayyip Erdogan's Complicated Political Drama?

If Erdogan were to run for President, he would be effectively taking a demotion from the all-powerful position as Prime Minister. And while Erdogan had tried to propose constitutional amendments to increase the powers of the Presidency, he has thus far been unable to endow the role with the power for him to play a musical chairs with the current President Gul in August.
04/16/2014 12:32 EDT

Seeing Syria's Horrors: A Message for Finance Ministers

In the coming weeks, we can hope that finance ministers from some of the world's most developed countries take heed and remember the real victims of Syria's war: its people. As they attend the IMF-World Bank to talk about their budgets, they must not forget their financial commitments to Syria. Political leaders, too, must look at their collective influence and ability to address a conflict that has limped from one tragedy to the next.
04/12/2014 12:30 EDT

Why the Turkish Election is a No-Win Situation For Many Turks

Many in the AKP and the Republican People's Party (Turkey's largest opposition party, known as the CHP) have long argued that the Gulen movement is a cult. Given their shadowy, cultish characterization, they've been accused of running the show behind the scenes, in selected professional circles, while excluding outsiders.
04/02/2014 06:29 EDT

Egyptians on a Military High Will Crash

After three years of violence and uprisings, the Egyptian people needed a fix. the Egyptian Army's chief, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi would be the drug of hope to soften the pain of a country that on so many socio-economic and institutional measures is quite simply failing. Sadly, Egyptians on this high will crash and rock bottom will be a deep hole indeed.
02/21/2014 12:25 EST
- via Getty Images

Arming Iraq to Fight Al Qaeda Has a Downside

The Maliki government is up for re-election this spring and its support base in Baghdad has lived through an already horrific year of terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, Maliki has been given an international green light to bomb and annihilate Al Qaeda forces in Anbar province. The international community is misguided to think a military solution will fill a political vacuum.
01/28/2014 05:27 EST

Trends and Challenges in Philanthropy and Development

Like many global governance dilemmas, the solution may lie not in creating new organizations, but in improving existing ones. Deep structural governance reforms of organizations like the World Bank and the OECD's DAC program are necessary to make them more inclusive of rising economic powers.
11/14/2013 12:42 EST

Why Should Developing Countries Be Preached To By the G7?

Post-crisis regulatory reform efforts show that developing countries are rule takers and G7 countries are the rule makers. All this in spite of the fact that the epicentre of the international financial crisis occurred in developed countries. So why should many of the regulators and supervisors in developed countries claim to know best practices for developing countries?
10/18/2013 08:03 EDT

One Phone Call Is Hopeful for U.S.-Iranian Relations

For nearly 34 years, the United States and Iran have declared each other sworn enemies. Last week's phone call between the two countries' presidents -- the first in almost 30 years -- represents a remarkable opportunity to end this hostility. The lines of communication need to stay open.
10/04/2013 12:20 EDT

Should We Have Democracy on Demand?

Before there was a Facebook page for everything, democracy was built on the bargaining of ideas at political party conventions. Critical discussion can't and won't take place in the streets and squares of a capital near you. It is time to realize that there is simply no app for democracy.
10/04/2013 09:16 EDT

Surrendering Chemical Weapons Didn't Save Gaddafi - And it Won't Save Assad

Assad has bought himself years of effective non-interference in Syria's domestic affairs, including his ongoing quest to crush his opponents. But this does not presuppose his long-term victory -- the international community's brief romance with Moammar Gaddafi ended swiftly when the Benghazi rebels looked like a sure bet to overthrow his regime.
09/28/2013 07:45 EDT

How Obama Should Sell His Message of Intervention

A military intervention in Syria must be made for the sake of the Syrian people. It is understandable that the United States may want to intervene because of its geo-strategic interests but framing this intervention in any way but a way to rescue future Syrian civilians will lose the moral high ground and with it the Arab and Muslim public opinion.
09/11/2013 05:35 EDT

How Do We Stop Syria's Sickness from Worsening?

The Assad regime continues to kill indiscriminately in a desperate effort to regain control. The merciless army it has deployed to wipe out dissent is destroying entire rebel-held towns. The horrifying chemical weapons attacks it most likely carried out on innocent civilians may be only a terrible prelude to more massacres.
08/30/2013 05:29 EDT

Is Egypt's True Enemy Paranoia?

During the short-lived rule of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood complained bitterly about the "deep state" while liberal-secularists accused the Brotherhood of consolidating power throughout Egypt to push through its conservative social policies. In rebutting these claims, each side accused the other of sheer paranoia.
08/23/2013 05:24 EDT

How Arab Youth Make the Middle East an Up and Coming Market

In my new study in Global Policy, I make the case that the Middle East is actually a region to watch as an up-and-coming economic market that will be ripe for business opportunities, investment and economic growth. The reason I'm so optimistic? The Arab youth -- yes, youth.
08/06/2013 12:13 EDT

Egypt's Military Leadership Is Playing with Fire

Whatever Egyptians want politically, they don't want the current violence and chaos to continue or worsen, which is exactly what Sisi invited with his Wednesday speech when he called for Egyptians to return to the streets. The coming days in Egypt will be violent and unsettling to watch.
07/25/2013 05:27 EDT