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July 2, 2015

Middle East


After Ramadi, Militias in the Lead
Kirk H. Sowell

The fall of Ramadi on May 17 has had two key repercussions, neither of which will be reversed by simply retaking lost ground. Read More


The issues this week’s terror menu raises
Rami G. Khouri

Identifying more honestly the combination of reasons that drive ordinary citizens into the arms of killers has stumped Arab and Western authorities for decades, though any Arab teenager could probably explain in five minutes what ails them, and channels some of them into criminal acts. Read More


Netanyahu and the Iranian Threat
Owen Alterman

Some say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is obsessed with the Iranian nuclear issue. Some say he just cares deeply about it. Owen Alterman reflects upon how Jewish history influences the leader's policies today. Read More


How a Nuclear Deal Helps Democracy in Iran
Nader Hashemi

The debate on the Iran nuclear deal has largely ignored the effects that an accord might have on politics and society within the country. An Iranian scholar considers what the future might hold. Read More


Signs of a more effective Palestinian strategy?
Rami G. Khouri

Two initiatives this week may well point the way towards a more effective path of political and diplomatic struggle that could overcome the constraints now suffered due to Palestinian fragmentation. Read More


How Iraq is Driving Itself to Hunger
Hadi Fathallah

The fight against the Islamic State has disrupted food production in Iraq, but the Iraqi government is in no shape to fill the food gap. Read More


Good Grief: ISIS Cannot be Fought with Facebook Likes
Rami G. Khouri

ISIS and Al-Qaeda can only be fought by cutting out from beneath their feet the combination of policies and conditions in the Arab region that deeply offend and threaten ordinary citizens, and ultimately turn a very small number of them into ISIS recruits. Read More


To Obey the Law or Continue Criminal Actions?
Rami G. Khouri

Four very different approaches on to how to resolve situations of violence, atrocity, and occupation. Read More


Ending the Iranian-Saudi Cold War
Reza Marashi

Renewed diplomacy between two regional powers is critical to building durable security in the Middle East. Read More


The U.S. Supreme Court Wisely Upholds the Law
Rami G. Khouri

The Supreme Court's recent decision could prove consequential in the years ahead, as the political battle between Israelis and Palestinians continues to find its way into American courts. Read More


The Brotherhood's Changing Approach
Abdelrahman Youssef

The Brotherhood’s youth wing is pushing the group toward confrontation with the Egyptian state. Read More


Iran's Stakes in Syria's Economy
Salam al-Saadi

Although political considerations are the main drivers of Iran’s policy toward Syria, economic interests are playing an ever greater role. Read More


The Spirit Lives, in Gdansk and Beirut
Rami G. Khouri

Remembering the life and work of the late Samir Kassir, who was assassinated ten years ago in Beirut. Read More


Hamas's Islamic State Woes
Benedetta Berti

The rise of the latest manifestation of the Salafi-jihadi camp in Gaza is politically worrying for Hamas. Read More


ISIS Attracts Because Arab Systems Repel
Rami G. Khouri

Along with strong military actions, the Arab world must take parallel political steps to defeat ISIS. Read More


A New Role for the UN in Western Sahara
Jacques Roussellier

In the absence of open dialogue on the Western Sahara issue, the United Nations is pursuing a middle-of-the-road approach to accommodate the demands of both Morocco and the Polisario. Read More


The Moroccan Left's Dilemma
Imad Stitou

Although the Moroccan far left recognizes that boycotting elections will marginalize them further, their anticipated participation is unlikely to secure them any gains. Read More


Egypt's Liberal Economic Agenda
David Butter

Egypt is back in the favor of global business, but will it be able to sustain that interest? Read More


Attack ISIS' Drivers to Defeat It
Rami G. Khouri

It’s not the war against ISIS that is “long,” it’s rather the conditions of inequity, oppression, imperial reach, state violence, and mass deprivation that have gone on for so long that they have finally erupted in the form of the terrible revenge called ISIS. Read More


Gulf Countries Shape a New Political Order
Tarek Osman

With its financial leverage and soft power, the Gulf has become an important orchestrator of the pace and direction of change in the Arab world. Read More


Narrow Ethno-nationalism Plagues All in the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

The Middle East continues shifting toward increasingly narrow state identities and government policies that are defined by a combination of narrow ethnicity, increased militarism and religious conservatism. Read More


Postcard From Iran
Ann M. Lesch

Iranians are hopeful for a finalized agreement between Iran and the United States that will renew relations between the two countries. Read More


Egypt, 1984
Laila El Baradei

Today's Egypt looks troublingly similar to Orwell's dystopia. Read More


Vulnerable, Abused Citizens Lead to Unstable States
Rami G. Khouri

Arab societies are brittle, volatile, violent and fragmenting in many cases because there is no effective check on the exercise of power by indigenous or external powers, which leaves average Arab citizen totally exposed and helpless. Read More


Grasp This Window to Hold Killers Accountable
Rami G. Khouri

A UN report that addresses the actions of Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza war is an opportunity to dare to move towards holding chronic killers accountable. Read More


The Rise of Iraq's Militia State
Kirk H. Sowell

Amid the fight against the Islamic State, Iraq is witnessing another struggle for power between Abadi’s nationalist Shia factions and Iranian-backed militias. Read More


Threats and Responses in the GCC's New Militancy
Rami G. Khouri

Will the GCC’s new militarism respond to the long list of perceived troubling regional threats as well as it already responds to the GCC’s need to safeguard its own national interests? Read More


A Struggle for the Soul of Islam
Tarek Osman

In the post-revolution MidEast, Islam isn't only a refuge in a world in which all ideologies and systems have been crumbling, it's also a powerful cause to be defended. Read More


Our Homemade Weapons of Our Own Mass Destruction
Rami G. Khouri

Wildly flashing red lights telling us to stop building one-way highways to hell for tens of millions of our children who are denied the most important opportunity of their lives. Read More


Judicial Reforms in Tunisia
Sarah Mersch

Long-needed reforms to Tunisia’s judiciary may soon emerge, but structural reforms are just one of the many daunting tasks ahead of the branch. Read More


A Question About Policy in Yemen
Rami G. Khouri

America’s top officials seem comfortable continuing an approach in Yemen even though in the same breath they acknowledge its dangerous consequences for the Arab world. Read More


Iran Accord Could Spark Momentous Regional Changes
Rami G. Khouri

The consummation of a full, multi-decade agreement on Iran’s nuclear program is likely to have monumental consequences across the entire Middle East. Read More


Rare Courage, Respect, Reciprocity Drove Iran Deal
Rami G. Khouri

The agreed deal on Iran’s nuclear program that was reached Thursday represents a monumental achievement that affirms the power of reason and diplomacy over the ravages of fear and warfare. Read More


Keeping Egypt's Lights On
Alfred Jasins, Brendan Meighan

To address the country’s growing energy needs, the government is granting the private sector a leading role. Read More


Yemen's War is Debatable, but Probably Historic
Rami G. Khouri

Simultaneous adjustments at national, regional and global levels have been taking place across the Middle East region since the end of the Cold War. The Saudi-Yemen situation is important because it captures developments at all three levels. Read More


City of Lies
Holly Dagres

A study of love, sex, and death in Tehran Read More


Dark New Geopolitics of the Middle East
Hooshang Amirahmadi

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the European colonial order, a third wave of geopolitics has been making its way into the region's political geography since the end of the Cold War. Read More


Noble Jews and Bloodthirsty Arabs
Matthew Berkman

A dehumanizing portrait of Palestinians from an Israeli LiberalRead More


The United States and Palestine
Rashid Khalidi

Despite direct and continuous American diplomacy for decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has raged on and on. A Middle East scholar deconstructs seven decades of failed American policy. Read More


America's Middle East Challenge
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Mehrdad Saberi

Washington’s foreign policy rests on shaky ground due to longstanding mistrust by Arabs and Iranians alike. To ease tensions and fight terrorism, the United States should support a new order based on cooperation among regional powers. Read More


Egypt's Leaderless Revolution
David Ottaway, Marina Ottaway

The January 25 Tahrir Square uprising raised high hopes for change after years of dictatorship. But the failure of revolutionaries to organize and unite doomed the prospects for democracy. Read More


Arab Peacemaker
Cairo Review

Lakhdar Brahimi is the Middle East’s elder statesman. He speaks about the impact of colonialism, the rise of political Islam, and his life as a United Nations diplomat. Read More


Media Policy and Freedom of Expression
Nabil Fahmy

Discussing “freedom of expression” in the same conversation with “media policy” may imply that they are mutually exclusive concepts, but that is a false premise. Read More


Oriental Hall, Etc.
Owain Richards

Happenings, speakers, and events at the American University in Cairo. Read More


Schooling Egypt
Sarah El-Shaarawi

The country faces an education crisis of what may well be historic proportions. Read More


Four Active Arab Wars Stem from a Common Malaise
Rami G. Khouri

Yemen is not really about the legally authorized use of force to ensure a calm Arab future. Rather, it is mainly a testament to the marginalization of the rule of law in many Arab countries in our recent past. Read More


The Islamic State's Strategy in Libya
Kevin Casey, Stacey Pollard

Lacking close ties to Libyan social groups, the Islamic State’s strategy focuses on accelerating state collapse rather than acquiring territory. Read More


The United States Should Now Respond to the Arab Peace Plan
Rami G. Khouri

The Obama administration is doing something that no other American administration has ever dared to do, which is to confront and challenge Israel in public on the core issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Read More


One Arena and Two Players
Rami G. Khouri

After a strong victory by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and a consolidation of rightwing sentiments, Israeli-American relations is the critical arena, and the European and Palestinian leaderships are the two pivotal actors to watch. Read More


What's Next for Netanyahu?
Lisa Goldman

Recent Israeli elections may spell victory for the prime minister, but his pre-election moves could create challenges for his government. Read More


Four Middle East Cities Today Might Define Our Fate
Rami G. Khouri

The fate of this region remains in the hands of its people. How current events in Tikrit, Cairo, Tel Aviv and Tehran play themselves out will shape our fate for generations to come. Read More


The Challenges of Mobilizing Sunni Tribes in Iraq
Raed El-Hamed

If Iraqi parties cannot agree on a unified vision for the National Guard, options will remain limited for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. Read More


Syria Reflects Wider, Older Arab Troubles
Rami G. Khouri

The Middle East is likely to endure many years of dislocation and violence until local authorities re-establish order that is based on a more credible social contract among citizens who feel they belong to a state. Read More


Will the March Investment Conference Launch Egypt’s Economic Recovery?
Amr Adly

Egypt’s leaders hope that foreign investors, led by the Gulf states, will provide much-needed capital. But the fall in oil prices may make it difficult for them to help. Read More


Drama Becomes Farce in U.S.-Israeli Ties
Rami G. Khouri

Netanyahu just tore up the rulebook, and nobody is quite sure what will happen next in U.S.-Israeli relations. An unsanctioned, thriving Iran that is not a nuclear threat would force a new balance of power in the Middle East. Read More


Sisi's Parliamentary Fears
Mohamed El-Shewy

Driven by its distrust of organized political groups, Sisi’s regime has gone to considerable lengths to depoliticize the parliament and the country’s new “political” elite. Read More


Another Blow to the Farcical 'Peace Process'
Rami G. Khouri

All concerned should be braced for some bad things to happen in the arenas of security, political rhetoric, administration, finances and economy, and physical and psychological well-being of citizenries on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Read More


Netanyahu's Grand Speech, to Uncertain Effect
Owen Alterman

The Israeli Prime Minister's speech to the United States Congress stole the show in American media, but it will likely have little impact on policy or Israeli elections. Read More


The Battle Forces Against ISIS Remain Incomplete
Rami G. Khouri

If ISIS and other such movements are to be defeated, we need to see tangible signs of change in the way Arab societies are governed. Read More


The Egyptian Pope's Risky Partisanship
Johannes A. Makar

Pope Tawadros II, the main political voice of the Coptic community, has seemingly allied with President Sisi, but this comes at the expense of defending Coptic rights. Read More


A Milestone in United States-Israel Relations
Rami G. Khouri

The fact that we now see strong, public criticisms of Netanyahu from the belly of the Israel-loving beast that is the U.S. Congress suggests that a significant political and historical marker has been passed. Read More


Kurds' Electoral Gamble
Mustafa Gurbuz

Kurds will benefit from the HDP’s decision to run as a party in Turkey’s parliamentary elections, but the party will bear most of the risk. Read More


Sisi's Joint Arab Military Idea is Stunningly Idiotic
Rami G. Khouri

The idea of joint Arab action for common security needs is a good one in principle, but given the legacy of Arab military actions at home and abroad, it makes no sense whatsoever, on many counts. Read More


Honesty and Dishonesty in Fighting Violent Extremism
Rami G. Khouri

Unusual for American senior officials speaking about the Middle East or Arab-Islamic dynamics, a case of refreshingly accurate, honest and relevant talk from a U.S. president. Read More


Only Fools Confuse Religion with Criminality
Rami G. Khouri

Declaring that Islam is at war with itself, or that we witness a battle for the soul and heart of Islam, is vulgar, reductionist and essentialist. Read More


An Interview on Moroccan Salafi-Jihadists
Mohammed Hakiki

Mohammed Hakiki talks about Morocco's efforts to crack down on recruitment networks for ISIS in the country.Read More


Rep. John Yarmuth Matters and Deserves Our Respect
Rami G. Khouri

The American representative will not be attending Netanyahu's speech to the U.S. Congress. It's worth understanding his reasons. Read More


The Fight for Mosul: Learning from the Past
Renad Mansour

The Islamic State will only be ousted from Iraq’s second largest city if Sunni tribal forces join the fight. That will require rebuilding their trust in Baghdad. Read More


Tunisia's Majority Unstable Government
Sarah Mersch

Tunisia’s new coalition cabinet is hardly a beacon of stability, confronting ideological differences between four different parties. Read More


How to Innovate Islamic Thinking
Tarek Osman

The solution is for religious institutions to widen their scope of research, limit their scope of social supervision, and open their doors. Read More


Yemen and the Agony of the Modern Arab Era
Rami G. Khouri

While Yemen is a telling lesson in how not to practice stable statehood, it also requires more urgent attention because it poses real and major danger to others in the region and the world. Read More


Saudi Troubles in Sanaa
Khaled Fattah

To protect its security interests in the long term, Riyadh may have little choice but to engage with the Houthis. Read More


Syrian Refugees and Regional Security
Benedetta Berti

The international community has heavily invested in the armed forces of Syria’s neighbors, but hard security cannot be achieved without more robust humanitarian aid. Read More


Jordan Today Reflects Arab Strengths and Weaknesses
Rami G. Khouri

Jordan’s dilemma, which is on full display today, is that its strengths are also its weaknesses. Read More


Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt Offer Real Choices
Rami G. Khouri

Tunisia, Bahrain and Egypt show us the options we face. I honor and choose Tunisia, as I suspect do most of the 360 million Arabs who can speak freely, if they are not in jail and have not had their citizenship revoked. Read More


A Generational Battle Among Brothers
Mostafa Hashem

Youth members are now assuming a more active role in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, pushing the group to escalate its call for revolutionary action against President Sisi. Read More


Limitless Ambitions of Yemen’s Houthis
Nabeel Khoury

The first of the Houthi wars started, in 2004, while I was the chargé at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. A decade later, the Houthis have taken over Yemen’s capital, pushing the fragile country toward an uncertain fate. Read More


No Succession Drama, But Plenty of Regional Drama
Rami G. Khouri

Regional and foreign policy is the arena where traditional conservative Saudi values and operating methods run up against the challenges of modern geopolitics and aggressive initiatives by many other states and non-state actors. Read More


After King Abdullah, Continuity
Frederic Wehrey

Despite the speculations over the effects of Saudi succession, the kingdom’s foreign policies are likely to remain unchanged and have been remarkably consistent since the reign of King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz. Read More


Egypt’s Two-Faced Policy on Human Rights
Sherif Mansour

Egypt’s attempted reconciliation with the international community and securing of foreign support, investment, and aid are not possible as long as Egypt holds at least 12 journalists behind bars. Read More


Israel vs. Hezbollah-Syria-Iran
Rami G. Khouri

Because of the tangled dynamics of Hezbollah’s relations inside Lebanon and around the Middle East, the Israeli attack in Syria — an almost routine event in the last few decades, sadly — actually hit three targets in one, namely Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. Read More


The Libya Conundrum
Karim Mezran , Tarek Radwan

What is happening in Libya? And how will Egypt react? Read More


Should We Welcome, Fear or Ignore the Quartet?
Rami G. Khouri

The Quartet was a good idea that initially aimed to expand the circle of major parties that lent their weight to achieving a negotiated peace. That never happened for several reasons. Read More


Tests for Egyptian Journalists
Naomi Sakr

Despite hopes for greater press freedom after the 2011 uprising, Egypt today is one of the most dangerous places in the world for reporters. Battling censors and evading detention is all in a day’s work. Read More


Dangerous Occupation
Joel Simon

Digital technology is enabling the spread of news and information across borders and around the world on an unprecedented scale. Yet, the challenges and risks facing professional journalists have never been greater. The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists tells the story. Read More


Barack Obama's Lost Promise
Magda Shahin

Without a more consistent and effective implementation of the policy, the promise of a better American relationship with the Muslim World will remain elusive.Read More


Arab World on the Precipice
Nabil Fahmy

Now more than any time in recent memory, the Arab World as a political entity is confronted with ominous threats and hair-raising domestic and regional challenges. Read More


Oriental Hall, etc.
Rozina Ali, Owain Richards

Happenings, speakers, and events at the American University in Cairo. Read More


Candygirl
Jonathan Guyer, Sarah El-Shaarawi

Mohamed Tawfik is the Egyptian ambassador to the United States. Literature, as much as diplomacy, is Tawfik’s passion. Read More


A Better Citizen
Rozina Ali

Mahmoud El-Gamal will be forever nostalgic about his days as an economics undergraduate at the American University in Cairo. In July, he became the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. Read More


The Charlie Hebdo Dilemma and Islamic Institutions
Tarek Osman

In the vagueness of their response, Islamic leaders are missing an opportunity to lead the global conversation. Read More


Problems in Paris and Khartoum
Rami G. Khouri

A bad week in the continuing saga of an Arab world in search for decency, democracy and development, which remain elusive despite the proven thirst for these things across the region. Read More


Egypt-Gulf Ties and a Changing Balance of Regional Security
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

In the volatile post-Arab Spring landscape, Gulf Cooperation Council states have sought to influence developments in Egypt through aid and diplomacy. Read More


Time for Serious Palestinian Leadership
Rami G. Khouri

Serious issues of national fate require serious leadership, and Abbas does not fit that bill any longer. Read More


A Moment to Recall the Corrosion that Threatens Egypt
Rami G. Khouri

The Al-Jazeera journalists must be freed, but so also must the Egyptian and Arab people be freed from the crippling, deadly grip of military rule. Read More


What to Watch for at the UN Security Council
Rami G. Khouri

An important debate will soon take place at the UN Security Council on draft resolutions to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We should pay attention. Read More


How Fares the Global War on Terror?
Rami G. Khouri

The more the GWOT continues, the greater seems to be the expansion and impact of the very terror groups it seeks to defeat, with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra being the most recent examples. Read More


The Angels and Devils of Our Last Four Years
Rami G. Khouri

We know today about both our angels and our devils, and they will battle for our souls for some years to come. We have become normal countries, in the early years of our painful birth. Read More


The Case Against an Alliance with Assad
Heiko Wimmen

Realpolitik, rather than ethics, provides the most powerful arguments against the growing calls to forge a deal with the Syrian regime. Read More


Imperial Crimes in the United States and the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

Is the United States the shining republic, or just another banana republic? Is this a moment of pride or shame for Americans? Right now, it seems to be a bit of both, but how it emerges in the longer term remains to be seen. Read More


Libya’s Southern Rivalries
Rebecca Murray

Rival factions in Libya have allied themselves with groups in the south, intensifying local conflicts and disrupting security in the border zone. Read More


More Simplistic Nonsense from the United States Government
Rami G. Khouri

Until Arab, Western and other foreign rulers accept that their policies were the main underlying reason that allowed ISIS and other such movements to come into being, statements such as John Kerry’s this week will only meet with ridicule and disbelief. Read More


Sinai Campaign a Boon to the Islamic State
Mostafa Hashem

Support for the Islamic State in Sinai and across Egypt has risen as youth grow convinced that the state’s violence can only be met with counter-violence. Read More


Egypt is Sad, But Still Hard to Read
Rami G. Khouri

The acquittal of former President Hosni Mubarak last weekend marks a symbolic nail in the coffin of the uprising and revolution that overthrew his government in February 2011. It is tempting but reckless to make definitive judgments about the meaning of the extraordinary stages of Egyptian political life since then.Read More


Obama’s Dangerous Embrace of War
Rami G. Khouri

Ignoring the US public’s sentiments, presidents continue to use the country’s enormous capabilities to wage war around the world at will — usually create more havoc and generating new dangers that did not exist previously.Read More


Imagining a New Arab Order
Tarek Osman

The Arab World is witnessing ideological, sectarian, and ethnic conflicts. A new Arab order will emerge out of these ruins, but it will take time. Read More


Important Lessons from the Iran Negotiations
Rami G. Khouri

Decisive yet sensible leadership among those involved in the talks has been able to triumph over extremist ideological positions of domestic foes, and scare tactics of perturbed foreign parties like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Read More


Only Active Citizens Can Save Their Precarious States
Rami G. Khouri

The precarious status of half a dozen countries, which run the risk of collapsing or fragmenting into smaller units, is a defining issue of the Arab world today. Read More


A New Sectarian Force for Iraq
Raed El-Hamed

Plans to build a national guard force risk widening sectarian divisions in Iraq and pushing more Sunnis toward the Islamic State. Read More


Algeria’s Police Riots
Abdallah Brahimi

The power struggle between the Algerian presidency and DRS prevents any fundamental reforms that could address the underlying demands of police protesters.Read More


Is Jerusalem the Last Battle?
Rami G. Khouri

Living in a political vacuum, Palestinians in Jerusalem have only themselves to rely on to defend their lands and rights, and in cases of extreme threats and violence used against them, they resort to violence such as we are witnessing these days. Read More


Brotherly Love in the GCC
Suliman Al-Atiqi

Renewed high-level diplomatic activity between Qatar and Saudi Arabia may end their historic row as the GCC seeks policy alignment, particularly on security issues. Read More


President Rivlin’s Important, Intriguing Gesture
Rami G. Khouri

One of the few times in recent memory that a senior Israeli official makes a personal gesture that touches the core of Palestinian pain. Read More


Houthis on the Rise in Yemen
Mareike Transfeld

Although the Houthis are well-poised to acquire new territories and increase their influence within Yemen, neither development will bring about peace or prosperity for the country. Read More


Egypt Follows U.S. and Israeli Failed Strategies
Rami G. Khouri

When heavy-handed anti-terror actions demean, kill, injure or ruin the lives of civilians, some of these civilians end up joining the militant groups, simply to exact revenge against those who attacked them. Read More


President Al-Sisi's Worldview
Marc J. Sievers

A former senior official at the U.S. embassy in Cairo describes how Al-Sisi's background is shaping his approach to domestic politics, counterterrorism, Israel, and other issues. Read More


Lessons from the Historic Tunisian Elections
Rami G. Khouri

The Tunisian elections were the most significant domestic and national political development in the history of the modern Arab world since its creation a century ago. Read More


The Challenges of Rebuilding Gaza
Mohammed Samhouri

Gaza cannot be rebuilt in a political vacuum; and conditions alone placed on international funding of Gaza’s reconstruction are not likely to work. Read More


Egypt’s 1984
Sharif Abdel Kouddous

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s steps to quash dissent exceed the Mubarak era’s in scope and intensity. Read More


ISIS is the Latest of Many Different Islamisms
Rami G. Khouri

ISIS, like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas, Gamaa Islamiya, non-violent Salafists, militant Salafist-Takfiris, Al-Qaeda and others before it, is a symptom of, and a reaction to, deeper ailments in Middle Eastern society. Read More


The Mideast: More Explosive than Ever
Tarek Osman

The Middle East’s strategic landscape has been changing at a rapid pace. Two recent events are noteworthy. Read More


New Hare-Brained American Ideas in the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

Why does the United States repeatedly discard the relevance of human nature and history when it unleashes its guns and goes into action around the world? Read More


What Lies Ahead for Algeria?
Sada Debates

Algeria’s future is filled with confusion and concern. Four experts on Algeria take an in-depth look at the changes to come. Read More


Refugees Themselves Can Crack This Tough Nut
Rami G. Khouri

An ICG report, “Bringing Back the Palestinian Refugee Question,” is a timely and convincing reminder of why the Palestinian refugees must be central actors in the quest for a negotiated resolution of their conflict with Israel. Read More


In Vienna, U.S. and Iran Working to Beat the Clock
Reza Marashi

Thousands of miles away from the spin factories in Washington and Tehran, negotiators are working diligently to seal the deal. To hear the Europeans tell it, a deal is within reach. Read More


Three Questions to Ask before Unleashing the Military
Rami G. Khouri

If any foreign power asked about the legitimacy, the efficacy, and the consequences of its military involvement in other countries before actually launching such militarism, it might be possible to minimize the negative consequences that we have experienced in the Middle East in recent decades. Read More


Maher-Affleck Debate: An Islamic View
Tarek Osman

Bill Maher’s assertion that Islam inspires conflict is wrong. But Ben Affleck’s impassioned defense—that most Muslims just want to live peaceful lives—also ignores the fact that today the Islamic world is extremely violent. Read More


Tunisia’s Uncertain Elections
Sarah Mersch

Talk of Tunisia’s elections has focused on parties and individuals, not issues, leaving many citizens unsure for whom to vote. Read More


How to Assess Fragmenting Arab States
Rami G. Khouri

Seven issues gauge the real power and longevity of non-state actors, alongside the dilution of state authority. These seven are Identity, Sovereignty, Territoriality, Service-delivery, Legitimacy, Nationality, and Statehood. Read More


Turkey’s Waiting Game on the Syrian border
Nabeel Khoury

After three years of hesitation, Turkey has signaled its readiness to play a more active role in Syria and to join the recently formed coalition against ISIS. Read More


Desperate Netanyahu Sticks to Old Lies
Rami G. Khouri

The repeated mistake Netanyahu makes—or perhaps it is a deliberate lie—is to see any movement or rhetoric in the Middle East that references Islamic values as a dangerous threat.Read More


What’s at the Heart of Lebanon’s Troubles?
Sada Debates

Four experts on Lebanon take an in-depth look the country’s stability. Read More


Palestine’s Moral Force Needs Diplomatic Power
Rami G. Khouri

Abbas is making decisions on his own without consulting widely among all Palestinians, and he is using the ICC as a threat, when it should be a central component in any Palestinian strategy that seeks to hold Israel accountable to the international rule of law. Read More


An Arab Revolution, Born from Ruins
Tarek Osman

At a private gathering last week, the Middle East editor at one of the world’s leading newspapers described the Arab world as “a comprehensive mess.” Is it? Read More


Scramble for Iraq
Nabeel Khoury

America’s toppling of Saddam Hussein unleashed new forces in the Middle East. The latest fallout: the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Read More


Foreign Policy Mess
Cairo Review

Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, is a harsh critic of the Bush administration he served from 2001 to 2005. The retired U.S. army colonel discusses the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the end of the American Empire. Read More


Back to the Future
Laila El Baradei

I have to wonder if we Egyptians are traveling backwards in a time capsule. Lately, we seem to have arrived in the 1960s. Read More


Oriental Hall, Etc.
Rozina Ali, Aaron T. Rose

Happenings, speakers, and events at the American University in Cairo. Read More


Architecture for All
Fernanda Uro Aboites

Magda Mostafa, an architecture professor at the American University in Cairo, is a pioneer in practical solutions to the challenges of living with autism. Read More


The Man Behind "Unmanned"
Robert Greenwald

A Hollywood director tells how he tracked down an American drone pilot and Pakistani victims of drone strikes to make the powerful documentary film Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars.Read More


Creating or Evading the Gates of Hell?
Rami G. Khouri

Three principal developments in and around the Arab world: The combined American-Arab Gulf states air strikes in Syria, the control of the Yemeni capital by Houthi rebels, and the meeting in New York between the Saudi Arabian and Iranian foreign ministers. Read More


Shameful Hamas-Fateh Behavior Must Stop
Rami G. Khouri

That Hamas and Fateh do not consummate a unified Palestinian government does not only reflect irresponsibility and incompetence on their part, but in view of the difficult context for Palestinians as a whole it is nothing less than a crime. Read More


The Reluctant Posse
Rami G. Khouri

It is not surprising that when the threat becomes really serious, Arab leaders wait for the United States to save their skins. Read More


How to Defeat ISIS
Tarek Osman

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is the first jihadist group to control a major area at the heart of the Islamic and Arab world. But the group’s real novelty and peril lie elsewhere: in the sophistication of its operations. Read More


Liberty and Security in Tunisia
Omar Belhaj Salah

The increased role of Tunisia’s security apparatus is generating fears of a potential return of the police state. Read More


President El-Sisi Faces the World
Nabil Fahmy

I invite President El-Sisi to deliver a historic speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly appropriate for the magnitude of the challenges and the occasion—and Egyptian prestige. Read More


The War about The War
Mark Perry

Israel’s public strategy has come in for widespread scrutiny, both during and after Operation Protective Edge. After Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, the criticism continued to mount. Read More


Reactionary Satire in an Egyptian Zombie Flick
Meir R. Walters

A recent zombie film illustrates how such pro-regime messaging is making its way into commercial entertainment; it satirizes Islamists and leftists and glorifies the military. Read More


Turks and Arabs
Tarek Osman

The eastern Mediterranean, the region that separates Turkey from North Africa and the Gulf, is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Read More


Polarization and Solidarity Coexist in Arab Societies
Rami G. Khouri

Why is it that otherwise rational men and women cannot sit down together and hammer out agreements on fair power-sharing, representation, decision-making, and accountability?Read More


Hard to Be Confident in the Coalition-to-Come
Rami G. Khouri

Several troubling aspects of the American-led military plan to defeat the “Islamic State” Read More


Confronting the Islamic State
Hassan Hassan

Airstrikes against ISIS will provide the Syrian opposition an opportunity to work alongside countries that long doubted its ability to rule a post-Assad Syria. Read More


We Do Not Need a Rerun of the War on Terror
Rami G. Khouri

The GWOT, with its armed invasions, regime changes, drone fleets and other means, has only sustained and even expanded the Al-Qaeda/“Islamic State” phenomenon, because the twin drivers of Arab-Asian autocracy and foreign aggression remain virtually untouched. Read More


The Islamic State and the Cost of Governing
Mona Alami

Although the Islamic State gained access to significant resources in Syria and Iraq, budgetary constraints will hinder the group’s expansionist aims.Read More


Strengths and Weaknesses in the Palestinian Initiative
Rami G. Khouri

Abbas is behaving more like a parent who promises his or her children a birthday surprise than a responsible leader who has been handed responsibility for the fate of some eight million Palestinians entering their fourth generation of exile, occupation and refugeehood. Read More


Panic or a Coming of Age in the Gulf?
Rami G. Khouri

The UAE air attack in Libya clarifies a major shift underway in the worldviews and self-perceived roles of leading Arab states, who now throw their weight around the Middle East in a direct manner they never did previously.Read More


The Riddle of Citizen Views on Arab Statehood
Rami G. Khouri

Citizens will rebel against their central state if they do not feel that their needs are being met equitably, or that they are being mistreated by the government and its military forces. Read More


Mubarak’s Last Word
Tarek Osman

The real value of Mubarak's trial lies in the debate it has unleashed among Egyptians—especially young Egyptians—concerning their attitude toward authority.Read More


Israeli Propaganda Starts to Wear Thin
Rami G. Khouri

More and more governments and observers around the world have realized that Hamas and Hezbollah have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, rejecting Israeli propaganda. Read More


An Alternative to Intifada
Hugh Lovatt

For Palestinians, this is a period of frustration over the status quo, limited political horizons, and the hollowing out of Palestinian democratic institutions. Read More


Iraq Is the New Proving Ground for Arab Statehood
Rami G. Khouri

Islamic State-type rule has no more chance of giving Arabs a decent life than did the centralized police state or the corrupt sectarian state that Arabs have endured for decades. Iraq is the place now where this issue will be put to the test.Read More


Debating a Kurdish State
Serhun Al

Prospects for an independent Kurdish state are hampered by security challenges, internal competition, and insufficient international support. Read More


Either the U.S. defeats ISIS, or Iran does
Nabeel Khoury

The Obama administration’s current efforts against ISIS are of a tactical nature and will not serve to defeat or dislodge it from the areas it now occupies. Read More


Letter from El-Sahel
Tarek Osman

Since the mid-1990s, El-Sahel’s 250-kilometer strip has become the prime summer destination of Egypt’s upper classes. Read More


Zionism vs. Arabism, Not Hamas in Gaza
Rami G. Khouri

It is easier for American-Israeli propagandists to highlight Hamas’ militancy rather than to grapple with the fact that all Palestinians — and most of the world, actually — support the demands that Hamas has articulated and that have been negotiated by the all-inclusive Palestinian delegation in Cairo.Read More


Revived PLO Is Now a Top Priority
Rami G. Khouri

The most important political action the Palestinians should take now is to rapidly reconstitute the institutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), so that Palestinians speak with one voice and benefit from the total backing of the eight million or so Palestinians around the world. Read More


The Islamists Ahead in Morocco
Maâti Monjib

With the exception of the Islamists, Morocco’s political parties have failed to take advantage of the post-2011 openings in political space. Read More


A Ceasefire Would Beckon Real Leaders to Act
Rami G. Khouri

If any real leaders and statesmen and women exist out there who can respond to this challenge, now is the time to stand up and act.Read More


Sisi’s Dilemma
Scott Williamson

As long as Sisi remains heavily dependent on the military and other state institutions, he can neither push too hard against their interests nor count on them to always back his policies. Read More


From Biblical Wars to Justice for All
Rami G. Khouri

This round of attacks by Israelis and Palestinians may prove to be most significant for pushing all concerned to seek a permanent resolution of this conflict, rather than letting it fester in 19th Century colonial mode. Read More


Legitimizing Crackdown on Dissent in Jordan
David Bishop

Proposed amendments to Jordan’s anti-terror law threaten free expression and may exacerbate the very problem they are hoping to address. Read More


Washington Absurdity, Arab Helplessness
Rami G. Khouri

Washington’s quest for a ceasefire in Gaza while wholeheartedly supporting and arming Israel’s onslaught against Palestinian civilians reflects the frightening extent of bankrupt Arab diplomacy and the true nature of the US government siding with Israel. Read More


Islamic State in Syria, Back With a Vengeance
Hassan Hassan

The Islamic State is trying to consolidate its presence in Syria and gain territory using new strategies during its latest push. Read More


A Century of Zionist-Palestinian Wars
Rami G. Khouri

Exiled and subjugated communities like the Palestinians behave in ways that seem strange to middle class consumers in faraway lands. This can only be understood by appreciating the nature of “resistance” and the allure of “liberation.” Read More


Lessons from the Renewed Attacks in Palestine and Israel
Rami G. Khouri

This is the tragedy of what happens when determined warriors and mediocre political leaders on all sides meet in the arena of clashing nationalisms. Read More


Hamas and Israel at the Brink
Benedetta Berti

A mutual desire to show strength has escalated the conflict, and although neither side wants another war, it may already be too late to pull back. Read More


Local Sentiments, As Always, Will Shape the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

This eclectic, unpredictable, wildly gyrating human will to survive that treats borders, invading armies and local rulers as just one more threat to resist or one more party with which to make a deal. Read More


America and Iran Face the Future—in Iraq
Reza Marashi

After eleven years of pursuing zero-sum security strategies in Iraq, both Tehran and Washington are slowly admitting that they have badly overreached. Read More


The Struggle for Iraq’s Future
Rozina Ali

Does the rise of Islamic extremism prove that Iraqi democracy was doomed to fail?Read More


After the Iran Nuclear Deal
Seyed Hossein Mousavian

The P5+1 talks are not just about Tehran’s atomic program. A comprehensive agreement should serve as a model for negotiations on a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Read More


Concept Pop
Ganzeer

Pop Art is fun. But does it embody meaning? The same question can be asked of higher-brow Concept Art. Some Egyptian artists are taking objects like soda cans and bottle caps and making statements relevant to the masses. It could change everything. Read More


Revolution to Revolution
Nadia Radwan

Artists have spent a century claiming Egypt for the Egyptians. Now the powerful murals of January 25 have created a new public space dedicated to every citizen. Read More


Tehran Bazaar
Joobin Bekhrad

The capital of the Islamic Republic is the new art mecca? When it comes to culture, it’s not your ayatollah’s Iran anymore. Despite continuing pressures including censorship, the country’s art scene is flourishing. Read More


The Art Effect
David Joselit

Art in our age is more than the Mona Lisa. The construction of major new museums like the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar and even an outpost of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi reflects the expansion of a global civil society. Read More


A Street Called Mohammed Mahmoud
Amanda E. Rogers

The walls of Mohammed Mahmoud Street, with their vibrant murals portraying the unflinching gaze of blinded protesters, or the serene smiles of winged martyrs, are witness to the wounds of Egypt’s ongoing revolution. Read More


Theory Y and Egypt’s Bureaucracy
Laila El Baradei

If employees are treated with respect, fairness and equity, they will become committed to the organization. In the real world, it turned out not to be that simple, especially in our Egyptian public service organizations. Read More


Oriental Hall, etc.
Rozina Ali, Anny Gaul

Happenings, speakers, and events at the American University in Cairo.Read More


Failures Everywhere in Western Asia
Rami G. Khouri

Moving decisively to bolster legitimate local forces breeds success; moving gingerly to identify people who will friend you on Facebook is really stupid.Read More


U.S. Actions in Iraq Refute Obama’s Fine Rhetoric
Rami G. Khouri

American policies in the Middle East reflect confusion and some dishonesty at three levels, leaving Obama’s sensible rhetoric and analysis largely invalidated by the impact of American actions on the ground. Read More


The Rise of ISIS, a Golden Opportunity for Iraq’s Kurds
Sirwan Kajjo

As Iraq’s central government struggles against ISIS, the Kurds quietly take another step towards independence. Read More


The Arabs’ 100-Years War
Rami G. Khouri

Groups like ISIS have no future in the Middle East, but they will be a major problem for some years to come, until legitimate statehood and efficacious governance take root—which will happen only with the validation of states by their own people. Read More


More Than ISIS, Iraq’s Sunni Insurgency
Hassan Hassan

Maliki’s alienation of Sunni actors is at the heart of ISIS’s success in Iraq. Read More


Facts and Talks Are Better than Threats and Wars
Rami G. Khouri

The accusations against Iran, like those against Iraq over a decade ago, are based largely on highly dubious evidence that is exaggerated by a parallel streak of Israeli or neo-conservative American ideological extremism. Read More


Iran: Syria’s Lone Regional Ally
Karim Sadjadpour

For Tehran, the Syrian conflict is at the center of an ideological, sectarian, and geopolitical struggle against a diverse array of adversaries. Read More


The Frightening Thing about ISIS and Iraq
Rami G. Khouri

ISIS is frightening, to be sure, but not because it portends our future; it is frightening because it reminds us of the criminal incompetence of ruling Arab regimes during nearly the past half century. Read More


Jordan’s Ambiguous Syria Policy
Marwan Muasher

Amman is increasingly pursuing a policy of supporting neither the regime nor the opposition in Syria while quietly working to help resolve the conflict. It has few other options. Read More


ISIS and the Anbar Crisis
Raed El-Hamed

Despite recent success in Mosul, ISIS is still trying to solidify its fragile gains in Anbar province, particularly following heavy losses in Syria. Read More


A Painful Guide to Arab Decay...and Rebirth
Rami G. Khouri

The situation in Iraq is the most agonizing because it captures the tragic and combined failures of successive regimes that transformed what should have been a showcase of modern Arab development. Read More


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