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April 24, 2014

Middle East


Cure Rot by Exposing It to Fresh Air
Rami G. Khouri

I applaud the decision to withdraw the honorary degree invitation, because Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s wild and mostly false criticisms of the Islamic faith should not be honored with a degree from a quality university like Brandeis. Read More


The Undecided in Egypt’s Presidential Election
Magued Osman

We asked 2,034 respondents, “If the presidential elections were tomorrow, for whom would you vote?” Thirty-nine percent named former army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as their preferred candidate. Read More


Another Hollow Arab 'Reform' Promise"
Rami G. Khouri

Despite a few Arab dictators having been toppled or challenged by their own disgruntled citizens, the remaining ones appear not to have learned any lessons, and persist in their cruel ways in one hapless country after another. Read More


What Will a Sisi Presidency Bring for Egypt?
Sada Debates

Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi formally declared his intention to run for president of Egypt on March 26 and is widely expected to win. Yet his administration will have to confront a range of delicate issues within a deeply divided political climate. Read More


Hints for a Workable Negotiating ‘Framework’
Rami G. Khouri

I am disappointed that the Palestinians, Israelis and Americans have been unable to get beyond the old, failed approach to diplomacy. Read More


Egypt’s Wiretapping Scandal
Mohamed Abdel Salam

Egypt’s reaction to the domestic wiretapping of activists and politicians does not bode well for the future of citizens’ rights and the rule of law. Read More


Turkey’s Democratic Future in Suspense
Kerem Öktem

Turkey's local elections were hotly contested, taking place amid a controversial official ban on YouTube and Twitter. What was it that made these elections somewhat less local than usual? Read More


Exclusive Q&A: Kerry's Mideast Policies
Cairo Review

Ambassador Thomas Shannon is described by colleagues as a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s inner circle. He calls himself a “utility infielder” on Kerry’s team, and last week he was in Cairo talking with Egyptian officials about economic issues. He is currently counselor of the State Department. Cairo Review Managing Editor Scott MacLeod interviewed Shannon in Cairo on April 3, 2014. Read More


America's Jewish Mainstream Goes Rogue
Matthew Berkman

An increasingly panicked and isolated right-wing donor base is waging a scorched earth campaign against the very foundations of contemporary American Zionism. Read More


Tunisia Polices Cyberspace
Karina Piser

Despite the ouster of Ben Ali, Internet freedom remains limited in Tunisia, stifled by inefficient institutions and insufficient political will. The widely praised constitution, which lacks provisions specifically protecting personal data, does little to mitigate these risks. Read More


Fueling Egypt’s Economy
Max Reibman

The short-term woes of Egypt’s oil and gas industry will continue until underlying structural issues are addressed, regardless of changes in broader political instability. Read More


Mass Death Sentences in Egypt Highlight Need for Judicial Reform
Sahar Aziz

An Egyptian judge issued a death sentence for 529 defendants without a proper trial on March 24. The judiciary’s legitimacy was the 530th casualty. Read More


Please Spare Us the Gamal Abdel Nasser Imagery
Rami G. Khouri

This week’s announcement by ex-Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Sisi that he will run for the presidency of Egypt was fully expected since the massive, sustained cult-like hero worship campaign for him first materialized last June. Read More


Letter from Iraq
Nabeel Khoury

In late February, the U.S. State Department protested a $195 million Iran-Iraq arms deal. In a recent trip to Baghdad, that small arms deal with Iran seemed like a small matter indeed to most. Read More


The Media’s Effects on BDS
Adam E. Gallagher

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanction movement (BDS) has been increasingly presented in the media as a legitimate social movement aimed at securing rights for Palestinians in Israel, "under occupation," and in the diaspora. Read More


Palestinian Refugees and the Siege of Yarmouk
Natasha Hall

The siege of Yarmouk, which started in July 2013, changed the dynamics of the Syrian conflict. Not only has it discredited the Assad regime as a champion of the Palestinian struggle but also Palestinians’ own leadership. Read More


The Double Agony of Syria As Arab Mirror
Rami G. Khouri

Syria encapsulates all of the ailments and distortions that have shattered the modern Arab world. Read More


The Dangers of Alienating Egypt’s Youth
Mustafa Hashem

Egyptian youth are growing more disillusioned following the government’s crackdown on opposition demonstrations and jailing a number of secularist and Islamist opponents. Read More


The Shame of Ailing Old Arabs Who Cling to Power
Rami G. Khouri

Is there no limit to the assault on the basic rights and fundamental humanity of Arab citizens? The latest insult to common human decency and the struggle of hundreds of millions of Arabs for democratic and accountable governance emanates these days from Algeria, where Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced earlier this week that he is running for his fourth consecutive term as president. Read More


Egypt’s Economy and the Fall of the Beblawi Government
Mohammed Samhouri

The unexpected resignation of the entire interim cabinet of Egypt on February 24 should serve as a reminder of just how acute and intricate the economic crisis is that faces the country since Mubarak's ouster three years ago. Read More


The Unparalleled Magic of City and Stage
Rami G. Khouri

I attended the excerpted readings of the first English translation of the late Syrian writer Saadallah Wannous’ play 'Rituals of Signs and Transformations.' Not an earth-shaking event, but I was struck by the tremendous power that cultural performances can have in creating appreciation and respect among Americans and Arabs who otherwise spend much time mocking, abusing and killing each other. Read More


Questions for Egypt's Next Vote
Magued Osman

I do not normally engage in hypotheticals. But questions of “what if?” open the door to self-examination, to lessons learned from experience. It is on this basis that I want to ask “what if?” to evaluate the Egyptian constitutional referendum, which passed in January. Read More


What Are the Motives and Meanings of a Jewish State?
Rami G. Khouri

The Jewish state concept is not defined, it does not take account of the Palestinian Arab and other non-Jewish Israelis, it does not address the implications of such recognition for the UN-acknowledged rights of the Palestinian refugees, and it does not have any basis in prevailing international law or diplomatic norms related to how states recognize each other. Read More


Palestinians Can Rectify Negotiating Weaknesses
Rami G. Khouri

Striking in this whole process is the almost total absence of initiatives by the Palestinian leadership, and the necessary mobilization of the three critical support communities that can help advance the Palestinian diplomatic position.Read More


Lebanon’s Precarious New Government
Mario Abou Zeid

Tensions stemming from the ongoing Syrian conflict and Hezbollah’s continued military participation in it could lead to the government’s failure. Read More


The Core Issues for Israelis and Palestinians
Rami G. Khouri

With perhaps just weeks to go before the United States unveils its framework accord that it hopes will prod Palestinians and Israelis towards a comprehensive negotiated resolution of their conflict, it seems that every dimension of this conflict is generating new ideas, trial balloons, or fresh pressures on both sides, as the moment of truth for both sides approaches.Read More


An Interview with Moroccan Journalist Ali Anouzla
Maâti Monjib

“Fifteen years of Mohammed VI’s rule has proven that there is no political will to liberalize the public media or guarantee independent journalism.” Read More


How's Gaza?
Julia C. Hurley

Having recently returned from spending a year in Gaza working with the UN, one would think I’d have an easy answer. Gaza is a daily struggle and a constant feeling of being on the edge of conflict. Read More


Why the Salafist-Takfiris Should Worry Us
Rami G. Khouri

These groups did not just suddenly appear in the past three years of the war in Syria; rather, they have been incubating slowly for a much longer period of time because of the slow deterioration in conditions in various Arab countries during the past quarter century or so. Read More


Salute Tunisia and Emulate It
Rami G. Khouri

Tunisia was the first Arab country ever to draft its own constitution, which came into force in 1861, and fittingly it is now the first Arab country to draw up a really meaningful and legitimate constitution after a popular revolution that removed a long-serving autocratic government. Read More


Assessing the Syria Talks in Geneva
Amr Al-Azm

After a round of talks between the regime and the opposition, little has been resolved. The Al-Assad regime has no incentive to enter these negotiations with any seriousness; the opposition has no meaningful or effective leverage to convince the key actors to bring significant pressure to bear on the regime. Read More


Historic Framework or Reheated Old Coffee Dregs?
Rami G. Khouri

The widespread anticipation among what seems like just 27 people in the United States who follow the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations is that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will soon table a set of American positions or proposals for the key elements of a “framework agreement” that would define the next phase of the permanent status talks and extend them beyond the April deadline.Read More


Tunisia’s Kitchen Sink Constitution
Karina Piser

On January 26, 2014, the Tunisian constitution passed with 200 out of 216 votes. Continued disagreement over Islam’s social and political role, however, is the new constitution’s blueprint. Read More


Nile View: Managing Egypt
Laila El Baradei

Since the January 25 Revolution three years ago, we have witnessed five changes of government, yet citizens are still complaining about government performance in general. What is it that other nations do, and do well, that Egyptians can learn from? Read More


Oriental Hall, etc.
Rozina Ali, Deena Refai

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


Comic Relief
Jonathan Guyer

In the tumultuous three years since the Tahrir Square uprising, a number of young Egyptian cartoonists have persevered to defend a crack of space for free expression and dissent. Read More


Wisdom Amid Chicanery
Rami G. Khouri

The American people must decide if they will ever hold accountable in a court of law those senior American officials who offered lies, deceit and wasteful war to their traumatized people in 2001-2003. Read More


How to Curate a Revolution Museum
Jonathan Guyer

The Arab American National Museum is hosting an exhibition on art and protest in the Arab world, "Creative Dissent: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings." Scholars Christine Gruber and Nama Khalil have curated a powerful array of snapshots from Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. Read More


Why is the Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Eroding?
Benedetta Berti, Zack Gold

Each side’s strategy to preserve deterrence threatens the uneasy equilibrium, creating a permanent security dilemma. Read More


Hollywood and Real Life
Rami G. Khouri

If you think the controversy of actress Scarlett Johansson’s relationships with Oxfam and the Israeli company Sodastream is a minor side story about Hollywood celebrities, think again. Read More


In Egypt, Autocracy Gains Ground
Reem Saad

Many Egyptians danced with joy at the constitutional referendum, which made for a pretty diversion. But electoral integrity and freedom cannot be measured by a few dances in front of polling stations. Read More


President Sisi Rides Precarious Passions into Office
Rami G. Khouri

It is fitting that Egyptian armed forces commander Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Sisi has decided to assume the presidency of his country, because two of the three main problems that Egypt faces are a consequence of his own decisions during the past year. Read More


Tunisia’s Compromise Constitution
Sarah Mersch

Tunisia’s struggle to agree on a constitution that satisfies both the conservative-liberal majority and the liberal opposition is giving way to consensus in many critical aspects of the new constitution. Read More


The Graffiti Speaks Eloquently
Rami G. Khouri

The most fascinating thing I saw in Cairo was the range of graffiti scrawled across walls, advertising billboards, street signs, flower pots, park benches and any other surface that allowed Egyptians to express their political sentiments. Read More


When Ambiguity is Destructive
Khaled Elgindy

In Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, “constructive ambiguity” has succeeded only in producing confusion and eroding trust between the parties. If U.S. officials hope to salvage what prospects remain for a two-state solution, they should be prepared to paint a clear picture of the endgame. Read More


Vengeful Justice in Egypt
Mohamed El-Shewy

Based on statements from the Ministry of Transitional Justice and Reconciliation, the current government’s approach to transitional justice will likely be highly skewed, exclusionary, and directed at one faction. Read More


The Larger National Tragedy of Ariel Sharon
Rami G. Khouri

The wildly divergent appraisals of the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are as passionate and contradictory as he was in life. Read More


Al-Qaeda Has No Future in the Arab World
Rami G. Khouri

Many people in the Middle East and abroad are rightly concerned about the rise and impact of hardline Salafist-takfiri fundamentalist Islamist groups that have recently proliferated and controlled territory in Iraq and Syria. Read More


Lebanon’s $3 Billion Question
Rami G. Khouri

What should we make of the sudden announcement earlier this week that Saudi Arabia was providing the Lebanese armed forces with $3 billion to upgrade its capabilities? Read More


An Anticlimactic Referendum in Egypt
Nathan Brown

The approval of the constitutional referendum is a foregone conclusion, and the result is likely to resolve little. Indeed, the constitution and the referendum are more likely to exacerbate tensions and divisions in Egyptian politics than to form part of a democratic transition. Read More


Four Trends to Watch in the Year Ahead
Rami G. Khouri

The longevity and lasting impact of current changes and turbulence across the Middle East are hard to define today. This is because some developments are dramatic and very consequential in the short run—like Islamists winning free elections or Salafist-takfiris controlling areas in Syria—but may not have lasting impact in a year or two. Read More


Maliki's Troubles
Fadel Al-Kifaee

As Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki prepares to make a third run in the Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary elections, daunting challenges appear ahead. More than ever, Maliki stands as a dividing figure in Iraqi politics—his opponents are numerous and diverse, but the strongest opposition, political and religious, comes from within his Shia community. Read More


The Railroad Crossing Mentality
Magued Osman

A railroad crossing is not simply a place, but a mentality that has permeated into the Egyptian national psyche. This mentality has a number of components that not only explain train wrecks, but also illustrate a common denominator in the way in which we confront issues of national importance. Read More


Which Iran Will We Choose?
Trita Parsi , Bijan Khajehpour, Reza Marashi

We have a golden opportunity to test win-win proposals through concrete actions that can facilitate a new, cooperative relationship with Iran and its people, void of the painful baggage of the past. Read More


Transitional Justice Elusive in Egypt
Yussef Auf

Only under a system of accountability, efficiency, and equality will Egypt be able to move forward with its transition. But the demands for transitional justice have consistently been framed in very broad terms, without a clear detailed vision of how they would be applied in Egypt’s specific situation.Read More


Year Four of the Arab Awakening
Marwan Muasher

How will history judge the uprisings that started in many parts of the Arab world in 2011? Read More


The Risings Three Years On
Rami G. Khouri

When the fruit and vegetables peddler Mohammad Bouazizi set himself on fire in the rural Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid on December 17, 2010, his spontaneous act comprised a combination of protest, self-assertion and defiance that resonated instantly and widely across the entire Arab world. Read More


Is John Kerry Serious?
Rami G. Khouri

We seem to have entered that inevitable moment when the United States would stop trying to be a low-key and totally ineffective mediator between Israelis and Palestinians, and instead play a more decisive role by offering its own proposals on a permanent peace agreement. Read More


Rapid Population Growth Imperils Egypt
Magued Osman

If fertility rates are high, Egypt's population will break 100 million by 2025, and reach 140 million by the year 2050— a scenario that can be described as the "national suicide." Read More


Algiers and Rabat, Storm or Spat
Jacques Roussellier

The UN Mission in Western Sahara is halfway through its extended mandate, which stands to be renewed again in UN Security Council discussions in April 2014. Meanwhile, Algerian diplomatic efforts have successfully cornered Rabat on the thorny issue of human rights. Read More


To Push Back Mideast Gloom
Rami G. Khouri

There are so many troubling signs of dysfunctional political life in the Arab world that it is refreshing to note three simultaneous developments this week that give us more hope for a stable, normal future. Read More


Women: One Tenth of Society
Magued Osman

In the wake of the January 25 revolution, the Egyptian political scene has undoubtedly been exclusionary to Egyptian women. The biggest surprise has been the continuation of this stance under the secular current's guidance. Read More


Egypt’s Draft Constitution Rewards the Military and Judiciary
Nathan Brown, Michele Dunne

The draft constitution submitted to Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, on December 2 settles a few important matters—it enhances the status of the state institutions that banded together against the Muslim Brotherhood, including the military, judiciary, and police. But it leaves other equally important questions unanswered. The sequencing, system, and timing for presidential and parliamentary elections remain unclear, for example, issues that are particularly fraught because Defense Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who removed Mohammed Morsi from power in July, might run for president.Read More


Losing Syria’s Economic Future
Mona Alami

The Syrian conflict is destroying the economy and creating a long term economic crisis for Syria that will make a lasting peace in the future even more difficult. Read More


Old Men’s Guns vs. Civil Rights
Rami G. Khouri

We will know in the coming months whether the current “second chance” roadmap to constitutional reform in Egypt achieves that transition to democratic legitimacy that was mismanaged in the two years after the overthrow of the Hosni Mubarak regime. Read More


Cairo: Megacity Without a Mayor
Cairo Review

Mohamed Elshahed founded Cairobserver, Egypt’s first architecture and urbanism website. He speaks with Senior Editor Jonathan Guyer about the city's grit: which historic areas are at risk, what residents say about their own neighborhoods, and how the government reacts to endemic problems. Read More


Best of Cairobserver
Cairo Review

Cairobserver is a webzine that leads a conversation about the Egyptian capital. It tells the stories of Cairo’s buildings and builders, residents and municipalities. As part of our Fall 2013 Special Report on the Future of the City, the Cairo Review curates some of the perceptive posts from CairObserver. Read More


What Egypt’s Constitution Must Achieve
Seifeldin Fawzy

Egypt’s military-backed roadmap—criticized by some activists and commentators as undemocratic by virtue of its inception following President Mohammed Morsi’s ouster on July 3—is in a crucial phase. The drafting of a new constitution for Egypt has the potential to put the country on the right course. Read More


Egypt’s Al-Azhar Steps Forward
Ahmed Morsy, Nathan Brown

The downfall of Egypt’s elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013 has not resulted in the separation of religion and state in the country. Indeed, something quite different seems to be occurring: religion is being nationalized. Read More


Egyptians Love Their Country, Hate Their Government
Magued Osman

Patriotism is a natural feeling, but can the same be said about the dislike of government?Read More


The Good News Out of Yemen
Nabeel Khoury

Yemen remains the only country to have gone through the Arab Uprisings with neither a descent into civil war nor an abrupt course reversal. The good news is that Yemenis from all factions and regions are still talking; the bad news is that a couple of large bumps on the road need to be dealt with before the political dialogue reaches fruition. Read More


Keeping Hope Alive
Laila El Baradei

At present, what is of major concern to the Egyptian citizen is a need to realize the January 25 demands for better quality of life, freedom, human dignity and social justice. Read More


What Arabs Think
Rami G. Khouri

The Writing of a new Middle East narrative.Read More


A Garden in Cairo
Maher Stino

Once the site of a garbage dump, Al-Azhar Park is a verdant haven in the heart of one of the world’s most densely populated cities. The development project, led by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, achieved a grand urban vision for revitalizing center-city neighborhoods, restoring Islamic historical sites and reviving ancient crafts. Read More


The Arab Housing Paradox
David Sims

From Cairo to Casablanca and beyond, millions of Arabs live in munatiq ‘ashwa’ia, or random areas. Informal developments continue to expand in response to state failure and incapacity. Arab governments should stop focusing on hyper-modern schemes and start empowering the poor for the creation of formal, legal neighborhoods with affordable housing. Read More


Damage Control
Rozina Ali

A political prisoner freed. An affidavit documenting police abuse. An audience with lawmakers. When Egyptians rose up in 2011, human rights campaigner Heba Morayef dared to hope that such incremental accomplishments were giving way to freedom and democracy. But the dream didn’t last for long. Read More


Is U.S. Policy in Syria Changing?
Rami G. Khouri

I was struck a few days ago when I read U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement in Riyadh, after talks with the Saudi Arabian leadership, that the United States had neither “the legal authority nor desire” to intervene in Syria.Read More


Gezi Park’s Soccer Fanatics
Sean David Hobbs

Protests in Gezi Park continue to be a powerful symbol against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party. However, few outside of Turkey know that the “hooligan” soccer fans of Istanbul were instrumental in the first days of the Gezi Park occupation and protest. Read More


Egypt’s Lose-Lose Mentality
Magued Osman

Will Egypt’s political scene remain as violent and hollow as it is now? Instead of searching for a framework within which both sides can emerge as winners (if only relatively), each faction is striving to ensure that the other loses everything, even at the cost of emerging themselves from the battle empty-handed. Read More


Tunnel Vision
Zack Gold

Since June 2013,the Egyptian military has maintained its most effective operation yet against tunnel networks in the Sinai. Looking forward, though, it is unclear how long Egypt can sustain the current success in tunnel closures. Read More


Antiwar Movement Grapples with Syria
Danny Postel

What if progressives devoted just a fraction of the energy and effort that went into mobilizing against a U.S. military strike to the cause of bringing Syria’s nightmare to an end? Read More


Tunisia’s Politicians Play On
Fadil Aliriza

Recent headlines have heralded the demise of Tunisia’s governing Islamist party, Ennahda. In fact, this interpretation is misleading. Ennahda and its coalition partners committed to talks and an opposition-defined roadmap which enjoins the current government to resign three weeks from the beginning of discussions. Read More


In Yemen, Drones Aren’t a Policy
Nabeel Khoury

I recall the good old days in Yemen from 2004 to 2007—that is, relatively speaking. I was then the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, which pretty much enjoyed the run of the country. Sanaa is now classified as an unaccompanied post, meaning it is too dangerous for diplomats to bring families with them. Read More


Beauty of the Pleiades
Turki Al-Faisal

Arabs have the greatest respect for the faith and culture of Iranians, as well as the indelible Persian contribution to the marvels of Islamic society. But like all worthwhile achievements, Persia’s greatest masterpieces were the product of cooperation and education, of learning from and with people of other backgrounds. Read More


The Generals Rule Egypt Again
Rami G. Khouri

Egypt and its democratic aspirations have been grievously wounded by the swift and severe manner in which the armed forces evicted and jailed Morsi, arrested most of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, killed hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators, and then started exerting pressure on the mass media to conform to the generals’ policies. Read More


Contested Syrian Identities
Tarek Osman

Syria’s future will not depend on the actors that will dominate specific parts of the country in the medium term. Two other factors are more crucial: how the largest segments of the society will define Syria; and how that social view would affect sectarianism in the country. Read More


Tunisia’s Neglected Constitution
Robert Joyce

More than two and a half years since the revolution, Tunisia still lacks a new constitution—and no one seems to care. Although many agree on the document’s content, ongoing fights are keeping Tunisia in transition, free of the old regime but not yet able to focus on the reforms the country needs. Read More


The Limits of Reform in Saudi Arabia
Adam Coogle

The man who heads Saudi Arabia’s infamous religious police made headlines recently when he publicly acknowledged that “Islamic sharia does not have a text forbidding women driving.” For many Saudis, this statement signaled a possible sea change in attitudes among the country’s hard-line religious establishment, at least on that issue. Read More


Freezing Aid without a Strategy
Jonathan Guyer

Since Morsi's ouster, U.S. military hardware has been a stark feature of Cairo's skyline. But American policy—the reason for that military aid to Egypt—remains ambiguous. Read More


Beyond Negotiation Fetishism
Assaf Sharon

Breaking the Israeli-Palestinian impasse requires challenging the exclusivity of direct, bilateral talks. The fetishism of negotiations must be overcome, keeping in mind that negotiations are but a means to an end. Read More


Clear Options for the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

It is easy in the Middle East these days to embrace one of the two opposite poles of political sentiments that define the region today—either romantic optimism or a despairing pessimism. As usual, a more accurate and nuanced picture of reality is to be found somewhere between those two extremes. Read More


The Cost of Syrian Refugees
Nikita Malik

The cost of Syrian refugees is putting a tremendous strain on the Jordanian economy. In addition to increasing resentment within the tribal population, the presence of Syrian refugees has also provided a boost in support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan’s best-organized opposition, thereby adding to the tension the Hashemite Kingdom faces. Read More


Egypt's Choice: Constitutionalism or Imbecility
Rami G. Khouri

An Egyptian court’s decision Monday to ban all activities in the country by the Muslim Brotherhood is the kind of foolish act that autocratic governments take when they do not know how to engage in a process of democratic pluralism and seek refuge in their mistaken sense of infallibility. Read More


What Will Egypt Mean for Morocco
Mohammed Masbah

Following the events of July 3 in Egypt, Morocco’s leading Islamist Justice and Development Party risks losing some of the advantages it gained following the constitutional amendment of July 2011—not to mention fears of marginalization within an already hostile political field. Read More


Strengthening Europe’s Role in Egypt
Nathalie Tocci

Limited as the EU’s influence may be, creating incentives—such as the ‘more for more’ approach—would offer a series of benchmarks and principles for the Egyptian roadmap, especially in the field of constitution and institution building. On the other hand, maintaining business as usual risks undermining the EU’s credibility. Read More


No Alternative But Success
Nasser Arrabyee

On Sunday, September 8, members of the Southern Separatist Movement (Hirak) returned to Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC) following a month-long boycott. Their return—following a series of meetings with Jamal Benomar, the UN Envoy to Yemen, about the possibility of a separate north-south dialogue conference to be held after the NDC and to involve other separatist factions (not all of whom are party to the dialogue)—shows that Yemen’s NDC has overcome its latest hurdle. Read More


Big Issues Revolve Around Tehran
Rami G. Khouri

The Moscow-Washington tango that resulted in the Syrian chemical weapons agreement was a first class diplomatic show that will be analyzed by political scientists and pretzel makers for a generation. Every actor in the spectacle claims victory and national strategic benefits, as always occurs in successful diplomacy. Read More


Remembering Bill Stelpflug
Rami G. Khouri

Just before the Syria war, I received a letter from the mother of the late Lance Corporal Bill J. Stelpflug, who joined the Marines in 1982 and was sent to Beirut in May 1983. A massive bomb destroyed the marine barracks on October 23, and Bill died in that attack. Read More


What Next for the Muslim Brotherhood
Abdullah Al-Arian

There is an eerie familiarity to the dire circumstances in which the Muslim Brotherhood currently finds itself. As in the 2011 uprising, the 1952 revolt by the Egyptian military’s Free Officers was supposed to usher in a new era of possibilities for the Egyptian people: independence, economic prosperity, and even representative democracy. Read More


Seven Lessons to Learn in Syria
Rami G. Khouri

The diplomatic and psychological thriller of the current announced plan by U.S. President Barack Obama to attack Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people has now been dramatically shaped by the Russian proposal for Syria. We might draw some lessons so far. Read More


Deities and Defense Ministers
Rami G. Khouri

Syria is the most dramatic moment of the Middle East today, but it is not the most consequential political development in the region today. That honor would have to go to the current attempt by the interim Egyptian government to ban the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its political party. Read More


Is Saudi Arabia Stable?
Sada Debates

Saudi Arabia appears, on the surface, to have escaped the Arab Uprisings untouched. Five experts on Saudi Arabia discuss the kingdom's prospects for maintaining stability. Read More


Syria Shakes Lebanon
Nabeel Khoury

It has become a cliché among Levant scholars that Lebanon is a microcosm of the Middle East, and therefore a key to understanding the region. True enough. In Lebanon, the impact of the Syrian war is shaking the very foundation of the Lebanese social contract. Read More


Over the Brink
Heiko Wimmen

Geography and history dictate Lebanon’s inevitable entanglement in Syria’s civil war. Yet its own leaders are now pushing the country over the brink; they are gambling with the livelihood and safety of their people—with no regard or empathy. Read More


A Hard Process towards Common Values Democracy
Rami G. Khouri

I suspect that what Egypt is experiencing now is not the end of Islamist politics, but the start of its first real test in the public political sphere that is still in the process of being born in Egypt and other Arab countries. Read More


Sinai’s Role in Morsi’s Ouster
Sahar Aziz

President Morsi's refusal to employ heavy-handed tactics to stop the increasing flow of arms and militants into Sinai—and his seeming disinterest in avenging the deaths of Egyptian soldiers—led the Egyptian military to join the ranks of his detractors. Read More


Turkey Beyond Islamism and Authoritarianism
Ziya Meral

As protests spread and grew first in Istanbul, then in other parts of the country, we all struggled to conceptualize what we were witnessing. Many in Turkey opted for clear and neat narratives, which often left out other aspects of the protests and burdened events with legendary meanings ascribed onto them. Read More


Two Issues at Stake in Syria
Rami G. Khouri

It is quite stunning to experience for the sixth time in a decade a global debate about whether Western powers should use their military superiority to attack Arab countries in order to get those Arab countries to conform to “international norms.” Read More


Egypt's Copts, Between Morsi and the Military
Febe Armanios

On July 3, Coptic Pope Tawadros II appeared at a news conference alongside Egypt’s political and religious figure. He spoke briefly in support of President Muhamad Morsi’s ouster. It was the first time a Coptic pope had addressed Egyptians at an explicitly political forum, live on national television. Read More


The Agony of the Smashing of Syria
Rami G. Khouri

The vigorous debate about whether an American-led military strike against Syria would be appropriate and effective is heart-breaking, for it is agonizing to watch as another important Arab country follows the self-destructive trajectory of others before it, such as Iraq and Libya. Read More


Four Common Misconceptions Egyptians Have
Mahmoud Salem

It’s the golden age of rumors in Egypt, especially with the lack of “unbiased” news sources. Add that to the nationalistic wave in the country, misconceptions get viewed as fact. Very few people will attempt to clear those misconceptions without risking to antagonize others, but it is a risk I am willing to take. Read More


A Return of Violent Islamist Insurgency in Egypt?
Jerome Drevon

Despite extreme declarations made by shadowy groups, it is unlikely that Egypt will witness a return to the violent insurgency that plagued the country in the 1990s.Read More


When Political Clods Collide
Rami G. Khouri

Thursday of this week was a bad day in modern Arab history. The four leading Arab cities of recent eras—Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Cairo—simultaneously were all engulfed in bombings and urban warfare, mostly carried out with brutal savagery and cruelty against civilians in urban settings. Read More


Democracy versus Security
Rozina Ali

Simplifying Egypt into the narrow dualism of ‘us versus them,’ the military has re-established a dominant role for itself on Egypt’s political stage, one that has gone largely unchallenged by the Egyptian public. Read More


The Terrible Lesson from Egypt
Akram Belkaïd

It is important for us, as supporters of democratization in the Arab world, to take a stand against what is happening in Egypt. Like it or not, the Muslim Brotherhood is a key player in Egyptian political life. Killing people will not solve any problems, quite the contrary. The bloody assault against the Brotherhood protesters is a shame and a serious crime. Read More


Before the Bloodletting: A Tour of the Rabaa Sit-in
Amy Austin Holmes

For the record, not everyone who took the bullets at Rabaa belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood. I visited the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in the night before security forces besieged it. Read More


Nasrallah’s “Bring it on!” Moment
Nabeel Khoury

The Secretary General of Hezbollah's speeches are always purposeful and addressed to specific audiences. On this occasion, he wanted to buck up his Shia supporters and warn Arab states and his internal Lebanese adversaries not to be encouraged by any Western initiatives to think they could defeat his party. Read More


Knowledge Triumphs over the Knuckleheads
Rami G. Khouri

The scholarship and serious popular literature on the Arab region in much of the Western world has improved vastly in the past few years, for the simple reason that authors have been forced to write about the realities of what ordinary Arab men and women have put on the global agenda. Read More


Constitutionally Imbalanced
Maâti Monjib

Constitutional reform in Morocco appeared to give more power to the elected government and parliament. However, the palace has maintained a free hand to interpret the constitution and to keep the balance of power in the country in its favor. Read More


Egypt Must Avoid a ‘Spiral of Silence’
Magued Osman

The mistake we appear to have fallen into—in the wake of Brotherhood rule—is the search for an enemy to whom we can assign all blame for previous mistakes thereby justifying otherwise unjustifiable exceptional procedures. Such a situation will lead to mistakes being committed that are just as grievous as those perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Read More


Al-Qaeda's Criminals and the Rest of Us
Rami G. Khouri

What should we conclude about the dramatic American reaction to alleged Al-Qaeda threats in the past week? And is there a better way to analyze and respond to the threats that Al-Qaeda does represent?Read More


Tunisia and ‘the Egyptian Model’
Fadil Aliriza

Ever since the abrupt end of Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, there has been endless speculation about whether the Islamists governing Tunisia would suffer the same fate. An examination of how the similarities and differences are emphasized by the various parties. Read More


Public Attitudes on the Eve of Morsi’s Fall
Magued Osman

The degree of uncertainty that prevailed in Egypt’s political scene during the last ten days of June has certainly been unprecedented. The expectations of the political elite, both those occupying the seats of power and those standing on the front lines of the opposition, are wildly divergent. Everyone misread the popular reaction.Read More


The Washington Jerkocracy Strikes Again
Rami G. Khouri

I would love to know who the jerk is who wrote the White House’s press statement on the occasion of the inauguration earlier this week of the new Iranian President, Hassan Rowhani. I say this is the work of a jerk, or a band of war-addicted zealots in Washington, DC, because it seems designed to totally bury the opportunity that Rowhani represents to improve the wellbeing of Iranians and resolve Western-Iranian and Arab-Iranian tensions on a variety of important issues.Read More


Ennahda and the Challenge of Power
Rory McCarthy

Tunisia’s Islamist movement Ennahda is facing its most serious crisis since coming to power. At the same time the threat of Salafi radicalism is deepening in a country long presumed to be an oasis of secularism in the Arab world.Read More


U.S. Options in Syria, Scrutinized
Nabeel Khoury

For action to be taken on Syria, it is not the options or the feasibility that are lacking; it’s the political will and the realization that action not taken now is simply an action deferred. As the problem grows, the U.S. will find itself compelled to act.Read More


A Falling-Out Among Brothers?
Raphaël Lefèvre

Whether in the street or in parliament, Islamist parties and movements have relied on one key strength for their successes in the immediate post-Arab Spring period—their cohesion and unity. But this could be endangered in the wake of Mohamed Morsi's ouster from the Egyptian presidency. Read More


What Do We Learn from 45 Years of Negotiations?
Rami G. Khouri

Watching Monday night’s resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in Washington, D.C., I thought back to the last 45 years during which I have closely following Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, and have personally known many of the main negotiators and aides on all sides. So here is what I suggest we keep in mind as this process resumes.Read More


Jordan and the Wider Arab Dilemma
Rami G. Khouri

Jordan reflects the dilemma that many Arab governments and countries have experienced for years—the economy continues to grow at a reasonable pace of around three percent, as do improvements to infrastructure and basic services, but daily economic pressures on citizens also persist, or worsen in some cases, leading to chronic frustrations that take on a political character. Read More


What Will Become of Egypt?
Sada Debates

Following mass protests, Egypt’s military intervened on July 3 to remove President Mohamed Morsi from office, marking a dramatic turn in the country’s post-Mubarak transition. Four Egypt experts and Sada contributors weigh in on Egypt’s current predicament. Read More


The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat
Jennifer Rowland

Jennifer Rowland parses the tale of a State Department insider. Read More


Stumbling to Tehran
Danny Postel

Danny Postel follows the Leveretts to Tehran. Read More


Atoms for Peace
Muhammad Sahimi

Western powers suspect that Iran is developing atomic weapons. But the controversy over the country’s nuclear program obscures the fact that Iran launched its pursuit of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes a quarter century before the Islamic revolution. It was the United States that helped Iran launch its nuclear quest. Read More


Road to Nowhere
John Limbert

Three decades of American hostility to Iran has resulted in a “satisfying purity of indignation” but little more. It is time for presidential leadership, starting with small and symbolic gestures, to prevent an armed conflict that will cause irreparable damage to both sides. Read More


House of Injustice
Abdulkarim Soroush

Reflecting on democracy, the Iranian philosopher argues: “In a tyrannical system, the first organ that stops functioning is the judicial heart, and that when our heart is so feeble, having a strong and robust body is little more than a naïve and ridiculous dream.” Read More


Nuclear Narratives
Jonas Siegel, Saranaz Barforoush

Western media coverage emphasizes how Iran is a threat to global security but rarely explores the more complex contours of the dispute. Are journalists once again fueling a dangerous showdown in the Middle East? Read More


Pipeline Politics
Reza Sanati

The deal for Iran to provide natural gas to Pakistan and India promised to bolster peace and prosperity in a volatile region. Instead, it became engulfed in a geopolitical struggle. Read More


The Trouble with Sanctions
Bijan Khajehpour, Reza Marashi, Trita Parsi

Sanctions driven by the United States are now devastating Iran’s economy. But until the West lays out a detailed vision for normal relations with Iran, punitive measures may increase the risk of war. Read More


The Leader
Nazila Fathi

Iran’s colorful presidents rivet the world’s attention, but the real power in the Islamic Republic rests with a politician-cleric who is hardly known outside the country: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His story explains today’s Iran. Read More


Rowhani's Challenge
Nader Hashemi

Hassan Rowhani scored an impressive victory in Iran’s presidential election in June with the help of reformists, but can he alter the political trajectory of the country? The odds are not favorable. Read More


Power of One
Nazila Fathi

In 2003, Shirin Ebadi became the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. She has championed human rights in Iran for three decades, and was a founder of Iran’s women’s movement. Since the anti-freedom crackdown in 2009, she has traveled the globe to press the case for justice in the Islamic Republic. She speaks with journalist Nazila Fathi on Iran’s new president and the prospects for democracy in Iran. Read More


Egypt’s Predicament
Nabil Fahmy

Two and a half years after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, a year after the election of his successor, Mohammed Morsi, and after Morsi’s sudden ouster and the appointment of an interim president, Mansour Al-Adly, head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, in July, the country is still searching for its identity. Read More


An American in Tehran
Holly Dagres

As I was turning thirteen, I packed up everything I had to embark on a new life in Tehran with my Iranian mother and stepfather. In 1999, I left behind everyone and everything I knew in Los Angeles, including my American father. Read More


Spare Us the Intellectual Disneylands
Rami G. Khouri

Egypt continues to mesmerize, and, it seems, for many people around the world, to mystify, as well, at least to judge by the many wild and definitive assertions we hear every day about the consequences of developments in Egypt.Read More


Back from the Brink
Tarek Selim

Egypt’s economy is sinking under decades of misrule. Achieving a better future requires a transformation. Here’s the problem and how to fix it. Read More


Five Options for Iran’s New President
Seyed Hossein Mousavian

With President Obama calling for a diplomatic solution, and the election of Hassan Rowhani as Iran’s chief executive, a fresh approach to nuclear negotiations is possible. But if diplomacy fails, there’s an Iranian case for withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Read More


It Is 1789 in Egypt
Rami G. Khouri

I support enthusiastically the will of the Egyptian people, because in my book any citizenry that once worshipped cats and more recently removed two autocratic military and theocratic-thugocratic regimes is a citizenry defined by wisdom and sensibility. But we still do not know really what is the will of the Egyptian people, who are deeply divided, and lack the institutions of governance that would allow for an orderly affirmation of majority and minority views.Read More


The Islamic State in Context
Tarek Osman

Over the past 1,352 years, since the death of Imam Ali (Prophet Mohammed’s cousin and the fourth “Rightly Guided Caliph”), not a single state that emerged in the Arab World has been Islamic. Read More


Popular Legitimacy Asserts Itself in Egypt
Rami G. Khouri

The dramatic developments in Egypt since June 30 will continue to unfold at a brisk pace and many outcomes are possible, but we can draw four main lessons from the events to date, related to the Muslim Brotherhood, the opposition, the armed forces, and the citizenry as a whole and its determination to complete the democratic transition that started in January 2011. Read More


Make Your Citizens Happy!
Laila El Baradei

Egyptians toppled the Hosni Mubarak regime in 2011 despite a solid economic growth rate. The lesson: politicians and policymakers must give due attention to the real needs and the expectations of vast numbers in the marginalized segments of the population. Read More


Historic Street Politics in Egypt, Turkey and Brazil
Rami G. Khouri

The fascinating simultaneous demonstrations and challenges to democratically elected regimes in Egypt, Turkey and Brazil this month suggest that we need to look for an explanation for something structural in newly democratized societies, rather than seeking cultural explanations. Read More


Egyptians Assess Their Future
James Zogby

Two and a half years after demonstrations erupted in Tahrir Square leading to the downfall of the Mubarak government and one year into the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, we polled 5,029 Egyptians nationwide to assess: the public’s mood; their confidence in the country’s institutions; their satisfaction with the performance of the Morsi government; and their hopes for the future.Read More


On Religion, Politics, and Democratic Legitimacy in Egypt
Amr Hamzawy

Since the 2011 January revolution that toppled Egypt’s former regime, the relationship between religion and politics has dominated debates in Egyptian society. The subsequent transitional phase inaugurated a difficult journey toward democracy, rule of law, a citizenship-based state, and power devolution. Read More


Apocalyptic Words from Men in Hiding
Rami G. Khouri

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s broadside of sharp accusations against Hezbollah a few days ago is symptomatic of the entire Lebanese political scene and system—spirited, adversarial, apocalyptic, mostly accurate in its accusations, dire in its predictions, but probably insignificant in its practical, immediate consequences.Read More


Insights into Arab Youth Today
Rami G. Khouri

When I visited Cairo this week for the first time in nearly a year, the changed mood among young and old alike hit me in the face like the hot and dusty wind coming off the Egyptian desert. Read More


Three Hundred Days of President Morsi
Magued Osman

During Morsi’s first hundred days in office, Baseera conducted three opinion polls on presidential job approval ratings, in which Morsi enjoyed high approval. Seventy-eight percent of respondents approve of his performance, while only 15 percent disapprove. Seven percent weren’t sure. But since then, his ratings have dropped significantly.Read More


Jordan and Turkey Mirror the Citizen-State Challenge
Rami G. Khouri

The link between citizen and state is still being negotiated in almost every country in the region, even in those countries like Jordan and Turkey that have enjoyed relatively stability and improved living conditions for nearly a century or so.Read More


Freedom of Expression: The Second Arab Battle
Rami G. Khouri

Recent history suggests that states that try to restrict their citizens’ ability to speak their mind peacefully and constructively are fighting a losing battle. Read More


Of Identities and Institutions
Ibrahim Hatlani

The Saudi version of religion has proven to be an effective weapon for the monarchy to rely upon in facing political and security crises, and the rulers have become highly adept at using religion and state clerics to expand their own influence. However recently, Salafi clerics have begun to fear a change to this long held agreement. Read More


The New and the Ordinary in the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

Every once in a while the Middle East region experiences a series of major and simultaneous developments in several different arenas, indicating that something important is taking place. We are passing through just such a moment this week.Read More


Salafists on the Move
Rami G. Khouri

The sudden escalation of fighting in the north Lebanese city of Tripoli is troubling on two fronts and noteworthy on a third. The troubling dimensions are the chronic nature of urban warfare on Lebanon’s streets and the direct linkages between the Tripoli battles and the fighting in Qusayr, Syria. The noteworthy element is the growing role of Salafists.Read More


Salafism’s March through North Africa
Tarek Osman

“This is not the Tunisia we know,” the head of a respected Tunisian think tank told me as thousands of Salafists marched through the heart of Tunis’s old Medina, steps from one of its most exclusive restaurants, one that serves premium French wine under the watchful eye of a stern sommelier. Read More


China Addresses the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

I would rather have the Chinese and Russians involved in seeking some kind of breakthrough in peace-making than merely sitting on the side and leaving the arena to the hapless Americans who have proven over the past 45 years that they enjoy neither the political impartiality nor the law-based constructive rigor needed to be a successful mediator in this conflict. Read More


The Battle over Egypt’s Judiciary
Nathan Brown

Egypt’s elected Islamists have locked horns in a struggle with the judiciary that veers between full confrontation and guarded accommodation. Read More


America and a Changing Middle East
William J. Burns

I’ve learned a few things about the Middle East during my own checkered thirty-one year career in the Foreign Service. It seems to me that a workable, long-term American strategy has three inter-connected elements: support for democratic change, economic opportunity, and regional peace and security. Read More


New Spotlight on Egyptian Jews
Maha El-Kady

The ordeal of the film "Jews of Egypt" has raised many concerns about freedom of expression in Egypt and also revived a debate about the rights of Egyptian Jews. Read More


The Real Scare in Syria Is Not Chemical Weapons
Rami G. Khouri

Neither chemical weapons use nor American involvement strike me as the most significant elements of the Syria conflict that should grab our attention.Read More


Free Flow of Information
Magued Osman

The issue of free flow of information must not be seen as an intellectual luxury in a time of growing challenges facing Egypt. Rather, the issue should be tackled as a component of a package of new orientations for building a modern state.Read More


Drop the Failed Approaches and Try New Ideas
Rami G. Khouri

Much as I support any opportunity to restart Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, I doubt that we will make any progress on this front if we stick to the approach that has repeatedly failed and now seems to be replaying itself. Read More


Arab Transitions Are Slow for Good Reasons
Rami G. Khouri

As various countries across the Arab world navigate difficult transitions from former dictatorships to new forms of governance, much remains unclear in terms of exactly how much citizen participation and government accountability will prevail. Read More


Out of Egypt
Tarek Osman

Egypt’s 2011 uprising has triggered an emigration wave, which could have perilous social and economic outcomes. Read More


Stability at All Costs
Anne Wolf

While observers may disagree about the various reasons Algeria has proved thus far resistant to the Arab Spring, there can be no doubt about the role of the regime’s notorious Department of Intelligence and Security (French acronym, DRS). Perhaps aided by the lingering memory of Algeria’s bloody civil war—which took as many as 200,000 lives—the DRS has been effectively able to prevent protests from turning into a revolution. Read More


Kuwait's Historic Civil Disobedience
Rami G. Khouri

I am mesmerized by the continuing political developments in Kuwait—and to a lesser extent in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries—where thousands of citizens of a wealthy, paternalistic and generous Gulf oil-producing country continue to protest against the government on a variety of issues anchored in rights, rather than material needs.Read More


Nostalgia and Naivete—Watching Argo as an Iranian American
Holly Dagres

My reaction to last year’s blockbuster hit, and now multiple Oscar-winner, Argo was probably different than most people. Watching those Americans trapped in Tehran, bizarrely enough, evoked memories of my adolescence.Read More


Guests and Hosts
Dawn Chatty

Iraqis have confounded Western expectations of refugee behavior. They did not leave their country en masse during the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Later when they fled sectarian violence, they refused to huddle in refugee camps. Arab traditions underpin a humane approach to asylum policy in the Middle East. Read More


The Sinai Connection
Lina Attalah

Thousands of African migrants have fallen prey to human traffickers in Egypt. Their tragic stories unfold a tale of a desert border region's isolation and neglect, and a resulting descent into lawlessness. Read More


The Never-Ending Palestine Tragedy
Karen Koning AbuZayd

Despite the grim obstacles and prospects, Palestine refugees refuse to give up. Giving them justice is essential for Middle East peace. Read More


“To Live, Not to Die”
Sheera Frenkel

Ali Hamouda is pumping gas in northern Jordan. Yasmin Khaled is sipping green tea chai at a trendy Amman café. Salma Farouk is languishing in a refugee camp in Turkey. Here are stories of the Syrian refugees. Read More


Struggle of the Middle East Refugees
António Guterres

The displacement of millions of Syrians is merely the latest such crisis in the region. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees argues that the world must provide political solutions, not only humanitarian aid. Read More


Syria Is Complicated -- Simultaneous Conflicts Always Are
Rami G. Khouri

The conflict in Syria has assumed more dangerous dimensions with the latest developments along the Syrian-Lebanese border, where forces with and against both the Syrian government and Hizbullah have engaged in cross-border shelling. Read More


Solace at the State’s Expense
Magued Osman

Even if Egypt were a very rich country—the richest country in the world—is it morally permissible that condolences published in newspapers by officials are financed from the money paid by taxpayers? Read More


Painfully Following Iran in the U.S. Media
Rami G. Khouri

One of the most annoying aspects of spending time in the United States, is to follow the news coverage of Iran in the mainstream American media. Well, calling it “news” coverage is a bit of a stretch, because the mainstream American media is not really reporting news about Iran, but rather repackaged ideological attacks and threats that emanate primarily from the American and Israeli governments.Read More


Uniting for Tunisia?
Monica Marks, Omar Belhaj Salah

Recent polls place Nidaa Tounes—a self-proclaimed “modernist” party founded in the summer of 2012—nearly neck and neck with Ennahda, Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party.Read More


The Dawn of Democracy
Hüseyin Avni Botsali

Egyptian people and political forces are in need of hammering-out a new national covenant. A social contract that will unite all segments of the society, empower the people, give them the long needed safeguards for freedom, dignity, justice, and ultimately, the motivation to build a prosperous future by reviving the economy through accountable, transparent governance. Read More


America and the Middle East – II
Rami G. Khouri

A foreign power like the United States cannot devise a new policy on, say, Iran, Arab democratization, or terrorism, without also reassessing its stance on other key issues like Israeli colonization, or using drones as assassination machines.Read More


Plagued by Insecurities
Monica Marks

While fragmentation of state power has increased freedom of political and religious expression in Tunisia, it has also generated a certain amount of instability and criminality which reflect the state’s weakness and inability to implement the rule of law. Read More


America and the Middle East – I
Rami G. Khouri

It is also worth viewing Obama’s trip to the Middle East from the perspective of the Middle East itself, where perceptions of the United States and its actions in the region are very mixed, and largely negative.Read More


Judge Islamists by Performance, Not Piety
Rami G. Khouri

Are Islamist groups gaining or losing popularity in different Arab countries? Are Islamists of all varieties better at governing with a legitimate electoral mandate, or better at being opposition groups that only serve their narrow constituencies with a variety of social services and organized piety? Read More


Upgrading Urban Egypt
Mohamed Elshahed

The state has turned a blind eye and because of the lack of accountability and the current political uncertainty no long or short term solutions to such fundamental infrastructural problems have been initiated. Read More


The Diplomatic Serial Failures
Rami G. Khouri

Understandably, Middle East circles these days increasingly speculate about whether President Obama will explore opportunities for re-launching peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Less understandable is why a leading American publication should turn for advice on this issue from former diplomat Dennis Ross. Read More


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