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March 28, 2015

Middle East

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

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

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

How Nouri Al-Maliki’s Policies are Dooming Iraq
Nabeel Khoury

After three years of bashing Sunni opponents and lending assistance to Iran and Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s chickens have now come home to roost. Read More

Syria’s Very Local Regional Conflict
Yezid Sayigh

The highly localized nature of the Syrian conflict means that its evolution and eventual resolution will elude the control of outsiders. Read More

Bahrain Between its Backers and the Brotherhood
Ibrahim Hatlani

The recent efforts to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization puts Bahrain’s leadership at odds with its domestic ally against the Shia opposition. Read More

The Unserious Yet Durable Arab Electoral Spectacle
Rami G. Khouri

Nowhere in the normal world do elections result in victories of such magnitude as the high 80s and 90s percentile that routinely occur in Arab “elections.” Read More

Islamist-Secularist Divisions in Morocco
Mohammed Masbah

Recent cases of violence at Moroccan universities expose the depth of the rift between Islamists and leftists, a rift that strengthens the regime’s hand. Read More

Eight Points about Egypt’s Presidential Election
Laila El Baradei

We need to act more prudently in responding to criticisms and observations about the election process and the democratic environment in Egypt at large. As a nation striving towards a greater degree of democracy, we should respect differences in opinion. Read More

The Palestinian Unity Government Will Shape Its Own Fate
Rami G. Khouri

Though Israel’s reaction remains hostile, the international community will judge the new Palestinian national unity government by its policies. Read More

Securing the Syrian Regime
Kheder Khaddour

The Syrian regime’s institutionalization of local militias bolsters their loyalty and ensures the regime’s hold on the militias’ communities. Read More

How Obama Can Stop Worrying
Rami G. Khouri

The best way for Barack Obama to reduce “the most direct threat to America at home and abroad” is to stop engaging in foreign policy actions that have contributed to creating and nurturing the danger in the first place.Read More

Changed Ties with Iran Will Reconfigure the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

If Iranian-Western and Iranian-Saudi relations shift from confrontation to peaceful coexistence and then active cooperation, they will impact heavily and positively on conditions throughout the Arab region. Read More

Egypt’s War on Terrorism
Zack Gold

Even as the United States works with Egypt to counter violent threats in Sinai, relations will remain tense because of Egypt’s insistence that political dissent be considered terrorism. Read More

The Public Will Decides Egypt’s Fate
Rami G. Khouri

The force of the public will—the consent of the governed—will ultimately define the nature of Egyptian public politics and governance, and who leads the government. Read More

A Checklist for Arab Change
Rami G. Khouri

One recent short text best captures succinctly the heart of the drivers of the uprisings in the Arab World for over three years. Read More

The ICC Beckons Palestine-Israel
Rami G. Khouri

Seventeen respected international human rights organizations have urged the Palestinian government to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and use it to end a lack of accountability for alleged crimes committed by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Read More

The Nour Party’s Precarious Future
Abdel-Rahman Youssef, Mostafa Hashem

Egypt’s Salafi Nour Party is looking to replace the Muslim Brotherhood as the leading Islamist political force, all the while trying to weather the backlash against Islamists. Read More

To the Judges of Egypt: Why do you do this?
Rami G. Khouri

The conduct of the courts and judges in Egypt during the past three years stands out for me as a critical element to watch as the country continues its tortuous route to a pluralistic constitutional democracy. Read More

Vulnerable Palestinians Also Have Opportunities
Rami G. Khouri

This moment is an opportunity for the Palestinians on three important fronts: national unity, coordinated political resistance, and mobilizing international support. Read More

Yemen’s Fraught Constitution Drafting Committee
Ashraf Al-Falahi

Though working on the premise of federalism, Yemen’s Constitution Drafting Committee is only reinforcing central presidential control. Read More

Catastrophe Ahead After Peace Talks Collapse
Rami G. Khouri

The many consequences of this series of events will take some time to clarify, but they are likely to be destructive. Read More

Texts: Tunisia’s Political Transition
Rozina Ali

In Tunisia, where the Arab Spring uprisings began in 2010, the National Constituent Assembly voted 200 to 12 with four abstentions on January 26, 2014, to approve a new constitution. The full text of the document. Read More

Trouble in Western Sahara
Tom Stevenson

Investigating the myths surrounding the struggle over the Western Sahara Read More

The Tunisian Experience
Rachid Ghannouchi

The leader of the Ennahda Movement, hailing the adoption of a new constitution in January, explains why Islam and democracy are compatible. Read More

A New Palestinian Strategy
Daoud Kuttab

Neither armed struggle nor negotiations have achieved justice and independence. The failure of the latest American mediation effort may give further impetus to another means: civil resistance. Read More

Egyptian Dreams
Tarek Osman

The 2013 uprising against Muslim Brotherhood rule signaled a resounding defeat for political Islam and victory for the entrenched pillars of the republic. Yet, if the socioeconomic demands of the people remain unmet, protesters will fill the streets again. Read More

A Disconnected Middle East
James Manyika, Susan Lund

New research by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that the Middle East/North Africa region is falling behind in global flows of goods, services, people, finance and data. To reverse the trend, follow the example of Morocco and Dubai. Read More

The Call of Pluralism
Marwan Muasher

Defeating despotism is only one goal of the Second Arab Awakening. The region must also embrace political, cultural, and religious pluralism, good governance, the rule of law, and inclusive economic growth. Read More

Arabs, Engage!
Rami G. Khouri

It is difficult to predict the outcome of the region’s transformation, but at least one thing is clear: we are witnessing the birth of Arab citizens who express themselves in the public sphere. Read More

Why Syria Matters
Nader Hashemi

Some 150,000 people have died in the revolt against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. Military, political and humanitarian intervention is needed to end the atrocities and prevent further destabilization in the Middle East. Read More

Age of Darkness
Cairo Review

Ali Ahmad Said Esber, known by his pen name Adonis, is widely acclaimed as the greatest living Arab poet. From exile in France, he speaks with Scott MacLeod and Jonathan Randal about the destruction of his native Syria and the decline of the Arab world. Read More

The Government and the Ostrich
Laila El Baradei

Rather than working on clearly identifying and recognizing problems, many Egyptians seem to prefer a different approach based on denial, and pointing fingers at others. This reminds us of the proverbial tale of the ostrich burying its head in the sand. Read More

Desert Flowering
Rozina Ali, Fernanda Uro Aboites

Saudi Arabia made its first-ever submission of a film for an Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood. Wadjda, which was submitted in the Best Foreign Film category, failed to earn a nomination, but it made history as the first feature movie to be filmed entirely in the country. Read More

Tahrir Tech
Deena Refai

Over the past three years, Tahrir Square has become a symbol of revolt, the scene of countless political protests and, too often, violence and bloodshed. If a bold new vision succeeds, the neighborhood around the square will soon be buzzing with innovators and entrepreneurs, a symbol of Egyptian economic progress. Read More

Oriental Hall, etc.
Rozina Ali

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

An Egyptian in Space
Aaron T. Rose

Omar Samra is reaching for the moon. He was the first Egyptian to ascend to the summit of Mount Everest. He was also the first of his countrymen to climb the highest peaks on the other six continents. Soon, he plans to go even higher. In 2015, Samra is set to become the first Egyptian in space. Read More

A Resurgence of Tunisia’s Counterrevolutionaries?
Omar Belhaj Salah

Despite curbing polarization and driving the country out of political impasse, negotiations between political elites raised Tunisians’ fears of a regression of the revolutionary tide. Read More

Israeli Extremism or Zionism’s True Colors?
Rami G. Khouri

We will see more people around the world react to the latest extreme Israeli moves in the months ahead. Some people will conclude that Israel is veering off into strange and dangerous ways—others that Zionism’s core is racist. Read More

The IMF in Egypt, Act Two
Max Reibman

Despite the challenges of long-term dependence on GCC benefactors, their aid gives Egypt a chance to reengage with the IMF and other international creditors. Read More

Why Diplomacy Succeeds and Fails
Rami G. Khouri

Patient, serious diplomacy appears to be bearing fruit in many places simultaneously this week, except in the Israel-Palestine talks that have gone on for two decades since the 1993 Oslo peace accords. Read More

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

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