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December 20, 2014

Politics & Society


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


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


The Universal Horrors of Killing with Impunity
Rami G. Khouri

The United States reminds us now that killing with impunity is a terrible crime and a national failure, wherever it happens — Ferguson, New York City, the occupied Palestinian territories or elsewhere. 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


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


Impressive Citizenship in Professor Horn’s Class in Boston
Rami G. Khouri

Public officials in the United States who seek sensible advise on how to govern should attend a few sessions of Professor Denise Horn’s introductory class on International Affairs and Globalization at Northeastern University in Boston. 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


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


The Rule of Law Triumphs — Sort of — in the USA
Rami G. Khouri

Punishing a few hired gunmen while ignoring the responsibility of the political leadership of the United States and Great Britain that waged this criminal war in Iraq in the name of their entire nations is a gross abdication of responsibility. 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


Images from a Land at War
Robert Nickelsberg

“Face to face with the fragility of the human condition”—a portfolio of a veteran photojournalist’s work in Afghanistan spanning twenty-five years. 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


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


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


The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas
Matthew Duss

The 9/11 tale of an American vigilante and his Bangladeshi immigrant victimRead More


Tray of Candies
Qais Akbar Omar

Kabul Memoir: An Afghan writer recalls family disagreements, and a wise patriarch’s way of settling them. Read More


Road to Gandamak
William Dalrymple

“Not one benefit, political or military, has been acquired with this war.” That was G.R. Gleig, writing in 1843 about the British retreat from Afghanistan. While the West may have forgotten the Afghan hatred of foreign rule, Afghans have not. Read More


New Threat to Afghan Women
Manizha Naderi

Afghanistan has recorded tremendous progress in women’s rights. The world must understand how this achievement is an essential component of the rule of law and advance to democracy. Read More


Compromise in Kabul
Thomas Barfield

Ashraf Ghani became the new president of Afghanistan in a power-sharing deal that followed a contested election. Can he now address poor governance, corruption and the Taliban insurgency? 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


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


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


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


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


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


Concept Pop
Ganzeer

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


Revolution to Revolution
Nadia Radwan

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


Tehran Bazaar
Joobin Bekhrad

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


Collapsing Certainties
Partha Mitter

Art history that presents the Western canon as universal creates a world of inclusions and exclusions, undermining local voices and practices. Let us consider a redefinition of cosmopolitanism that demands the study of art in its social and cultural setting. 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


Through a Hole in the Wall
Dorinda Elliott

Ai Weiwei’s work sweeps from sculpture and installations to Instagram images. Confined to China, he has been hailed as the most powerful artist on the planet. He speaks with journalist Dorinda Elliott about modern art, Chinese culture and snapping subversive selfies. 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


Reimagining Limits
Rozina Ali

Since Ezzedine Choukri Fishere began publishing fiction in 1995, he has come out with six novels exploring themes from freedom and destiny to identity; critics have viewed his work as indictments against repression, injustice and suffering in Egypt. 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Rise of the South
Vijay Prashad

Within the decade, the United States will no longer be the largest economy in the world. What will end, and has already begun to end, is not U.S. power but U.S. primacy. 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


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


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


Zionism’s Fanatics Face New Landscapes
Rami G. Khouri

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey apparently went for the Buffoon of the Year Award when, after he had accurately referred to the Palestinian West Bank as the “occupied territories"—and later apologized. 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


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


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


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


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


Cricket Won’t Save South Asia
Fawzia Mahmood

Making the case for normalizing India-Pakistan RelationsRead More


Smile, You’re in Rio
Julia Michaels

When the author arrived in 1995, she purchased an armored car and retreated to a gated community. Rio de Janeiro was a city at war with itself: elites of the wealthy enclaves versus the urban poor of the favelas. Society is now changing for the better, in ways that cannot be undone. Read More


From Syria to São Paulo
Monique Sochaczewski

Middle Eastern immigrants began arriving in the 1850s, and Brazilian governments have long promoted a narrative of harmonious relations between Arabs and Jews. Is this a myth? Is it a basis for a more robust Brazilian foreign policy for the region? Read More


Itamaraty’s Mission
Guilherme Casarões

Long a national pillar above party politics, the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations has fallen under heavy public scrutiny. It must resolve crises in three areas: ideological neutrality, bureaucratic harmony, and social legitimacy. Read More


Protests, Protests, Everywhere
João Marcelo Ehlert Maia, Lia de Mattos Rocha

Something important happened last June: hundreds of thousands of Brazilians began marching for better public services and government accountability—and against police brutality. The question is not only whether the unrest will disrupt this year’s World Cup, but also how it may change Brazilian politics. Read More


How to Host a World Cup
Scarlett Cornelissen

South African officials claimed that the 2010 football tournament would strengthen national cohesion and bolster the economy. There’s scant evidence that it did either. Read More


FIFA Rules
Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda, Jimmy Medeiros

Hosting the finals of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association brings glory to Brazil. But the globalization of the tournament also challenges the sporting culture of a nation whose name is synonymous with football. Read More


The Beautiful Game
Kanishk Tharoor

Half the population of the planet will tune in to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It’s not only a sport we love. It’s the game that explains who we are. Read More


Brazilian Triumphs
Jerry Dávila

Some thirty years ago, dictators ruled and inflation soared. Today, Brazilians freely elect their presidents, while millions rise from poverty. The South American nation can teach the world something about building a prosperous democracy. Read More


Brazil on the World’s Stage
Cairo Review

Antonio Patriota, the Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations, speaks on the Middle East crises, American spying, domestic protests, and the 2014 World Cup.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


Letter from Brazil
Filipe Nasser

Since at least the late nineteenth century, the Middle East has been an intrinsic part of our national narrative of racial and ethnic blending. 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


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


Legitimizing an Undemocratic Process in Egypt
Michele Dunne

The U.S. government, European governments, and international organizations interested in electoral fairness face a difficult balancing act with the January 14–15 constitutional referendum in Egypt. 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


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


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


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