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August 20, 2014

The Tahrir Forum


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Fueling Egypt’s Economy
Max Reibman

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


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

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


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

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


Letter from Iraq
Nabeel Khoury

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


The Media’s Effects on BDS
Adam E. Gallagher

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


Palestinian Refugees and the Siege of Yarmouk
Natasha Hall

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


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

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


The Dangers of Alienating Egypt’s Youth
Mustafa Hashem

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


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

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


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

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


The Unparalleled Magic of City and Stage
Rami G. Khouri

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


Questions for Egypt's Next Vote
Magued Osman

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


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

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


Palestinians Can Rectify Negotiating Weaknesses
Rami G. Khouri

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


Lebanon’s Precarious New Government
Mario Abou Zeid

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


The Core Issues for Israelis and Palestinians
Rami G. Khouri

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


An Interview with Moroccan Journalist Ali Anouzla
Maâti Monjib

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


How's Gaza?
Julia C. Hurley

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


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

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


Salute Tunisia and Emulate It
Rami G. Khouri

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


Assessing the Syria Talks in Geneva
Amr Al-Azm

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


Hollywood and Real Life
Rami G. Khouri

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


In Egypt, Autocracy Gains Ground
Reem Saad

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


President Sisi Rides Precarious Passions into Office
Rami G. Khouri

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


Tunisia’s Compromise Constitution
Sarah Mersch

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


The Graffiti Speaks Eloquently
Rami G. Khouri

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


When Ambiguity is Destructive
Khaled Elgindy

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


Vengeful Justice in Egypt
Mohamed El-Shewy

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


The Larger National Tragedy of Ariel Sharon
Rami G. Khouri

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


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

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


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


Lebanon’s $3 Billion Question
Rami G. Khouri

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


An Anticlimactic Referendum in Egypt
Nathan Brown

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


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

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


Maliki's Troubles
Fadel Al-Kifaee

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


The Railroad Crossing Mentality
Magued Osman

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


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

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


Transitional Justice Elusive in Egypt
Yussef Auf

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


Year Four of the Arab Awakening
Marwan Muasher

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


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


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


Rapid Population Growth Imperils Egypt
Magued Osman

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


Algiers and Rabat, Storm or Spat
Jacques Roussellier

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


To Push Back Mideast Gloom
Rami G. Khouri

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


Women: One Tenth of Society
Magued Osman

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


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

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


Losing Syria’s Economic Future
Mona Alami

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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


Tunnel Vision
Zack Gold

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


Gezi Park’s Soccer Fanatics
Sean David Hobbs

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


Egypt’s Lose-Lose Mentality
Magued Osman

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


Antiwar Movement Grapples with Syria
Danny Postel

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


The Rebirth of Sudan?
Hamid Eltgani Ali

Sudanese demonstrations, starting in the city of Niyala in Darfur and extending to engulf Wad-Madin and Khartoum, took most observers by surprise. Few countries came out in support of the uprising. This uprising has now become strong enough to be called Sudan’s Revolution. Read More


Tunisia’s Politicians Play On
Fadil Aliriza

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


In Yemen, Drones Aren’t a Policy
Nabeel Khoury

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


Beauty of the Pleiades
Turki Al-Faisal

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


The Generals Rule Egypt Again
Rami G. Khouri

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


Contested Syrian Identities
Tarek Osman

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


Tunisia’s Neglected Constitution
Robert Joyce

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


The Limits of Reform in Saudi Arabia
Adam Coogle

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


Freezing Aid without a Strategy
Jonathan Guyer

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


Beyond Negotiation Fetishism
Assaf Sharon

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


Clear Options for the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

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


The Cost of Syrian Refugees
Nikita Malik

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


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

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


What Will Egypt Mean for Morocco
Mohammed Masbah

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


Big Issues Revolve Around Tehran
Rami G. Khouri

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


No Alternative But Success
Nasser Arrabyee

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


Strengthening Europe’s Role in Egypt
Nathalie Tocci

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


Remembering Bill Stelpflug
Rami G. Khouri

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


What Next for the Muslim Brotherhood
Abdullah Al-Arian

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


Seven Lessons to Learn in Syria
Rami G. Khouri

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


Deities and Defense Ministers
Rami G. Khouri

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


Is Saudi Arabia Stable?
Sada Debates

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


Syria Shakes Lebanon
Nabeel Khoury

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


Over the Brink
Heiko Wimmen

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


A Hard Process towards Common Values Democracy
Rami G. Khouri

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


Sinai’s Role in Morsi’s Ouster
Sahar Aziz

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


Turkey Beyond Islamism and Authoritarianism
Ziya Meral

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


Two Issues at Stake in Syria
Rami G. Khouri

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


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

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


The Agony of the Smashing of Syria
Rami G. Khouri

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


Four Common Misconceptions Egyptians Have
Mahmoud Salem

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


A Return of Violent Islamist Insurgency in Egypt?
Jerome Drevon

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


When Political Clods Collide
Rami G. Khouri

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


Constitutionally Imbalanced
Maâti Monjib

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


Democracy versus Security
Rozina Ali

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


Egypt Must Avoid a ‘Spiral of Silence’
Magued Osman

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


Knowledge Triumphs over the Knuckleheads
Rami G. Khouri

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


The Terrible Lesson from Egypt
Akram Belkaïd

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Tunisia and ‘the Egyptian Model’
Fadil Aliriza

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


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

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


The Washington Jerkocracy Strikes Again
Rami G. Khouri

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


Ennahda and the Challenge of Power
Rory McCarthy

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


U.S. Options in Syria, Scrutinized
Nabeel Khoury

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


A Falling-Out Among Brothers?
Raphaël Lefèvre

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


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

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


Jordan and the Wider Arab Dilemma
Rami G. Khouri

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


What Will Become of Egypt?
Sada Debates

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


Spare Us the Intellectual Disneylands
Rami G. Khouri

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


It Is 1789 in Egypt
Rami G. Khouri

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


The Islamic State in Context
Tarek Osman

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


Popular Legitimacy Asserts Itself in Egypt
Rami G. Khouri

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


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

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


Egyptians Assess Their Future
James Zogby

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


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

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


Breaking the Deadlock in the Western Sahara
Irene Fernández Molina

Respect for human rights is a common denominator in the Western Sahara conflict that the international community should back at all costs. Read More


Apocalyptic Words from Men in Hiding
Rami G. Khouri

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


Insights into Arab Youth Today
Rami G. Khouri

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


Three Hundred Days of President Morsi
Magued Osman

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


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

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


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

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


Of Identities and Institutions
Ibrahim Hatlani

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


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

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


Salafists on the Move
Rami G. Khouri

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


Salafism’s March through North Africa
Tarek Osman

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


China Addresses the Middle East
Rami G. Khouri

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


The Battle over Egypt’s Judiciary
Nathan Brown

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


New Spotlight on Egyptian Jews
Maha El-Kady

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


America and a Changing Middle East
William J. Burns

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


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

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


Free Flow of Information
Magued Osman

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


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

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


Arab Transitions Are Slow for Good Reasons
Rami G. Khouri

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


Out of Egypt
Tarek Osman

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


Stability at All Costs
Anne Wolf

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


Kuwait's Historic Civil Disobedience
Rami G. Khouri

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


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

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


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

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


Solace at the State’s Expense
Magued Osman

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


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

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


Uniting for Tunisia?
Monica Marks, Omar Belhaj Salah

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


The Dawn of Democracy
Hüseyin Avni Botsali

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


America and the Middle East – II
Rami G. Khouri

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


Plagued by Insecurities
Monica Marks

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


America and the Middle East – I
Rami G. Khouri

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


Judge Islamists by Performance, Not Piety
Rami G. Khouri

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


Upgrading Urban Egypt
Mohamed Elshahed

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


Hugo Chávez & the Middle East: Which Side Was He On?
Danny Postel

There’s a less discussed dimension of the Chávez legacy to examine: his relations with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, a story whose significance became more salient with the onset of the momentous changes the region has been undergoing over the last few years. Read More


The Diplomatic Serial Failures
Rami G. Khouri

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


U.S. Policy on Syria Is Naïve and Counter-Productive
Rami G. Khouri

At the start of my current trip in the United States, the single question that dominates Mideast-watchers here in the New World is what to do about Syria, and whether or not the United States should provide military assistance to the opposition groups fighting to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad. Read More


The Royals’ New Rules: Backsliding in Bahrain
Amy Austin Holmes

The Al Khalifas of Bahrain, the Sunni family which has lorded over the Shia-majority population since 1783, has a long history of thwarting revolutionary uprisings. They’ve recently added five new tactics to their repertoire. Read More


Egypt’s Opposition Needs Unity—and Leadership
Seifeldin Fawzy

Where is the Giuseppe Garibaldi, Simón Bolívar, or Mustapha Kamel of the January 25 Revolution? The lack of an outright leader has badly harmed the opposition movement’s ability to impact politics. Read More


Arabs Seek Citizenship and Statehood
Rami G. Khouri

Beneath the surface reality of turbulence that occasionally reaches violence or stalemate is a much more complex, time-consuming and hopeful trend.Read More


The Refugee Factor
Kai Kverme

The waves of Syrian refugees seeking a safe haven have further exacerbated the division among the Christian parties in Lebanon.Read More


Remaking Arab Civil Society
Rami G. Khouri

One of the profound developments now taking place in the ongoing Arab uprisings and transformations is the breakdown of the neat categories we have long used to understand and analyze political life. It's time to rethink terms like “civil society."Read More


The Rise of Syria's Kurds
Heiko Wimmen , Müzehher Selcuk

Since the summer of 2012, the beleaguered Syrian regime has all but abandoned areas predominantly inhabited by Kurdish populations. Meanwhile, the Democratic Union Party, a Syrian Kurdish group, is gaining ground politically and militarily.Read More


The Gangland Policies of Certain 'Exceptional' Nations
Rami G. Khouri

For anyone who wonders why so many people around the world criticize American and Israeli foreign policy and militarism, this has been a valuable learning week. I refer to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next U.S. Secretary of Defense, and the twin Israeli attacks against military targets in Syria.Read More


Algerian Crisis: The Primacy of Le Pouvoir
John P. Entelis

The terrorist assault on one of Algeria's central natural gas processing plants posed a direct challenge to the structure of the country's military-industrial complex.Read More


Unhappy Arabia
Ibrahim Hatlani

Activists are increasingly speaking out on topics of reform and rights in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, each with their own interpretation of the necessary course.Read More


Mubarak’s Retrial and Error
Tarek Osman

The decision by a court this week to overturn President Mubarak’s—and former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly’s—life sentences and retry them will stir up new confrontations. Mubarak’s fate will be the finale of the dramatic story of the first Egyptian Republic.Read More


The Brotherhood’s Compassionate Conservatism
Max Strasser

Out of economic necessity, Morsi will likely sign a deal with the International Monetary Fund. But the incoming loan will be accompanied by a set of fiscal conditionality that could make the already precarious president and his Freedom and Justice Party even less popular. Read More


Two Years On: Tunisia’s Social Pact
Rami G. Khouri

The populist-driven revolution in Tunisia has opened political space for everyone in the country to compete for a share in power and governance, and to reach consensus on the new constitution and other historic changes.Read More


All Unionized and Nowhere to Go
Joel Beinin

Almost a thousand new unions independent of ETUF have been established since the January 25, 2011 uprising. But workers have not been a strong factor in the post-Mubarak national political arena.Read More


Jordan at a Crossroads
Rami G. Khouri

I am convinced that if you want to visit only one country to gain insights into the many forces that are shaping our region, Jordan is the country to visit. Read More


Morocco’s Engagement with the Sahel Community
Benjamin P. Nickels

The Arab Spring opened up new partnership opportunities for Morocco, Africa’s only non-African Union member country, which has been long isolated by the Western Sahara conflict and its rivalry with neighboring Algeria. Read More


Arab World Lessons from 2012
Rami G. Khouri

The year 2012 will be remembered as an important milestone in the development of the modern Arab World, because it has started to reveal the underlying but long-hidden strengths and weaknesses of Arab societies and states.Read More


After Battles Come Syria's Economic Choices
Omar Dahi

The political opposition has estimated rebuilding costs at about $60 billion, but they have yet to specify exactly how and where the money will be spent. Read More


Critical Lessons from Egypt's Constitutional Referendum
Rami G. Khouri

The first round of the constitutional referendum last week was a perfect microcosm of everything Egyptian -- it was majestic in scale, profound in meaning and consequence, erratic and messy in implementation, unpredictable in outcome, and entertaining in every respect. Read More


Breaking the Syria Stalemate
Amr Al-Azm

The Syrian regime and its core pillars of loyalist military support have yet to acknowledge that their situation has become critical, let alone perilous. What can Syria's opposition do to shake up the stalemate? Read More


Why Hamas
Wasseem El-Sarraj

After the war, over dinner, I’d used the word hurriya (freedom)—but before I could finish a girl working at one of the large international NGO’s interrupted me: “Don’t say that: you will remind us we are under occupation.” It’s a stunning statement that reveals the delicate balance in Gaza.Read More


The Second Anniversary of the Arab Uprisings
Rami G. Khouri

In the next few days we will mark the second anniversary of the start of the Arab uprisings, when Mohammad Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia on December 17, 2010. The balance sheet of change in the Arab world over these two years has been epic and historic, but often turbulent and even chaotic, as citizens continue to shape new governance systems that respect rather than demean them.Read More


Egypt Suppresses Workers’ Voices
Erin Radford

On the heels of the hotly contested decree granting the Egyptian president unlimited authority, President Morsi also amended the nation’s 1976 trade union law, further raising concerns for Egypt’s democratic transition.Read More


Morsi’s Constitutional Referendum: The State of Play
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

On December 1, President Morsi issued executive order no. 397/2012, calling for a referendum on the new constitution’s final draft, which had been passed by the Constituent Assembly only the day before. A primer on the referendum slated for December 15.Read More


Amateurs Take Over in Egypt
Rami G. Khouri

Unlike Nelson Mandela who spent decades in jail and then showed his compassion, flexibility and statesmanship when he became the president of South Africa, Morsi is unable at this stage to act as the magnanimous leader of all Egyptians.Read More


The Allure of Guns and Laws
Rami G. Khouri

Armed revolution, international legality, or home-grown constitutionalism? These three options for national change are simultaneously being used this week in the three Arab countries that arguably have had the most impact on the Middle East region in the last century—Syria, Egypt and Palestine. Read More


Egypt's Five Branches of Government
Rami G. Khouri

The dramatic events in Egypt over the past few days following President Mohammad Morsi’s unilateral decree giving him unchallenged political authority should not surprise or frighten anyone. In fact, the continuing developments can be seen as a positive stage in the country’s historic political transition from autocracy to democracy. Read More


The State of Kuwait
Mariwan Hama

On November 5, Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, confirmed that he would go ahead with the changes he made in the Kuwait’s electoral law this past October 19. This amendment to the electoral law ahead of the December 1 parliamentary elections is likely to escalate the political crisis in Kuwait.Read More


Gaza's Fragile Unity
Jared Malsin

The 2011 uprisings placed Hamas in the awkward position of attempting to align itself with a wave of popular revolts while simultaneously clamping down on protests in Gaza. But despite the domestic crackdown, Hamas managed to emerge from 2011 in a stronger regional position.Read More


What's New in the Gaza-Israel Battle
Rami G. Khouri

More killing and destruction will not resolve this conflict, but a lack of a fair and negotiated resolution also means that more killing and destruction are inevitable. Read More


Islamists and the IMF
Farah Halime

Is the International Monetary Fund loan permissible under Islamic law? Egypt’s Islamist movements have signaled that this is the case and have gone out of their way to endorse the $4.8 billion package despite more than a year of lobbying that aimed to do the opposite. Read More


U.S. Aid and Egypt: It's Complicated
Thalia Beaty

In examining U.S. assistance to Egypt, the United States will need to confront some uncomfortable truths about the militarization and inflexibility of American foreign policy in Egypt. Read More


There Will Be No Civil War in Lebanon
Rami G. Khouri

The political tensions and a handful of local clashes following the assassination last Friday of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau head Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan reflected a tragic but rather routine sequence of sentiments and events in this country, where political assassinations have occurred regularly for half a century. Read More


Still Fighting the Last War? Egypt's Judges after the Revolution
Nathan Brown

Reformist judges may be finding themselves better equipped to fight with yesteryear’s Mubarak than with this year’s more complicated rivals, and the struggles over the coming years are likely to feature a different set of issues—or perhaps, more accurately, unexpected iterations of the older concerns over autonomy and authority. Read More


Gaza 2020: A Looming, Avoidable Catastrophe
Robert Turner

By 2020 the population of the tiny Gaza Strip will grow by half a million people: 500,000 more to be fed, housed, educated, and employed. Let us address the root causes of this looming disaster rather than expecting the international community to foot the bill to mitigate their disastrous consequences.Read More


Seznec on the New Silk Road
Fritz Lodge

There is a new Silk Road quietly emerging that connects the booming economies of East Asia with the oil-rich Gulf states of the Arab Peninsula and, through them, European markets accessible just across the Suez canal.Read More


Bahrain: Human Rights and Political Wrongs
Toby C. Jones

The Bahraini government is certainly interested in pushing a more progressive image abroad, but the truth at home is that authorities remain committed to pursuing a hardline political agenda that invariably involves sustained suppression of activists. Read More


Morsi's Message to America
Jonathan Guyer

Even as the goodwill won by Obama’s Cairo University speech has dissipated, the level of engagement pursued early in his term suggested a reevaluation of how America does business in the Middle East. Morsi deserves his own chance to win America’s goodwill, and he’ll have that very opportunity at the UN General Assembly.Read More


New Arab Realities
Rami G. Khouri

We can already identify a series of genuinely historic, new and meaningful developments in many of the Arab states in transformation, after 21 months of the Arab uprisings. Read More


The New Lineup
Rania Al Malky

Choosing Generals, Brothers, Remnants, or LiberalsRead More


Drafting Constitutions
Khaled Fahmy

Toward Liberty, Justice, and Human Dignity Read More


Assault on Human Rights
Daniel Williams

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has governed Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak—and apparently wants to hold on indefinitely—can’t justify itself on its record. Especially when it comes to human rights. SCAF presented itself as the shepherd of Egypt’s transition to democracy. Instead, SCAF trampled rights of Egyptians across the board, repressing speech and public gatherings and preserving an unfair justice system. In some areas, SCAF has outdone Mubarak.Read More


Now, the Education Revolution
Malak Zaalouk

A Six-Point Strategy for a Paradigm ShiftRead More


Road Rage
Mohamed Elshahed

Road accidents are common everywhere, but what is striking in Egypt is how little the government seems to care, despite the high human and economic costs to society. An estimated 12,000 die and another 154,000 are injured in crashes each year, making Egypt’s roads among the most dangerous in the world. Accidents also cost Egypt as much as 30 billion L.E. ($5 billion) a year, according to some sources. Government neglect in road safety is yet another part of the legacy of misrule and unaccountability following decades of dictatorship.Read More


Speak, O Egyptians
Lara El-Gibaly

This is an open mic night—the ninth of its kind—in Minya, a city on the Nile some two hundred kilometers south of Cairo. The performances range from the comic and the poignant to the explicitly political, but all have the same purpose in mind: to reclaim Egypt’s public space after the fall of the dictator. “When someone decides to speak their mind in public, even to tell a joke,” explains organizer Shady Khalil as he watches from the sidelines, “that’s political participation.”Read More


A Baha’i Litmus Test for Egypt
Dwight Bashir

Could Egypt’s treatment of its Baha’is predict the future of its January 25 revolution?Read More


Egypt's Women
Gro Brundtland

Women have played a prominent role, under very different circumstances, in all of the countries embroiled in the Arab Awakening, including Egypt. This is the promising side of the coin. But, a negative dimension also appears to be emerging. Gains made previously by women in societies in the Middle East and North Africa are being challenged. There are reports that women who played decisive roles in democracy movements are being excluded from negotiations on future systems of governments.Read More


Inside the Cage
Nancy Okail

Like many, I had great hopes for change in Egypt after the revolution. I was excited to move back to Cairo as the new country director for Freedom House, an NGO that supports democratic change, monitors freedom, and advocates for democracy and human rights across the globe. In August 2011, I packed up my life and my two-year-old twins and left England, where I had been living while working on my PhD, to return to my homeland. I was not naïve enough to believe that it would be an easy job. But I never imagined that just a few months later I would be in a cage. Read More


Refugee Limbo
Shaden Khallaf

Refugees are among the most vulnerable, marginalized, and disadvantaged people in any society. They endure traumatic experiences including arduous journeys that often affect their mental health and physical wellbeing. They live with the insecurity that comes with being a refugee in a foreign land. They lack the legal protection afforded by citizenship and the traditional support structures and channels for recourse in cases of abuse or exploitation. And these woes become compounded many times over in periods of crisis—such as the upheaval that Egypt has undergone since the January 25 revolution.Read More


Test of Faith
Febe Armanios

Over the last few decades, Copts—and most other Egyptians—have experienced various forms of political, social, and religious repression. But the Copts’ particular victimization as Christians became clearly highlighted just a few weeks before the outbreak of the January 25 revolution. Read More


A Woman's Place
Maha El-Kady

Merna Thomas is the co-founder of a feminist group called Noon El-Neswa, or Her, which aims to harness the bourgeoning use of street art as a protest tool to challenge gender stereotypes and generally ignite debate about the place of women in Egypt. One of the most striking images produced by Noon El-Neswa activists is a stenciled triptych of three women wearing no veil, a hijab, and a face veil, respectively, with the admonition: “Don’t label me.” Sometimes a few words of text cry out against misogyny, such as the scrawl declaring “Nothing is for men only” seen around Cairo lately.Read More


A Need for Justice
Michael Wahid Hanna

How a nation in transition accounts for past injustices is a telling indicator of the overall health of transition. Egypt has changed in tangible and consequential ways. Yet, the initial promise and the sense of transformational possibility that marked the fall of Mubarak is now something of a distant memory. The Mubarak trial encapsulates many of the flaws that have undermined the prospects for fundamental change in Egypt. Read More


Big Questions for President Morsi
Jonathan Guyer

With Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi taking the oath of the high office, the political party of the once-illegal Muslim Brotherhood officially reigns. But the Supreme Council of the Armed Forced (SCAF), an inseparable lever of Egyptian state autocracy, is still very much in charge.Read More


Turkey’s Zero Problems with Neighbors Policy 2.0
Nuh Yilmaz

Turkish-Syrian relations reached a new low after Syria downed a Turkish F-4 jet flying in international air space. Turkey changed its stance toward Syria dramatically, concluding that the incident was an intentional hostile attack and would be dealt with accordingly. Read More


Egypt’s Democratic Triumph
Scott MacLeod

Mohammed Morsi's victory over Ahmed Shafik in the Egyptian presidential election is a political triumph for the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned organization for most of the years since the country became a republic in 1953. It is likewise an important victory for Egyptian and Middle East democracy. Having edged perilously close to the brink of political chaos in recent weeks, due to repeated bungling of the transition process, Egypt has taken a very significant stride forward.Read More


The Arab World's Most Important Battle
Rami G. Khouri

The ongoing political developments in Syria and Egypt are important for many things, including democratic transitions, popular sovereignty, the rule of law, the quest for social justice and others. One issue, however, that has been highlighted in these two countries has been perhaps the central political dynamic of the modern Arab since its creation after World War One. This is the struggle between military officers and civilian politicians for control of the institutions of government.Read More


The Egyptian Political System in Disarray
Nathan Brown

The developments in Egypt over the past few days have thrown what had been a confused set of institutional arrangements into even greater disarray. The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) declared the parliamentary elections unconstitutional, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced a supplementary constitutional declaration with no apparent public input. On top of that, the first presidential election since the fall of Mubarak was held.Read More


The Egyptian Military's Two Big Mistakes
Rami G. Khouri

The power grab in the past week by the Egyptian military and lingering Hosni Mubarak-era establishment, operating through the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), is such a blatant attempt to prevent a truly democratic and republican system of government from taking root in the country that it cannot possibly succeed. It will generate tremendous counter forces in society from tens of millions of ordinary and politicized Egyptians, who insist on achieving the promise of the January 2011 revolution that toppled Mubarak, and ushered in a slow transition to a more democratic system of governance.Read More


A Turbulent But Constructive Moment in Egypt
Rami G. Khouri

The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court’s decision Thursday to dissolve the elected parliament and allow former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik to contest the presidential election this weekend will generate heated debate -- but essentially the decisions strike me as new building blocks in the complex and erratic process that has been underway in Egypt for the past 17 months: the slow, steady reconfiguration and relegitimization of a rotten political system. Despite some turbulence ahead, this is a healthy development, for several reasons. Read More


Egyptians Making History
Elijah Zarwan

On Thursday, Egyptian politicians did something astonishing: they reached an agreement. A military ultimatum—agree within 48 hours on a formula for choosing the 100 people who will write the country’s next constitution, or expect a fresh constitutional declaration, the contents of which you may dislike—ended a long impasse. But the outcome sadly reinforces the narrative that only the military can press self-serving civilian politicians to fulfill their duties to the nation. More importantly, the “thirteenth-hour” agreement (the politicians actually missed the deadline) nonetheless throws Egypt’s already contorted transition deeper into confusion and uncertainty.Read More


The Mubarak Conviction: A Profound If Imprecise Turning Point
Rami G. Khouri

The conviction and life imprisonment sentences handed down Saturday to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib Adli mark a profound but still imprecise turning point in the single most important battle that has defined the Arab world for the last two generations, and the last 60 years of uninterrupted military rule in Egypt: the contest between whether the Arab people will be ruled by democratically legitimate civilian authorities or by self-imposed and self-perpetuating military rulers. Read More


After Egypt Elects a President, What Happens to SCAF?
Michael Wahid Hanna

Egyptians headed to the polls this week not knowing who will emerge victorious at the ballot box. Gone are the grim certainties that once defined Egyptian political life. But while this first post-revolution presidential election is competitive, it is not fully free and fair.Read More


Egypt's Return to National Integrity
Rami G. Khouri

Many historic things have happened across the Arab world since December 2010, when Mohammad Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Sidi Bouzid town in rural Tunisia sparked the uprisings and home-grown regime changes that continue to define much of the region. To my mind, the single most profound event to date was the Egyptian presidential election that took place last Wednesday and Thursday. Read More


Egypt’s Election and the Fate of the Revolution
Farah Saafan

Egypt has come a long way since the January 25 revolution. The country that once upon a time quietly anticipated the handover of power from Hosni Mubarak to his son Gamal is now choosing between 13 candidates to become the next president of Egypt. Read More


The Egyptian Election in 140 Characters or Less: Who to Follow on Twitter
Cairo Review

The best coverage of Egypt’s presidential election in 140 characters or less Read More


Egyptians As They Really Are
Rami G. Khouri

One of the important byproducts of the ongoing Arab uprisings, regime changes and national reconfigurations is the increased ability of many people around the world to view Arabs in their full, normal, dynamic human complexity and nuance, rather than the one-dimensional, static, essentialist caricatures of Arabs and Muslims that have long dominated many Western views of our region and its people.Read More


Egypt and Islamic Sharia: A Guide for the Perplexed
Nathan Brown

Egypt’s post-revolutionary environment—and especially its constitutional process—has touched off debates within the country and confusion outside of it regarding the role of the Islamic sharia in the emerging legal and political order. In a Q&A, Nathan J. Brown explains what the Islamic sharia is—and is not—and how it might be interpreted in Egypt’s new political system. In explaining the complexity of the Islamic sharia, Brown warns that one of the most striking features of the debate is the flexibility of key concepts and positions. Therefore it is far more important to understand who is to be entrusted with interpreting and applying sharia-based rules than it is to search for the precise meaning of the sharia.Read More


Egypt’s Presidential Election: What to Read
Cairo Review

Our "must-read" list of Egyptian presidential election coverage.Read More


The Revolution Will Be Improvised
Bissane El-Cheikh

The state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram did the unthinkable for the official Arab press in its 12 February 2011 issue: its huge front-page headline declared: “The People Overthrow the Regime.” The thick red text, above Al-Ahram’s logo of three pyramids, hinted at the symbolism of the moment; Egypt’s most widely read newspaper was not only acknowledging but also wholeheartedly endorsing the people’s decision. Read More


Egypt’s Transition Imbroglio
Nathan Brown

The phrase “Egyptian transition process” has become tragicomically oxymoronic in light of the dizzying series of developments over the past month. More metaphorically, events have driven entire herds of elephants stampeding through every legal and constitutional loophole in Egypt’s makeshift interim political system.Read More


In the Name of God
Rania Al Malky

The future of Egypt is on the brink of an Islamist abyss. The Freedom and Justice Party’s tattered poker-faced mask has finally fallen, revealing the bloody fangs of a power hungry vampire, intent on destroying anything that stands between it and its evil, Quran-wielding project to turn Egypt into medieval Afghanistan.Read More


One Year On in Syria
Rami G. Khouri

The year-long anniversary of the uprising against the Assad regime in Syria this week reveals why such regimes have persisted for so many decades in the Arab world, and also why they are doomed to collapse. We now see more clearly the four trends that have defined Syria since March 2011: the continued expansion, intensity and sophistication of the domestic populist uprising against the regime; the regime’s sustained use of brutal force against the nonviolent demonstrators and the militants who are trying to topple it; the erratic nature and impact of the political opposition abroad; and, the perplexity of the outside world about how to react to the events in the country.Read More


The Kingdom Divided
Elham Fakhro - Analysis from Sada

The reality for most Saudis is far-removed from the Kingdom’s reputation for extravagance. Official unemployment stands at 10 percent, but unofficial estimates place it as high as 20 percent. The latest official figures reveal that 670,000 families—approximately 3 million out of a total population of 18 million—live in poverty. Nor is hardship restricted to rural areas: a recent documentary on poverty in Riyadh, Maloub Alayna (The Joke’s on Us) recorded testimonies of families living on one meal a day, with as many as twenty people living in the same home. Read More


Why Do They Defy Even Death?
Rami G. Khouri

What is it that drives ordinary Arab men and women to do extraordinary things, like demonstrate against their government for 12 months non-stop, at the risk of being killed every day? I have heard many explanations for the ongoing Arab uprisings, but one of the best and most succinct explanations I heard at a seminar on Arab youth unemployment this week in Beirut, co-sponsored by the International Labor Organization (ILO) regional office and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation of Germany.Read More


Is the Government-Church Alliance a “Coptic Marriage”?
Avi Asher-Schapiro - Analysis from Sada

The Coptic Orthodox community occupies a paradoxical space in Egypt’s imagination; both Muslim and Christian religious elites insist that the Copts are no mere “minority,” but rather an integral component of the national fabric. Yet many Christians—especially working class and rural Copts—face documented and institutionalized discrimination. Over the last few decades, the church tried to manage these contradictions by monopolizing the community’s political expression within the papacy and its hierarchy—a monopoly made possible through the church’s close bonds with the Mubarak regime and its exhortation of adherents to refrain from dissent. But since Mubarak’s ouster, young Coptic activists have been working to fundamentally change the way the community engages politically. Read More


Pressures Keep Expanding on Syria
Rami G. Khouri

Three developments in the past few days suggest that the coming weeks could mark a decisive moment in the struggle for power in Syria, and the tug-of-war between pressure to bring down the Bashar Assad regime and the regime’s use of military force to beat the demonstrators into submission. The three critical developments are the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunisia last Friday; the appointment of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as the joint UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria; and, a UN report that essentially accuses Syrian senior officials of crimes against humanity, moving closer to international indictments against them.Read More


The Diligence and Humility of Anthony Shadid
Rami G. Khouri

When special people depart this world for another, as New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid did earlier this week, those of us who are left behind feel like a rowboat bobbing in the rolling waves of a large luxury yacht or ocean liner that has left us in its wake. We are slightly disoriented, momentarily losing our balance and direction, focused only on regaining equilibrium, and later anchorage, in a suddenly turbulent and frightening world. Acids that are only occasionally activated for special assignments go to work in the pit of our stomach. They generate sadness at the passing of his life, fear because we have been alerted to the fragility of our own lives, and also small jolts of confidence and hope -- because his life and death remind us that our world was, and remains, full of gifted people like him. Read More


Celebrating Two Great Inevitabilities
Rami G. Khouri

Well, reviewing events in Syria this week, I guess the uni-polar world, the looming American century, and the end of history that were simultaneously announced by assorted American chauvinists and crackpots at the end of the Cold War around 1990 can be discarded for now. The continuing killings in Syria, and the energized global diplomacy that is trying to wind it down and/or evict President Bashar el-Assad and his family from power, should be seen as two distinct dynamics that converge now for a moment.Read More


Why SCAF Must Go
Rania Al Malky

The massacre committed in Port Said on Wednesday night when thousands of fans of the home team Al-Masry, which had secured a rare 3-1 victory over Al-Ahly, stormed the pitch and launched a deadly attack on Ahly fans in the bleachers, was no spur-of-the-moment act of mob behavior. It was a carefully premeditated counter-revolutionary plot to sow sedition and set Egyptians against each other to eventually justify the continued presence in power of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).Read More


Who are the non-Islamists in Egypt’s new parliament?
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Since the release of the result of parliamentary elections, all of the attention has been on Egypt’s Islamist parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Salafi al-Nour Party, which gained the majority of seats in Egypt’s People’s Assembly. Nevertheless, the presence of non-Islamist, or secular, parties is important in assessing Egypt’s new parliament especially with regards to their potential as a counterweight to the Islamists.Read More


Syrian Scenarios
Rami G. Khouri

Now that the Arab League has decided to ask the UN Security Council to back its plan to resolve the crisis in Syria, the prospects of international involvement in Syria inch forward just a bit more. This adds a new dimension to the already fertile debate on how the mounting violence and expanding political crisis in Syria will end. In the past several months, I have heard dozens of suggested scenarios. Some are plausible, others are fantastic, but all are suggested seriously by usually knowledgeable observers and analysts, and they go something like this.Read More


A Year On, Have We Lost the Plot?
Rania Al Malky

First there was Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, then came Libya’s bloody war, Syria’s ongoing crimes against humanity, Yemen’s forgotten struggle. And somewhere in between there was and continues to be Egypt’s so-called “revolution.”Read More


The Seventy Percent
Bassem Sabry

The headline “Islamists win 70% of Egyptian Parliament list seats” was ubiquitous, even though we already knew that result was brewing since November and throughout the elections’ preliminary vote counts. Accompanying the historic headline was a significant frenzy of anger and despair.Read More


Syria Looks More Like Libya Every Day
Rami G. Khouri

The continuing deterioration of the political situation inside Syria last week led the emir of Qatar to suggest that it would be appropriate to send in Arab troops to stop the killing. How seriously he meant this suggestion remains unclear. He may have been offering this as a practical proposal or merely sending a political message that the Arab world could not wait forever as Syrians are killed by the dozen every day.Read More


When Victory Becomes an Option: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Confronts Success
Nathan Brown

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood stands on the brink of an impressive electoral victory. After several months of suggesting it would check its own electoral ambitions, the Brotherhood plunged into politics with unprecedented enthusiasm, focusing all of its energies and impressive organizational heft on the parliamentary vote. Now, with the electoral list of its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, likely to gain close to (and maybe even more than) half the seats and perhaps cabinet positions as well, the movement is entering uncharted waters. Read More


The SCAF: An Overview of its Actions
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

On February 10, 2011, Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) met for the first time without its chairman, former president Hosni Mubarak. It issued a communiqué indicating that Mubarak was preparing to relinquish his powers to the military after eighteen days of massive antigovernment protests. The SCAF’s first statement signaling the power transition assured the Egyptian public that the council would remain in continuous session in order to ensure the protection of the people and nation, and that it would support the legitimate demands of the protesters who had called for Mubarak’s overthrow.Read More


Salafis and Sufis in Egypt
Jonathan Brown

As expected, Egypt’s first parliamentary election after the overthrow of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak confirmed the popularity and organizational strength of the Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party, which won 77 of the 156 parliamentary seats contested in the first electoral round. Surprisingly, it also revealed the unexpected strength of the Salafi alliance, dominated by the al-Nour party, which secured 33 seats. Much to the discomfort of secular Egyptians and Western governments, Islamist parties now dominate the Egyptian political scene.Read More


The Specter of “Protected Democracy” in Egypt
Yezid Sayigh

When the Egyptian military ousted President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011, it was greeted by most Egyptians as the savior of the nation, the institution that had sided with the people against dictatorship and would steer the country through a period of transition toward democracy. Read More


Landmines in Egypt’s Constitutional Roadmap
Nathan Brown

Egypt’s protracted series of parliamentary balloting has just begun, but it is not too soon to think about the implications of presidential elections that have yet to be scheduled. And indeed, the way those elections have been planned (or, more accurately, the way they have not been planned) should cause deep concern.Read More


Libya’s Hard Road to Freedom
Shems Friedlander

Death is at the end of every street. Mohamed Messara whispers this in my ear as he points to a photograph he took in the Libyan desert that bleeds dust and belches hot air as bullets fly, many bullets, as the photo of a rebel fighter in the battle to free the city of Sirte shows. A myriad of empty shells, a carpet thrown over the dust and mud of the road.Read More


Syria: Warfare Ushers in Transition
Rami G. Khouri

The trend of events inside Syria these days is towards a troubling increase in organized military operations by both the government and opposition groups, with breakaway troops from the state armed forces now attacking state institutions. This is both a worrying escalation that can push Syria into destructive domestic strife that could escalate into civil war, and also a more or less routine rite of passage for modern Arab states that ultimately find themselves dealing with the consequences of their own contradictions, incompetence and even some criminality.Read More


Arab Moderation, Western Extremism
Hassan Yassin

Witnessing the popular and democratic revolutions sweeping across the Middle East, it is ironic to see that the United States and the West are focusing only on the perceived threat of Islamists coming to power democratically. While it is no surprise to us that the West is ready to forego its cherished democratic principles when it comes to Islamists being popularly elected (see Algeria and Palestine), it is all the more disturbing that they do not seem preoccupied about more dangerous extremists gaining influence in their own countries.Read More


Arab Exceptionalism
Rami G. Khouri

It has been eleven months since the Arab citizen revolts started in Tunisia last December and rolled through the Arab world in a wave that has manifested itself in different ways across the region. The two most striking things about the past eleven months are also slightly contradictory.Read More


Occupying the Future
Heather Ferguson

As I write, a moment of reckoning tangibly links three seemingly disparate protest sites: Tahrir Square, Los Angeles City Hall, and plazas across the University of California system. The opening moment of elections in Egypt, the closing of the Occupy movement’s last tent encampment by Los Angeles mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, and a UC-wide meeting of the Regents to discuss the shockingly mishandled response to student protests clearly illustrate, in their coincidental proximity to each other, what actors in each of these three contexts have long been self-consciously referencing: a global crisis.Read More


What Do Egyptians Want?
Thomas Plofchan

Heading into their first post-revolution election for parliament, 51 percent of Egyptians had not yet made up their minds on what party to vote for. Yet the race appeared to be dominated by two long-established political groups–the Muslim Brotherhood, represented by its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, and the New Wafd, a liberal party with roots in Egypt’s nationalist movement.Read More


Egypt Elections: Al-Ghad Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Originally a splinter from the Wafd Party, al-Ghad has maintained its liberal orientation but has joined the Democratic Alliance with the Freedom and Justice Party rather than the Egypt Bloc with most other liberal parties. Troubled by internal dissensions exacerbated by the Mubarak regime’s effort to discredit its leader Ayman Nour, the party has failed to establish an identity separate from that of its leader. Read More


Guide to Egypt’s Election Process
Thomas Plofchan

The initial round of Egypt’s first post-Mubarak election for the 498-seat lower house of parliament begins Monday. It will move ahead despite violent protests against the ruling military council that forced the interim government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to resign and raised doubts about the country’s transition to democracy. Read More


Egypt Elections: Al-Wafd Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Al-Wafd is one of the old, established political parties seeking to find their place in post-uprising Egypt. Rooted in history—today’s party, technically the New Wafd but always referred to simply as the Wafd, is the successor to the once powerful organization Nasser disbanded in 1952Read More


Is Military Rule in Egypt Really Temporary?
Philippe Droz-Vincent - Analysis from Sada

The end of Hosni Mubarak’s regime marks a critical juncture in Egypt’s civil-military dynamic. In the breakdown of institutional order following the dictator's ousting on February 11, 2011 and the subsequent disappearance of the police, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reluctantly assumed power. The time frame for this arrangement (initially scheduled for six months) is currently unpredictable and may be prolonged. Faced with a possible surrender of its influence held under decades of authoritarian rule, the military is trying to strike a delicate balance. Read More


Egypt Elections: Freedom and Justice Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Freedom and Justice Party was formed by the Muslim Brotherhood in May 2011 and is the dominant Islamist party in Egypt. It could receive a plurality of votes in the election, although not a majority. Aware of the fears that surround its participation, the party defines itself as a “civil” party rather than an Islamic one, and has formed the Democratic Alliance with a number of liberal and leftist parties.Read More


“Mr. Middle East” Resigns
Scott MacLeod

There are no signs that Ross’s nearly three years of serving the Obama administration contributed an iota to achieving a peace settlement. His diplomatic involvement in the Bush 41 and Clinton administrations yielded similar failure. But rather than give hope for a new beginning, his departure only illustrates what a sad shambles Obama’s Middle East policy has become. Read More


Egypt Elections: al-Wasat (Center Party)
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Al-Wasat, as its name indicates, is a moderate Islamist party, originally a spin-off from the Muslim Brotherhood that was finally allowed to register in 2011 after fifteen years of unsuccessful efforts. The party is in talks to join the Third Way alliance when it is announced.Read More


The Arab League and the European Union
Hassan Yassin

Aside from the gaffes of US presidential candidates, much of the world’s attention today is focused on two specific regions: Europe and the Middle East. Both regions are facing significant challenges that beg for concerted action through their regional bodies. The European Union is dealing with a debt and confidence crisis of great magnitude and consequence, while the Arab League is trying to display unity and decisive action in the face of regional upheavals and the unacceptable methods used by some to quell challenges to their regimes. Both regional groupings are playing their future, with vast implications worldwide.Read More


The Tunisian Army—A New Political Role?
Yezid Sayigh

The conduct of peaceful and free elections for a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution in Tunisia presents an impressive model for other Arab countries undergoing transition. Read More


Egypt Elections: Democratic Front Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Democratic Front Party (Al-Gabha al-Dimuqrati) is part of the liberal spectrum. It defines itself as a civil party, which is secular in orientation but not hostile to Islam and recognizes that Islam is part of the fabric of the Egyptian state. It is a member of the Egypt Bloc.Read More


Egypt Elections: National Democratic Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The National Democratic Party (NDP), Egypt’s former ruling party, first established by President Anwar Sadat in 1976, remained the country’s dominant party until the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. It tried to survive by announcing on April 13 that it would participate in the forthcoming elections under the name New National Party and under new leadership. Read More


Egypt Elections: Al-Adl Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Al-Adl is a new party seeking to carve for itself a centrist position and a role as a bridge between the Islamist-dominated Democratic Alliance and the liberal-dominated Egypt Bloc. It is seeking to create a “Third Way” coalition which is yet to be announced. So far, only the Egyptian Current Party and al-Wasat are the only other parties that have shown interest in joining the Third Way Coalition. The party has been critical of the polarization of politics and of the participation in elections of former members of the National Democratic Party.Read More


Egypt Elections: National Progressive Unionist (Al-Tagammu) Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

One of the oldest Egyptian parties still in existence, al-Tagammu is a leftist party in serious decline under an aging leadership, struggling to find its place in a changing environment. Before the 2011 uprising, it had become increasingly reconciled with the Mubarak regime. After the uprising, it first joined the Democratic Alliance but left to become a founding member of the Egypt Bloc.Read More


Egypt Elections: Reform and Development Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Reform and Development Party falls on the liberal side of the spectrum. Starting as a splinter from the Democratic Front in 2009, it was not allowed to register officially until May 2011, but remained active in the interim. The party has so far remained aloof concerning alliances, joining neither the Democratic Alliance nor the Egypt Bloc.Read More


Egypt Elections: Al-Nour Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Al-Nour is a Salafi political party founded after the January 2011 uprising. It was originally a member of the Democratic Alliance, but left the alliance in September 2011, calling instead for the creation of an alliance between all the Islamist political groups in Egypt.Read More


Egypt Elections: Nasserist Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Nasserist Party is more important for what it represents in the past history of Egypt than for its future role. Led by aging politicians, it has been struggling with a generational divide in its ranks and has been losing support. It belongs to the Democratic Alliance.Read More


Egypt Elections: Egyptian Liberation Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Egyptian Liberation Party is a new Islamist party with a strong Sufi influence. The party was founded by Ibrahim Zahran following the January 2011 uprising and gained the support of a number of prominent Sufi leaders, including Mohamed Ala’a al-Din Abu al-Azayem of the Azamiyya Sufi Order. The Egyptian Liberation Party is a member of the Egyptian Bloc alliance and is the only party in the bloc with a religious orientation.Read More


Egypt Elections: Egyptian Current Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Egyptian Current Party is a moderate Islamist party founded by prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood youth wing who had become disgruntled with the group’s old guard and were unwilling to join the Freedom and Justice Party. The Egyptian Current Party is not a member of either the Democratic Alliance or Egypt Bloc but is in talks regarding joining the Third Way alliance with al-Adl and al-Wasat.Read More


Egypt Elections: Building and Development Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Building and Development Party (Al-Banna’ wa al-Tanmiyya) is the official political party of the Egyptian Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (the Islamic Group). It was founded by the prominent Islamist Tareq al-Zumr following the January 2011 uprising. Al-Banna’ wa al-Tanmiyya is a member of the Democratic Alliance. Read More


Egypt Elections: Al-Geel Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The al-Geel Party was established on February 9, 2002. Nagi al-Shihaby is the party leader and was formerly a member of the Shura Council. He has called for the adoption of a party list electoral system. Al-Shihaby has personally expressed his support for Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and he maintains that the United States poses the greatest threat to Arab and Islamic countries. Another prominent party member, Ali al-Badry, is a journalist and vocal advocate of labor unions and their right to organize.Read More


Egypt Elections: Al-Asala Party
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Al-Asala is a Salafi party founded by Adel abd al-Maqsoud Afify following the January 2011 uprising. It is the second Salafi party after al-Nour to gain official recognition in Egypt. Al-Asala is a member of the Democratic Alliance.Read More


The Middle Class and Transformations in the Arab World
Ibrahim Saif

It has become commonplace for people to talk about the middle class and its role in economic and societal transformations, and many have credited this group with playing a role in the current changes sweeping the region. But despite the newfound ease with which people talk about it, there are those who argue that the middle class has dwindled and that its values and the role it plays in Arab societies have changed. But what do we actually know about the size of this group and nature of its role, and can we generalize across countries that differ vastly from one another?Read More


Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era
Lauren E. Bohn

Best selling author and Mind/Body pundit Deepak Chopra has deemed him a “Muslim Gandhi” for his calls for a pacifist antidote to the often inaccurate Islamist extremist discourse that emerged post 9/11, and he has been widely sought in the American Media for his American- Muslim perspective. In his new book Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era, Arsalan Iftikhar, an international human rights lawyer by trade and founder of themuslimguy.com charts out a new global movement based on peaceful coexistence that is firmly rooted within the framework of modern Islam. Iftikhar talked to the Cairo Review about how the Arab Spring has affected his mission and how Obama is getting it wrong.Read More


Egypt’s Economic Outlook
Anne W. Patterson

Egyptians today are engaged in a vigorous discussion over the political future of the country. This is a healthy and vitally important debate, and I am confident that it will result in a democratic Egypt that protects human rights and helps address its citizens’ needs. However, we know from experience that successful democratic transitions not only rely on political reform, but also depend on broadening economic opportunity.Read More


William B. Quandt on the Peace Process: “At a dead end”
Lauren E. Bohn

Despite the intense focus on the uprisings across the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to command diplomatic attention. Later this month, the United Nations General Assembly is slated to vote on Palestinian statehood. William B. Quandt, author of Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967, spoke to the Cairo Review on the outlook for progress.Read More


Remembering Sergio
Shaden Khallaf

The day I met Sergio Vieira de Mello, who died eight years ago, remains imprinted in my memory. I had never been as mesmerized by someone. I had heard and read about him. Who in the United Nations system hadn’t? But when Dennis McNamara, his lifetime friend and colleague, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Special Envoy for Iraq (with whom I was traveling on mission) introduced me to him in Larnaca, Cyprus on June 1, 2003, I was star-struck.Read More


Egypt’s New Downstream Diplomacy
Sarah Grebowski

A curious thing has happened on the Nile since the fall of Hosni Mubarak: after decades of dictating the river's politics, Egypt is finally acting like a downstream state. Sensing both its vulnerability and opportunity for change in the wake of the January 25 revolution, Egypt's transitional authorities have shuttled representatives from one Nile Basin state to another, making gestures in the name of cooperation and mutual development.Read More


Five Dichotomies of the Egyptian Psyche
Tarek Osman

There is near consensus that because Egypt has enormous cultural influence on the Arab world, the direction the country takes after the 2011 revolution will be an indication of the direction of Arab politics in general. To understand the dynamics shaping Egyptian socio-politics, observers need to reflect on five dichotomies that mould Egyptian psyche.Read More


How to Fix U.S.-Pakistan Relations
Ty McCormick

U.S. relations with Pakistan have been on the rocks since Navy SEALs buzzed into Abbottabad unannounced in a pair of modified MH-60 helicopters and took out Osama bin Laden. The move, which 68 percent of Pakistanis viewed as a “severe” compromise of their country’s sovereignty, according to a Gallup poll, prompted the humiliated Pakistani military to expel U.S. military trainers from the country and refuse visas to other American personnelRead More


Special Report: Why the Past is Crucial to Egypt’s Future
Michael Wahid Hanna

As Egypt’s post-revolutionary politics oscillate between protest and politics, the uneven progress of change has led to widespread frustration and suspicion that the remnants of the old regime are sabotaging efforts at fundamental change.Read More


Women and the Arab Spring
Lauren E. Bohn

Egyptian women were on the front lines of the protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak. The Arab Spring has not expressly rallied for the advancement of women’s rights, though many have said that the empowerment they felt during the demonstrations should be used to effect change for women themselves. Now, however, many women are worried they are being sidelined in the formation of a new Egypt as the country's de facto ruling body, the military, charts a framework for transition. Isobel Coleman, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, talked to the Cairo Review about the days ahead for women in Egypt.Read More


One Person, One Vote in Syria?
Josef Olmert

The longer the protest continues, the worse it is for President Bashar Assad, whose claim for political legitimacy is based primarily on the assumption that his regime was the only one capable of maintaining stability in Syria.Read More


Asia Model for Arab Reform
Ellen Laipson

President Obama’s May 19 speech about change in the Middle East raises some important and enduring conundrums about politics and identity that apply to Asia as well as the Middle East. The U.S. wants to be on the right side of history, and has newly embraced the demand for reform and democracy as a higher-order determinant of U.S. policy priorities than the earlier emphasis on stability. Read More


The Case for Egyptianism
Tarek Osman

The rising sectarianism, violence, and the conspicuous presence of many religious groups bent on Islamizing the society in Egypt in the past three months since the forced removal of President Mubarak raised the prospect of the establishment of an Islamic state in the country. To assess whether or not that prospect will transpire, five factors need to be understood.Read More


The Long Revolution?
Heather Ferguson

The closing sentence of Eliza Griswold’s “Talk of the Town” vignette in the May 16 edition of the New Yorker poignantly connects Abbottabad to the surge of protests sweeping North Africa and the Middle East: “I’m afraid of our economy,” an Abbottabad realtor insists, “not of Osama bin Laden.” This simple, yet powerful, statement transcends ideological warfare—be it against terrorism or for democracy—and reminds us that dire economic conditions are the most basic driving force behind the protests.Read More


Special Report: What the Pew Poll on Egypt Really Means
Yasmin Moll

What Egyptians want, above all, is an Egyptian democracy. For many of them, this means a democracy that doesn’t view religion as either a backward relic to be surmounted and militantly policed (again, France) or an apolitical feel-good faith to be celebrated as long as it behaves (Great Britain).Read More


Obama's Middle East Cluelessness
Scott MacLeod

Friday's announcement of George Mitchell's resignation as the U.S. mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict appears to be yet another sign of the disarray and failure in President Obama's handling of the Middle East. Recently, two articles provided a troubling inside look at the ineptitude that makes Mitchell's departure unsurprising. A New Yorker piece on the Arab Spring by Ryan Lizza describes Obama's navigation between realists and idealists, and tags him (per the article's title) as "The Consequentialist." Perhaps "The Cluelessist" is more like it.Read More


Curtains For Bin Laden’s Freak Show
Scott MacLeod

There was a theatrical air about Osama bin Laden. He cultivated mystique. For example, he relished inviting selected international journalists–some known for their own theatricality–to meet him in dangerous or shadowy circumstances that facilitated dramatic storytelling. I had a minor part in bringing Bin Laden to the world stage in 1996 when I interviewed him in Khartoum for a TIME magazine story headlined “The Paladin of Jihad.” Bin Laden’s enemies added to the hype. George W. Bush, the gun-slinging president from Texas, responded to September 11 with a line straight out of Hollywood: “I want justice. And there's an old poster out West I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'"Read More


When Will the Arab Awakening Wake Up Washington?
Scott MacLeod

Three months after the January 25 Revolution in Egypt, President Obama's approach to the Middle East is hopelessly adrift. He is hesitant to truly embrace the Arab freedom movements, failing to lead Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and lacking effective diplomacy to counter Iran's nuclear ambitions. Two years after his ballyhooed Cairo University reach-out to the Arab and Muslim worlds, it's clear now that he actually doesn't get it.Read More


Q&A with U.S. Senator John McCain
Scott MacLeod

McCain: Support anti-Gadhafi Libyan rebels, de-legitimize Syria’s AssadRead More


TEARS AND JOY OF TAHRIR!
Shems Friedlander

Opened just two months after the start of protests, Tahrir! embodies the texture as well as the spirit of a revolution that is still ongoing Read More


Spanish Lessons
Leslie Croxford

History does not repeat itself but it teaches lessons. As Egypt moves from autocracy, it can learn from the way in which Spain made its own transición in the 1970s from the dictatorship of General Franco to the liberal democracy of his appointed successor, King Juan Carlos. Read More


Opportunity to End Al-Bashir Rule in Sudan?
Hamid Eltgani Ali

A promising African country is decimated by wars, violence, and lack of individual liberties. President Omar Al-Bashir, who elected himself multiple times through fraudulent and farcical elections, has ruled the country with an iron fist and explosive violence for more than two decades. But the county is revolting, from its peripheries. Read More


Algeria's New Test
Akram Belkaïd

Arabs finally know “Berlin time.” Their wall of fear is collapsing. The Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are fragile. Libya can tip into chaos. But, one might ask, who cares? The long-awaited time of freedom has come. The Arab world is entering a new phase of the end of the post-colonial period, a crucial one in which the regimes can no longer control their populations with an iron fist. Algeria cannot remain impervious to the huge expectations. Read More


A Special Report: Inside Al-Assad's Syria Today
Lauren E. Bohn

Yazan is one of legions of Syrians who have internalized the paranoia that has been the hallmark of life under the Baath Party regime. The vast network of Syria's security agencies, the feared mukhabarat, has turned Syria into a kingdom of silence.Read More


How Hezbollah Sees Arab Revolution
Nicholas Blanford

Hezbollah is keeping a close eye on the unprecedented uprising in neighboring Syria, wary that the collapse of the Al-Assad regime could fundamentally reshape the strategic balance of the Middle East and present stark challenges to the Lebanese group and its Iranian patron. For now, Hezbollah officials and cadres are expressing a quiet confidence that President Bashar Al-Assad will prevail. Read More


The Brotherhood's Democracy Deficit
Sarah Grebowski

While Egypt's popular uprising has given the Brotherhood the chance to flex its political muscles, it is also forcing the organization to face up to its own democracy deficit. While it prefers to walk the line between being an advocate for reform and a guardian of the political status quo (under which it is one of the only forces prepared to compete in upcoming parliamentary elections), the Brotherhood is facing internal and external pressure to conform to Egypt's emerging democratic standards. Read More


The Wheel Turns for Libya
Ty McCormick

When President Obama went on national television Monday night to defend launching a military assault on Libya, didn’t his address have a familiar ring? Muammar Gadhafi is a “tyrant,” Obama said, who “murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world, including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.” Read More


After Revolution, Entry Points for Egyptian Youth
Laila El Baradei

If we aspire to achieve responsive governance in Egypt to reform our institutions, there are many channels to enable the youth so they can play a role: from within the government bureaucracy, from within the private sector and non-government sector, through organized political and advocacy activities, and through conventional and non-conventional media and communication tools. Read More


Dictators and the Internet
Warigia Bowman

The Internet network is inherently not governed. Yet, each player has a valuable role. January 27 teaches us that a move away from centralization, particularly in the presence of autocratic governments, is crucial. Read More


Galal Amin: The People vs. the Army
Lauren E. Bohn

Egyptian author Galal Amin's new book is certainly timely. “Egypt in the Era of Hosni Mubarak, 1981-2011” chronicles the corruption and misrule that led to Egypt’s January 25 revolution. Amin, a professor at the American University in Cairo, spoke to the Cairo Review after his book launch. Read More


Illustrating the Revolution
Erin Biel

To most around the world who watched the events of the Jan. 25 Revolution in Egypt unfold, the images of Tahrir Square protesters fleeing flanks of riot police, tear gas, and armored tanks served as vivid depictions of the egregious violence experienced directly by those on the ground. However, for those on the ground, other vivid images began to illustrate the Revolution: cartoons. Read More


Electing a New Egypt
Marina Ottaway - Analysis from Sada

In a Q&A, Marina Ottaway analyzes the elections and Egypt’s fragile transition and says that the latest outbreak of violence makes the elections both imperative and difficult. The most challenging part of the change to civilian government in Egypt lies ahead—the road to democracy is far from guaranteed. Read More


A Turning Tide in Lebanon
Rudy Sassine - Analysis from Sada

In an unexpected move, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati has committed $33 million (Lebanon’s total contribution) for the United Nations’ Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) established to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Following prolonged stalemate over funding that threatened to bring down his government, Mikati’s decision comes as a harbinger to the turning political tide in Lebanon.Read More


American Media Bias
Rami G. Khouri

I was in the United States 16 months ago when an Egyptian national popular uprising forced Hosni Mubarak to quit his presidency, and I was in the United States again this week when Mohammed Morsi was elected as the new Egyptian president. Then and now, Americans remain unsure about how to react to the popular revolutions that felled their long-time autocratic Arab allies, who in most cases were replaced by more legitimate, Islamist-led governments.Read More


We Must Dream
Ahmed Zewail

Replacing the Darkness of Ignorance with the Light of KnowledgeRead More


Completing the Revolution
Mohamed A. El-Erian

Four Keys to a More Prosperous Future Read More


View from Washington
Steven A. Cook

When Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi declared it his “duty” to free Omar Abdel Rahman—the man behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that killed six and injured one thousand—it was not a very auspicious beginning for relations between the United States and the ‘new’ Egypt. The U.S. Congress, particularly the delegation from the New York City area, expressed outrage.Read More


Liars
Judith Veenkamp

On a weeknight in May, Tamer Qenawy, a thirty-year-old revolutionary, is pacing in El-Hosary Square in 6th October City, a satellite of Cairo. He and friends are setting up a film screening. They have tied a white screen to a fence right by a minibus stop. The projector and laptop are here but Qenawy is waiting for some other guys to bring the sound system. A crowd gathers and then the program begins: a screening of homemade videos depicting violent attacks on protesters during a demonstration outside the Ministry of Defense three weeks earlier. Read More


“Freedom, Freedom, Come, Embrace Us”
Mona Prince

An Egyptian’s Account of Her RevolutionRead More


The Fall of Hosni Mubarak
Tarek Osman

How a Failure to Lead Brought Down the Leader Read More


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