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20 Apr 2011 - 04 Jul 2017
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May 3, 2013
The Tahrir Forum
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
No Jobs and Bad Jobs
Ghada Barsoum
Youth employment issues pose a threat to Egypt’s democratic transition. Persistent high unemployment rates among youth, the increasing deterioration of the quality of jobs available with no social protection, and the growth in employment informality must be addressed.​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 Liberals​Read 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
Midan El-Tahrir
Ahdaf Soueif
The Story of a SpaceRead 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
How Egypt’s Islamists Lost the First Round
Rania Al Malky
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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
Candidates in the 2012 Egyptian Presidential Election
Thomas Plofchan
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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 personnel​Read 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
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 Knowledge​Read More
Democracy is Inevitable
Jimmy Carter
Why I believe in Egyptians​Read 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
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 Revolution​Read More
The Fall of Hosni Mubarak
Tarek Osman
How a Failure to Lead Brought Down the Leader Read More
Fighting Censorship
Ahmed Aboul Enein
Read More
The Never-Ending Palestine Tragedy
Karen Koning AbuZayd
Engaging the Haitian Diaspora
Tatiana Wah
Driven Out By Drought
Vikram Kolmannskog
Out of Egypt
Tarek Osman
Stability at All Costs
Anne Wolf

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