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INSIGHT: Egypt – a Tinderbox Waiting for a Spark

Nearly six months after the mass uprising-cum-coup that toppled Mohamed Morsi, the key cleavages of Egypt’s domestic political conflict are not only unresolved, but unresolvable. The generals who removed Morsi are engaged in an existential struggle with the Muslim Brotherhood: They believe they must destroy the Brotherhood – by, for instance, designating it a More »

INSIGHT: Pluralism Key to Real Change in Arab World

Three years after the start of political upheaval across the region, transitional governments are struggling to maintain popular support amid rising sectarianism, poverty and violent extremism. Of six Arab countries that have experienced revolts since late 2010, only tiny Tunisia and Yemen appear to be making fitful progress toward political pluralism. Libya is plagued by More »

INSIGHT: The Government Cracks Down, and Egypt Shrugs

Egyptians say the mood is different now. Gone is the call of the revolution demanding justice for the brutal torture and killing of a young man and an end to the police abuse his case exemplified. In its place is a weary, national shrug toward brutal attacks, now that they’re directed against the Muslim More »

INSIGHT: Year Four of the Arab Awakening

How will history judge the uprisings that started in many parts of the Arab world in 2011? The label “Arab Spring” proved too simplistic from the beginning. Transformational processes defy black-and-white expectations, but in the end, will the awakenings be more reminiscent of what happened in Europe in 1848, when several uprisings took place More »

INSIGHT: Egyptian Women – Between Reports and Reality

I was not surprised by the contents of a report published recently by the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the status of women’s rights in the Arab world. Reactions to the report among Egyptians, however, were interesting, ranging from support to opposition to complete dismissal. Egypt was found to be the worst state for Arab More »

INSIGHT: Egypt Disorganization

For the first time since Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow five months ago, street protests erupted in Egypt last week that were not specifically the work of the Muslim Brotherhood aimed at restoring the deposed leader to the presidency. The protagonists this time were another group of familiar faces.  The different groups that are commonly lumped together More »

INSIGHT: Quotas and Women in Egyptian Politics

Last week, Egypt’s Constituent Assembly, charged with amending the country’s constitution, announced that 25 percent of municipal seats will be reserved for women. There is no word yet on when municipal elections will be held, or if a similar quota will be established for parliament, but the move is a positive step toward improving More »

INSIGHT: Rights Groups in Egypt Face Withering Assault

Human rights groups are routinely tarred in today’s Egyptian media – including social media – as either “traitors supporting terrorism” or “mercenaries selling their services to the highest bidder.” They are being denounced for treachery despite their utter dedication and consistency in standing by the principles of human rights and democracy through all the More »

INSIGHT: 4 Things the US Should Do to Regain Credibility in Egypt

Last week, Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim was the target of an assassination attempt that took place just steps from where protesters gathered last month in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. The bomb blast – reported to have injured 10 policemen and 11 civilians, including a child – is the latest in a More »

QUICKTAKE: US Military Aid to Egypt – ‘Subsidizing Tyranny’

The Obama administration continues to deliberate over whether the U.S. should continue its policy of providing roughly $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt.  Many argue that the U.S. gets a lot for its money – priority passage through the Suez Canal, military sales and insurance that Egypt will continue honoring its peace More »

QUICKTAKE: US Military Aid to Egypt – Maintain Existing Leverage

The United States is still undecided on whether it should continue providing $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt.  President Barack Obama says he doubts any U.S. action – or inaction – will have much impact on Egypt’s military, which appears determined to put down supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.  So what factors More »

INSIGHT: Egypt and Flaws in the Modern Personality Cult

Anti-Morsi protesters hold a poster depicting the head of Egypt's armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in Cairo's Tahrir Square July 3, 2013. (Reuters)

Once, when Hosni Mubarak still led Egypt, I met a man in his mid-20s on a dusty, congested street near Tahrir Square. When he extended his hand to shake mine for the first time, I noticed a small black cross tattooed on his inner wrist, a discreet but potent reminder of his membership in More »

INSIGHT: In Egypt, Crackdown Threatens to Divide Muslim Brotherhood

Six weeks after toppling the government, the Egyptian military moved to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood, raising questions about the future of the world’s largest Islamist movement. The Brotherhood has demonstrated an ability to weather far worse suppression, but this time it is facing a different sort of crisis – one that could More »

INSIGHT: Democracy’s Losing the Street Fight

Should we have democracy on demand? In Egypt, protesters who have been in the streets for weeks trying to reverse the outcome of June 30 have been dispersed by bulldozers and bullets, and the future of democracy is no more secure than when they first set up camp. But not only Egypt – Spain, Turkey, Brazil, More »

INSIGHT: Business Looks for Post-Morsi Dividend

The Egyptian army’s removal of Mohamed Morsi as president was warmly welcomed by the business community, which had viewed the Muslim Brotherhood-led government as both hostile to business and an ineffective administrator. This positive mood will only have been reinforced by the pledging of $12 billion in aid from three Gulf states, which should More »

INSIGHT: From Russia, Lessons for Egypt

History, it seems, moves too quickly. Not even three short weeks ago, the world’s pundits were consumed by the question of whether to call the military’s return to power in Egypt a coup, and thus whether to condemn it. Today, they are consumed by the question of how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will More »

INSIGHT: Egypt in Flux – Don’t Forget the Muslim Brotherhood

The killing earlier this month of some 50 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, allegedly at the hands of the Egyptian Army, marked a new low in the ongoing crisis surrounding the July 3 ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. The crisis began ahead of mass protests on June 30 in which millions of Egyptians took to More »

VOICES: Egypt – What Next?

Regardless of whether July 3 was a revolution or a coup d’état against Egypt’s first democratically elected – president, Mohamed Morsi, the scene of millions of Egyptians taking to streets on June 30 shows that the revolution Egyptians started in early 2011 is still in the making. Though it has taken a dangerous slide More »

INSIGHT: Islam Is Not the Solution to What Ails the Middle East

During the decades when Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was a barely tolerated opposition party, it campaigned against the reigning secular autocrats under the banner “Islam is the solution.” With the military’s removal on July 3 of the Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, the region’s oldest exemplar of political Islam has lost its best and perhaps only chance More »

QUICKTAKE: Political Reconciliation Key for Egypt Future

Following the removal from power in Egypt of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, experts are expressing concern that their exclusion from any future government might be detrimental to the country’s stability and might even trigger a civil war. Some say that political reconciliation between Islamist forces and the civilian caretaker government More »