Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

Should the U.S. Maintain its Alliance With Saudi Arabia? Unfortunately, We’re Stuck With Them

by Steven A. Cook Monday, February 27, 2017
Saudi Arabia's King Salman attends a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia (Edgar Su/Reuters).

This article was originally published here at Salon.com on Sunday, February 26, 2017.

In late January, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the minister of defense, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the King Faisal Air Academy. On the occasion, the Saudis reportedly added to their fleet of warplanes a number of brand new F-15SAs. The new planes are a variant of the Boeing-manufactured F-15 fighter jets and are part of a $29.4 billion deal signed in late 2011 that includes 84 new F-15SAs and an additional 68 of the F-15S variant that will be upgraded. Read more »

The Deep State Comes to America

by Steven A. Cook Friday, February 24, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his new National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (L) and that acting adviser Keith Kellogg (R) will become the chief of staff of the National Security Council at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on ForeignPolicy.com on Friday, February 24, 2017.

In the months and weeks leading up to the summer 2013 coup d’état in Egypt that brought Mohamed Morsi’s presidency to an end, Egyptians encountered one economic challenge after another. Blackouts had become commonplace, the tourism industry was dead, foreign investment was nonexistent, and the government was flirting with a solvency crisis. All of this meant severe hardship for the millions of Egyptians who had hoped that the end of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime would bring them the “bread, freedom, and social justice” so many had demanded in Tahrir Square a few years earlier. Read more »

Our Man in the Middle East: The Confusing Worldview of Trump Aide Derek Harvey

by Steven A. Cook Monday, February 13, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters accompanied by National security adviser General Michael Flynn (2nd L) after delivering remarks during a visit in Langley, Virginia (Carlos Barria/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Salon.com on Sunday, February 12, 2017.

Even since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, the Middle East has been the central focus of American security and foreign policy. The United States maintains bases or access to facilities throughout the region. Its largest diplomatic post in the world is located in Iraq. American diplomats have spent countless hours encouraging democracy in Egypt and many more trying to forge peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The U.S. government has supported civil society in Tunisia and trained rebels in Syria. And the American defense industry sells billions of dollars worth of weapons to the region annually. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Repression, Tripoli’s Tribulations, and the Golan’s Circassians

by Steven A. Cook Friday, February 10, 2017
General view for Cairo international book fair in Cairo, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters).

Read the El Nadim Center’s latest report on oppression in Egypt, published two weeks before authorities shut down the organization’s headquarters on February 9. Read more »

Are We Experiencing a Slow-Motion, Turkish-Style Coup? Or Our Own Arab Spring?

by Steven A. Cook Monday, February 6, 2017
A police officer walks past people as they gather to protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas (Laura Buckman/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Salon.com on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Ben Ali’s Flight, the Nawari of Gaza, and Algeria’s Independence Reconsidered

by Steven A. Cook Friday, February 3, 2017
Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali addresses the nation in this still image taken from video, January 13, 2011 (Tunisian State TV/Handout/Reuters).

Middle East Eye interviews Mahmoud Cheikhrouhou, the pilot who flew Tunisia’s ousted president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, to Saudi Arabia in January 2011. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Russia in the Levant, the Uprising in Alexandria, and Tunisians Look Back

by Steven A. Cook Friday, January 27, 2017
People wave national flags during celebrations marking the sixth anniversary of Tunisia's 2011 revolution in Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis, Tunisia (Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters).

Ibrahim Hamidi finds parallels between Russian activity in Syria today and French military expansion in the Levant in the 1920s.

Youssef El Chazli recreates the events of the first day of Egypt’s 2011 uprising as they unfolded in Alexandria. Read more »

Middle East Derangement Syndrome: Egypt, Turkey and Israel Have All Fallen Prey to Delusions About Trump

by Steven A. Cook Monday, January 23, 2017
Donald Trump arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington before his inauguration (Win McNamee/Pool/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Salon.com on Sunday, January 22, 2017. Read more »