Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

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

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Showing posts for "Egypt"

Weekend Reading: Non-Sectarian Refugees, the Transformation of Egyptians, and Inside the Fight Against the Islamic State

by Steven A. Cook
Egyptians celebrate on Tahrir Square during the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters). Egyptians celebrate on Tahrir Square during the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters).

Laura Dean reflects on the surprising absence of sectarianism among Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Amro Ali encourages Egyptians to recognize their individual political transformations as the true achievement of the 2011 revolution. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Sunnis Fighting With Shias, Agatha Christie in Arabic Literature, and Who is Ali Abd al-Aal?

by Steven A. Cook
A man looks at a book outside of a bookshop that sells Islamic and reference books for Al-Azhar students near the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt, May 18, 2015 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters). A man looks at a book outside of a bookshop that sells Islamic and reference books for Al-Azhar students near the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt, May 18, 2015 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters).

Mustafa Saadoun reports on the cautious optimism of Sunni recruitment to Iraq’s Shiite militias, the Popular Mobilization Units. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Jews, Lebanon’s Mukhtars, and Saudi Arabia’s Women

by Steven A. Cook
Saudi woman Fawzia al-Harbi, a candidate for local municipal council elections, uses her laptop at a shopping mall in Riyadh (Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters). Saudi woman Fawzia al-Harbi, a candidate for local municipal council elections, uses her laptop at a shopping mall in Riyadh (Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters).

Hanin Ghaddar talks to Magda Haroun, head of Cairo’s Jewish community, about her people’s legacy to Egypt.

Nora Stel explores the role of mukhtars—elected neighborhood- or village-level state representatives—in Lebanon’s consociational political system. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Tourism in Egypt, Descartes in Reyhanli, and Corruption in the KRG

by Steven A. Cook
A girl holds a child inside a refugee camp for the internally displaced in Jrzinaz area, southern part of Idlib province, Syria October 13, 2015 (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters). A girl holds a child inside a refugee camp for the internally displaced in Jrzinaz area, southern part of Idlib province, Syria October 13, 2015 (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters).

Farah Halime studies how continued violence in Egypt, particularly against the tourism industry, negatively impacts the country’s economy.

The blogger Maysaloon discusses teaching identity, philosophy, and Descartes to Syrian refugee children. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Ramlat Bulaq, Bedouin Poetry, and the Islamic State vs. Israel

by Steven A. Cook
A small cruise boat passes Nile City Towers, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris the owner of Orascom Telecom, overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters). A small cruise boat passes Nile City Towers, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris the owner of Orascom Telecom, overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters).

Omnia Khalil reviews the struggles of everyday life in the Cairene neighborhood of Ramlat Bulaq.

William Tamplin takes a look at Jordan’s most popular Bedouin poet and his use of verse to express Arab political arguments. Read more »

Egypt: Into the Unknown

by Steven A. Cook
An Egyptian army soldier stands guard near debris from a Russian airliner which crashed at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters). An Egyptian army soldier stands guard near debris from a Russian airliner which crashed at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters).

The Egyptian state is weak. The country’s leaders are in a state of either panic or perpetual confusion. No one is in control. As in the darkest, most contested days of former President Mohammed Morsi’s tenure, Egypt’s failure once again seems plausible. Despite what supporters of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi claim about webs of conspiracies hatched in Washington, Doha, Istanbul, Jerusalem, or wherever, Egyptians have no one to blame but themselves. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s State of Idiocy, Darth Mediene, and Libya’s Tribes

by Steven A. Cook
A man reads newspaper in the alley of the old city of Algiers Al Casbah, Algeria (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters). A man reads newspaper in the alley of the old city of Algiers Al Casbah, Algeria (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters).

Maged Atiya laments the Egyptian state’s devolution into idiocy.

Sam Metz and Abdallah Brahimi explore the potential reasons behind the recent dismissal of Algerian spy chief Mohammed Mediene. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Libya’s Forgotten War, Egypt’s Hidden Coup, and Falling Oil Prices

by Steven A. Cook
A Tuareg boy stands next to a camel in the desert during the 19th Ghat Festival of Culture and Tourism, in Ghat, about 1,360 km (845 miles) south of Tripoli December 30, 2013 (Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters). A Tuareg boy stands next to a camel in the desert during the 19th Ghat Festival of Culture and Tourism, in Ghat, about 1,360 km (845 miles) south of Tripoli December 30, 2013 (Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters).

Valerie Stocker explores the overlook conflict between Libya’s Tebu and Tuareg communities.

Hossam Bahgat investigates a secret military trial in Egypt of twenty-six officers accused of plotting a coup with the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Read more »

Interest and Intrigue in Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections

by Guest Blogger for Steven A. Cook
A man casts his vote during the first phase of the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Giza governorate (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters). A man casts his vote during the first phase of the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Giza governorate (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters).

H. A. Hellyer contributed this guest post on the recent Egyptian parliamentary elections. I hope you find it interesting.

Egyptians voted this week for the eighth time in four years—ten if you count runoffs. The most blatant characteristic this time appears to be rather unedifying: An abundant lack of interest in the formal exercise of the democratic process. Unlike the enthusiasm of the last parliamentary elections in 2011, generalized apathy marked this round of voting. Yet there are some issues of intrigue to be drawn out and looked at further. Read more »