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: Immigration in the Emirates, North and South Yemen, and Egypt’s Copts

by Steven A. Cook
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greets Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo (Handout/Reuters). Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greets Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo (Handout/Reuters).

Sultan Al Qassemi shares stories of immigration and citizenship that helped shape the United Arab Emirates today. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain’s Illusions, and Egypt’s Brexit

by Steven A. Cook
Human rights activists, Zainab al-Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab (R) talk during their meeting with activists after al-Khawaja's release from prison, Manama, Bahrain (Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters). Human rights activists, Zainab al-Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab (R) talk during their meeting with activists after al-Khawaja's release from prison, Manama, Bahrain (Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters).

Giorgio Cafiero and Joshua Hodge explore how the smaller Arab Gulf states perceive Iran in different ways than Saudi Arabia, whose position often dominates Gulf policy on the issue. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Libyan Identity, an Alawite State, and Cairo’s Ramadan Lanterns

by Steven A. Cook
A woman with her daughter look at a stall selling festival lights and Ramadan lanterns, or "fanoos Ramadan", at Sayida Zienab district market during the first day of Ramadan in old Cairo, Egypt (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters). A woman with her daughter look at a stall selling festival lights and Ramadan lanterns, or "fanoos Ramadan", at Sayida Zienab district market during the first day of Ramadan in old Cairo, Egypt (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters).

Nada Elfeituri discusses the politics of identity and tribalism in Libya as civil strife continues to unfold.

Stefan Winter examines a 1936 pro–Syrian unity petition by Sulayman al-Asad, grandfather of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who pushed against the creation of an Alawite state. Read more »

Drinking From the Nile

by Steven A. Cook
A view of the Nile from Zamalek (Photo by Steven A. Cook). A view of the Nile from Zamalek (Photo by Steven A. Cook).

There is an Egyptian saying that goes like this: “Once you drink from the Nile, you will come back again.” I first drank from the Nile in June 1993 and I have been coming back ever since. That said, I took an almost two-year hiatus from Egypt that lasted from April 2014 until last week. I stayed away for a variety of reasons, from the general—I was growing weary of airplanes and I ached for my daughters on long trips—to the specific—I needed to actually write the book I had been talking about for the previous few years, but also, quite frankly, out of fear. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Beirut’s Elections, Armenian Artisans, and Egyptian Buildings

by Steven A. Cook
A picture of a candidate for municipality elections is hung near displayed mirrors of an antique shop in Beirut, Lebanon (Alia Haju/Reuters). A picture of a candidate for municipality elections is hung near displayed mirrors of an antique shop in Beirut, Lebanon (Alia Haju/Reuters).

Habib Battah examines the intersection of new and old in Lebanese politics in the context of Beirut’s municipal elections.

Nektaria Petrou narrates her quest to find a renowned Armenian hand engraver in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Kurdish Linguistics, Egypt’s Repressive Complacency, and Music and Pluralism in Jordan

by Steven A. Cook
Journalists and activists protest against the restriction of press freedom and to demand the release of detained journalists, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters). Journalists and activists protest against the restriction of press freedom and to demand the release of detained journalists, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters).

Theotime Chabre explores the complexities of Kurdish linguistic diversity, explaining how limits in communication across the Kurdish nation can be both a hindrance and an opportunity. Read more »

This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is Saudi Land

by Steven A. Cook
Supporters of Egypt's army and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi dance and cheer as they celebrate the anniversary of Sinai Liberation Day in Cairo, Egypt (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters). Supporters of Egypt's army and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi dance and cheer as they celebrate the anniversary of Sinai Liberation Day in Cairo, Egypt (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters).

Today is Sinai Liberation Day. On April 25, 1982, the then-governor of the South Sinai governorate, Fouad Aziz Ghali, hoisted the Egyptian flag over Sharm el-Sheikh, in view of two islands called Tiran and Sanafir. The same day, former President Hosni Mubarak gave a speech before the People’s Assembly and laid wreaths at Egypt’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the graves of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar al-Sadat. These solemn events marked the official end of Israel’s occupation of the Sinai (with the exception of a place called Taba that remained under Israeli control until 1989). Read more »

Weekend Reading: Comedy and the Islamic State, Protest and Failure in Egypt, and Insulting Erdogan

by Steven A. Cook
A view shows actors during the filming of the set of the television series, whose title is loosely translated as "State of Myths" in Baghdad (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters). A view shows actors during the filming of the set of the television series, whose title is loosely translated as "State of Myths" in Baghdad (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters).

Nathaniel Greenberg examines the use of comedy in Iraq to counter the narrative of the self-declared Islamic State.

One blogger expounds on the weaknesses and pitfalls of the Egyptian protest movement. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Saudi Islands, the Hezbollah Corporation, and Syria’s Alawites

by Steven A. Cook
A former presidential candidate and lawyer Khaled Ali shouts slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the government during a demonstration protesting the government's decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters). A former presidential candidate and lawyer Khaled Ali shouts slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the government during a demonstration protesting the government's decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters).

Maged Atiya reflects on the public reaction to Egypt’s transfer of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, situated at the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba, to Saudi Arabia. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Lights Out in Libya, Jordan’s Brothers, and Alaa’s Tax Shelters

by Steven A. Cook
A member of the media works on a staircase at the Rixos hotel during a power cut in Tripoli (Paul Hackett/Reuters). A member of the media works on a staircase at the Rixos hotel during a power cut in Tripoli (Paul Hackett/Reuters).

Naziha Arebi illuminates the daily life of Libyans in the shadows of electricity cuts through a series of photographs and conversations.

Osama Al Sharif ponders whether tensions between Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood and the government will lead to an outright ban on the group. Read more »