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 "Succession"

Mubarak Still Rules

by Steven A. Cook
Protesters cheer with Egyptian flags and a banner of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, seen between former presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, as they gather for a mass protest to support the army in front of the presidential palace in Cairo (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

This article was originally published here at on Wednesday, August 14, 2013. 

My friend, the late Hassan El Sawaf, was correct. When I spoke to him on the evening of February 11, 2011, he was exuberant. After years of a lonely and personal struggle against Hosni Mubarak’s rule, the dictator was suddenly gone. A new era had begun. The prospects for democracy had never seemed so bright. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Morsi’s First Year, Qatar’s Royal Family, and Political Islam in Tunisia

by Steven A. Cook
Islamists, members of the brotherhood, and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans holding the Holy Quran during a protest around the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in the suburb of Nasr City, Cairo (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

Steve Negus, writing on, reviews President Mohammed Morsi’s first year.

visual of Qatar’s ruling family, the al-Thani dynasty, depicting family dynamics of the recent succession. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Looking Back on Egypt’s Uprising

by Steven A. Cook
An anti-government protester defaces a picture of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria (Stringer Egypt/Courtesy Reuters).

On the second anniversary of Egypt’s January 25 uprising, I decided to re-post some of my own work on Egypt.  I hope you continue to find these posts/articles useful.  Enjoy!

Five Things You Need to Know About the Egyptian Armed Forces, January 31, 2011 on “From the Potomac to the Euphrates.” Read more »

Shafiq, Morsi, and the Beltway Blues

by Steven A. Cook
Combination of file photos of presidential candidates Shafiq and Mursi (Reuters Staff/Courtesy Reuters).

Over the weekend when it became clear that Egypt’s presidential elections would go to a run-off between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi and former prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, some observers were quick to claim that the latter’s victory would bring a collective sigh of relief inside the Beltway.  This was obviously pure speculation, which means something on Twitter, but it raises an interesting question: Who is better for the United States, Morsi or Shafiq?  Let me caveat by stipulating that the United States is essentially a sideshow here; the most important issue is who will be better for Egypt.  That is something for Egyptians to decide on June 16th and 17th.  Nevertheless, given Washington’s long-term ties to Cairo, American officials and Egypt observers are trying to understand what is in store for U.S.-Egypt relations under either President Morsi or President Shafiq.  Readers of this blog can pretty much guess that I don’t think either candidate is “good” for the United States, which means Washington will have to adjust to new Egyptian realities.  No one is Hosni Mubarak and while the notion that he did everything the United States wanted is not entirely accurate, he did “understand that Egypt’s interests lie with the United States,” according to an official who served in George W. Bush’s administration. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Presidential Election

by Steven A. Cook
An official counts ballots for the presidential election after the polls were closed in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

Mahmoud Salem, also known as The Sandmonkey, rejects the prevailing narrative about Egypt’s top presidential candidates, days before the results appear. Read more »