Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Syria"

Weekend Reading: No Way to Defeat Takfiris, Handicapping Turkey’s Elections, and Syria’s borders.

by Steven A. Cook
Supporters of Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan wave Turkish and AK Party (AKP) flags during an election rally in Istanbul March 23, 2014 (Murad Sezer/Courtesy Reuters). Supporters of Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan wave Turkish and AK Party (AKP) flags during an election rally in Istanbul March 23, 2014 (Murad Sezer/Courtesy Reuters).

Nader Bakkar says that harsh punishment, such as the recent wave of death sentences on Muslim Brotherhood members, is no way to combat radical takfiri ideology. Read more »

Grading Mearsheimer

by Steven A. Cook
Egypt's Prime Minister Essam Sharaf (L) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama next to Egypt's Minister of Finance Samir Radwan (C) before posing for a group photo at the G8 summit in Deauville (Philippe Wojazer/Courtesy Reuters). Egypt's Prime Minister Essam Sharaf (L) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama next to Egypt's Minister of Finance Samir Radwan (C) before posing for a group photo at the G8 summit in Deauville (Philippe Wojazer/Courtesy Reuters).

When I was at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, I enrolled in a seminar on the revolutions in Eastern and Central Europe with Professor Michael Mandelbaum.  The Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Czecholsolvakia were not quite my thing, but the course was an interesting diversion from the Middle East and it was topical (this was 1994).  When Mandelbaum—who is now a friend and mentor—returned my first paper, he scratched along the bottom of the last page, “Your conclusions are surely correct, but you make a series of dubious assertions along the way.”  I had the same reaction when I read John J. Mearsheimer’s recent contribution to The National Interest, “America Unhinged.” Read more »

Weekend Reading: Why Shiites Fight, Egyptian Time Warp, and Militia Madness in Libya

by Steven A. Cook
Army soldiers guard the streets during a Coptic Christmas eve mass at the main cathedral in Cairo (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters). Army soldiers guard the streets during a Coptic Christmas eve mass at the main cathedral in Cairo (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

Rodger Shanahan says that Shiites fighting in Syria are doing so not for sectarian reasons, but rather for reasons of geopolitics and self-preservation. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Anglo-Egyptian Books, Polio in Syria, and “Prefix” Democracy

by Steven A. Cook
Muslim girls read verses from the Koran at al-Amin mosque, in downtown Beirut (Jamal Saidi/Courtesy Reuters). Muslim girls read verses from the Koran at al-Amin mosque, in downtown Beirut (Jamal Saidi/Courtesy Reuters).

AUC Librarian Mark Muehlhaeusler, who launched a new blog called Cairo Booklore, takes a look at Egyptian-Anglophone literature.

Hernan del Valle discusses how political deadlock between rebel and government forces is failing to stop lethal Polio outbreaks in Syria. Read more »

Weekend Reading: America’s Quagmire?, an Egyptian Thanksgiving, and Foreign Workers No Longer in Saudi

by Steven A. Cook
Yemeni workers, deported from Saudi Arabia, wait to leave a bus on which they were deported, at the Saudi al-Tewal border outpost with Yemen (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters). Yemeni workers, deported from Saudi Arabia, wait to leave a bus on which they were deported, at the Saudi al-Tewal border outpost with Yemen (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters).

Ammar Abdulhamid looks at the consequences of U.S. inaction in Syria and elsewhere.

Maged Atiya remembers his first Thanksgiving. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Al-Azhar, Syria’s Refugees, and Turkey’s Chinese Missiles

by Steven A. Cook
Pro-Islamist demonstrators shout slogans during a rally to protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and in support of Egypt's deposed President Mohammed Morsi at the courtyard of the Fatih mosque in Istanbul (Osman Orsal/Courtesy Reuters). Pro-Islamist demonstrators shout slogans during a rally to protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and in support of Egypt's deposed President Mohammed Morsi at the courtyard of the Fatih mosque in Istanbul (Osman Orsal/Courtesy Reuters).

Mai Shams El-Din looks at clashes between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood from the angle of al-Azhar, where the student body supports the Brotherhood but the leadership allies with the state. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Morocco’s Monarchy, Saudi’s Seat, and Turkey’s Turn on Syria

by Steven A. Cook
An Iraqi Kurdish man shows his ink-stained finger after voting during regional parliamentary elections at a polling station in Erbil (Azad Lashkari/Courtesy Reuters). An Iraqi Kurdish man shows his ink-stained finger after voting during regional parliamentary elections at a polling station in Erbil (Azad Lashkari/Courtesy Reuters).

Samia Errazzouki examines Morocco’s new cabinet, and argues that authoritarian politics remains the dominant trend in the country.

Maya Gebeily discusses the irony of Saudi Arabia’s decision to sit out its turn on the UN Security Council. Read more »

Weekend Reading: The “New” Libya, International Indecision on Syria, and the Brotherhood’s New Strategy

by Steven A. Cook
A man walks past graffiti depicting ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (R) and the Deputy Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat Al-Shater in downtown Cairo, September 24, 2013 (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters). A man walks past graffiti depicting ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (R) and the Deputy Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat Al-Shater in downtown Cairo, September 24, 2013 (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

Abdel Bari Atwan looks at the devastating reality of the “new” Libya.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen says that Syria is paying the price of international indecision. Read more »