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 "Syria"

Weekend Reading: Egyptian Copts, Libyan Political Culture, and Syria’s Pain

by Steven A. Cook
A relative of one of the victims reacts after a church explosion killed at least 21 in Tanta, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters).

Maged Atiya critiques how observers discuss the Copts of Egypt, who are in the process of acquiring new identities, at a time of increased violence against them.

Patrick Haimzadeh argues that a failure to incorporate local political culture is why a viable political settlement for Libya has not yet been achieved. Read more »

Welcome to Syria, President Trump: Years of Rational Policy Led to This Horror, and There’s No Easy Way Out

by Steven A. Cook
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers an statement about missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida (Carlos Barria/Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Salon.com on Friday, April 7, 2017.

It happened again. Syrian government forces used a chemical weapon against the town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib province. The horrifying photos were too much to bear, especially given the large number of dead children. Social media when into righteous — and appropriate — rage over the latest of President Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes but then quickly deteriorated into point scoring among supporters of President Donald J. Trump and former President Barack Obama. High-dudgeon Twitter is never useful, but it only got worse when the White House released a statement quite rightly calling the attack “reprehensible” and “heinous.” Few failed to notice that the Trump administration’s response to atrocities in Syria sounded a lot like its predecessor’s denunciations of the same. A good time was had by all. Read more »

Weekend Reading: The Taxi Drivers of Damascus, Women’s Prisons in Egypt, and Morocco’s Meteorite Trade

by Steven A. Cook
A vendor sells books at Mutanabi Street in Baghdad (Mohammed Ameen/Reuters).

Mohamed Ozon explores life in Damascus today through the lens of the city’s taxi drivers.

Ravy Shaker, in a photo essay, takes a look at life inside women’s prisons in Egypt. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Islam and Liberalism, Lebanon’s Christians, and Turkey’s Dwindling Syria Options

by Steven A. Cook
Turkish soldiers participate in an exercise on the border line between Turkey and Syria near the southeastern city of Kilis, Turkey (Murad Sezer/Reuters).

Nervana Mahmoud critiques Brookings scholar Shadi Hamid’s assertion that illiberal Islam is a viable future for Muslim societies.

Tarek Osman explores the relationship between Lebanese Christians and foreign protectors, especially in light of French presidential contender Marine Le Pen’s visit last month. Read more »

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

by Steven A. Cook
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 »

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

by Steven A. Cook
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 »

Weekend Reading: A Changing Discourse on Syria, Salman’s Saudi Troubles, and Turkey’s Soft Power

by Steven A. Cook
Saudi King Salman bin Abbulaziz Al-Saud attends the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 37th Summit in Manama, Bahrain (Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters).

Nervana Mahmoud considers how the discourse on the Syrian conflict could change in 2017.

Alain Gresh finds that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman can claim few successes in his time as ruler so far. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Church Bombing, Jihadi Street Art, and Saudis Go to the Track

by Steven A. Cook
A Saudi man trains his son to ride a horse in a desert near Tabuk, Saudi Arabia (Mohamed Al Hwaity/Reuters).

Maged Atiya ponders what the Egyptian state can do in the aftermath of the bombing at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in downtown Cairo.

Loubna Salem takes a look at examples of jihadi street art. Read more »