Khaled Fahmy criticizes the Egyptian government’s plan to invest money in building a new capital rather than fixing Cairo’s endemic problems.
Showing posts for "Terrorism"
I have been reluctant to comment on the attacks in Paris. As with a whole host of people who have popped up on television to make sense of last week’s violence, terrorism and European Muslim communities are not my areas of expertise. There has also been so much excellent written commentary on the topic that even if I were inclined to write, I would not have much to add. That said, I find the Turkish leadership’s response to the events in France striking. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu took part in the solidarity rally in Paris on Sunday, but among the near universal denunciation of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and subsequent killings at the Hyper Cache market, the Turkish reaction was disturbingly equivocal. In a public statement after the assault on the magazine, the foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu declared, “Terrorism and all types of Islamophobia perpetuate each other and we stand against this.” It is hard to disagree. Islamophobia, of which there is much in Europe and the United States, is bad, and terrorism is bad. Both are scourges that need to be fought, albeit in different ways. And while Davutoglu was more direct in his condemnation, cloaked in Cavusoglu’s outrage against anti-Muslim bias and terrorism, the foreign minister was saying something else entirely: The people targeted specifically in the Charlie Hebdo attack were Islamophobes who brought Cherif and Said Kouachi on themselves, producing a cycle of more Islamophobia and thus more violence. More broadly, Cavusoglu was signaling that the West is to blame for terror because it is irredeemably anti-Islam. Read more »
Last Friday, the Saudi government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, lumping the Brothers in with Jabhat al Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and al Qaeda. The announcement was not terribly surprising. Riyadh has proven to be Cairo’s staunchest patron since the July 3 coup d’état and both governments have led the effort to delegitimize the Brotherhood ever since. This actually has much more to do with politics than it does with terrorism, which prompted me to tweet: Read more »
With the dramatic developments in Egypt over the last month, Turkey has fallen out of the news even though it has been an eventful summer along the Bosphorus. The opposition to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that began after authorities tried to clear Istanbul’s Gezi Park in late May has proven more durable than virtually everyone predicted. The government has responded to this political turbulence with a variety of coercive measures making Erdogan’s illiberal turn appear to be downright authoritarian. At the same time, Ankara’s strategic position in the Middle East continues to crumble. The prime minister’s reaction to Egypt’s July 3 coup d’état may be principled, but his harsh and oddly emotional rhetoric has alienated yet another important Middle Eastern country. In an irony of ironies, the Egyptian press recently reported that if Erdogan makes a much-delayed visit to Gaza in late August, he will have to do it through Israel. That makes Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq the major regional powers with whom Turkey is at odds. Read more »
Hizballah has been in the news recently. The group that a senior U.S. government official once described as the “ ‘A-team’ of terrorism,” took a back seat to al-Qaeda over the last decade. Prior to the attacks on New York and Washington in September 2001, Hizballah was responsible for more American deaths than any other organization on the State Department’s list of terrorists. The most spectacular of Hizabllah’s operations since the organization’s founding in 1982 was the destruction of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in the spring of 1983. More recently, the Bulgarian government fingered Hizballah for the July 2012 bus bombing that killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver in the resort town of Burgas. Also, the New York Times reported last week that the Lebanese newspaper, al Akhbar—a pro-Hizballah daily—has been engaged in an effort to intimidate prosecution witnesses set to appear before the International Criminal Court, which is trying four members of Hizballah for the murder of former Prime Rafik Harriri. Then there are the thousands of Hizballah fighters in Syria supporting the Assad regime in that country’s civil war. Read more »
From the Potomac to the Euphrates examines how debates about Mideast policy in Washington connect to the region, with a special focus on Egypt and Turkey.