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 "Tunisia"

Arab Spring Reality Check

by Steven A. Cook
Protesters from Tunisia's marginalised rural heartlands hold a hunger strike as they prepare to spend their second night outside the Prime Minister's office in Tunis January 24, 2011 (Zohra Bensemra/Courtesy Reuters). Protesters from Tunisia's marginalised rural heartlands hold a hunger strike as they prepare to spend their second night outside the Prime Minister's office in Tunis January 24, 2011 (Zohra Bensemra/Courtesy Reuters).

This article was originally published here on Muftah on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. 

It has been more than three years since the uprisings in the Arab world began.  The civil war in Syria, the persistent conflict between rebel militias and the government in Libya, the return of authoritarianism in Egypt, and the ongoing bloody crackdown in Bahrain all make for considerable hand-wringing among regional observers—to say nothing of Middle Easterners themselves, who once hoped for a better future. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Saharawi Self-Determination, Press Freedoms in Tunisia, and Arabic Lessons

by Steven A. Cook
A supporter of the constitution gestures in front of a statue of Egypt's former Army Chief of Staff Abdel Moneim Riad near Tahrir square, during the final stage of a referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters). A supporter of the constitution gestures in front of a statue of Egypt's former Army Chief of Staff Abdel Moneim Riad near Tahrir square, during the final stage of a referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

Matthew Vickery discusses the Saharawis, people of the Western Sahara, and their largely unheard calls for self-determination.

Shaimaa Abu Elkhir says that Tunisia’s draft constitution needs stronger guarantees for press freedom. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Syria’s “Moderates,” Egypt’s Officers, and Tunisia’s Islamists

by Steven A. Cook
Protesters loyal to the Shi'ite Muslim Al-Houthi group, also known as Ansarullah, hold a Syrian flag during a demonstration against potential strikes on the Syrian government, in Sanaa September 6, 2013. The sign reads "Allah is the greatest. Death to America. Death to Israel. A curse on the Jews. Victory to Islam" (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters). Protesters loyal to the Shi'ite Muslim Al-Houthi group, also known as Ansarullah, hold a Syrian flag during a demonstration against potential strikes on the Syrian government, in Sanaa September 6, 2013. The sign reads "Allah is the greatest. Death to America. Death to Israel. A curse on the Jews. Victory to Islam" (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters).

Karl Sharro provides, in comical fashion, a guide to Syria’s moderate rebels.

Sara Salem reviews the Egyptian military vis-à-vis the 2011 uprising. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Al-Qaeda’s Spring, Tunisia’s Violence, and Palestine’s Perspective

by Steven A. Cook
A Muslim man reads the Koran at the Al-Rajhi mosque east of Riyadh, during the holy month of Ramadan (Faisal Al Nasser/Courtesy Reuters). A Muslim man reads the Koran at the Al-Rajhi mosque east of Riyadh, during the holy month of Ramadan (Faisal Al Nasser/Courtesy Reuters).

Musa al-Gharbi claims that the Arab Spring has failed to render al-Qaeda irrelevant, and it is now on the verge of resurgence.

Tunisia-Live’s live blog for updates on Thursday’s assassination of Mohammed Brahmi, leader of the opposition Popular Movement Party in Tunisia. 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). 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 Arabist.com, 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 »

Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia Are All Slowly Islamizing

by Steven A. Cook
A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood holds up a Koran during Friday prayers during a rally in Cairo December 14, 2012 (Amr Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters). A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood holds up a Koran during Friday prayers during a rally in Cairo December 14, 2012 (Amr Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

This article was originally published on The Atlantic on Monday, May 12, 2013.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced a cabinet reshuffle recently that included a number of new ministers from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership. This development seems to have confirmed the worst fears of the Egyptian opposition, which has raised concern over the “Brotherhoodization” of the country. Although the increased representation of the Brothers in the government is cause for alarm for Egypt’s secularists and liberals, they should be concerned about a quieter, but more worrying process — the Islamization of Egypt’s political institutions — which is likely to be far more durable than the Brotherhood’s grip on political power. This phenomenon is not just underway in Egypt, however. Islamist power and the Islamization of society are what the the future holds for Egypt, Tunisia, post-Assad Syria, and likely other countries in the region.
Given that the noticeable evidence of the Islamization in the Middle East is few and far between, the idea that Islamization is the trajectory of the region might seem misplaced. Egypt’s Muslim Brothers and Tunisia’s Ennahda have not declared alcohol forbidden, forced women to don the hijab, or instituted hudud punishments (i.e., specific punishments for specific crimes set forth in the Qur’an or hadiths). Read more »

Weekend Reading: Tunisian Shake, Jordan’s Price Hike, and Syria’s Rebel Leadership

by Steven A. Cook
Former theology student Mevlude Aydemir reads a book in the old city of Istanbul (Fatih Saribas/Courtesy Reuters). Former theology student Mevlude Aydemir reads a book in the old city of Istanbul (Fatih Saribas/Courtesy Reuters).

Haifa Zaaiter argues that the “Harlem Shake” craze that has hit Tunisia may end up disarming the Salafists of their most potent weapon: denouncement of apostasy.

The Impatient Bedouin reflects on the recent outburst of violence in Jordan’s parliament over the country’s decision to raise fuel prices last week. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Saudi Tweets, Ennahda’s Decline, and Ramadan’s Odd Missive

by Steven A. Cook
A clergyman sits at his bookshop in Tabriz historic market, 633 km (393 miles) northwest of Tehran (Morteza Nikoubazl/Courtesy Reuters). A clergyman sits at his bookshop in Tabriz historic market, 633 km (393 miles) northwest of Tehran (Morteza Nikoubazl/Courtesy Reuters).

An interview with anonymous Twitter user @Mujtahidd, who has been tweeting provocative things about Saudi Arabia’s rulers.

An article from Muftah, discussing the declining credibility of Tunisia’s Ennahda party. Read more »