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 "Weekend Reading"

Weekend Reading: After the Uprisings, Egypt’s Despotism, and Yemen’s Meltdown

by Steven A. Cook
A Houthi fighter shouts slogans as he takes part in a demonstration to show support to the Houthi movement in Sanaa (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters). A Houthi fighter shouts slogans as he takes part in a demonstration to show support to the Houthi movement in Sanaa (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters).

Karl Sharro presents a satirically “simple” diagram of the Arab uprisings and their aftermath.

Amro Ali looks at how the citizen contributes to the sustainability of despotism in Egypt. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Dogging It In Cairo, Lebanon’s Pretty Good Year, and Rethinking Syria Before The War

by Steven A. Cook
Dogs trot outside a mausoleum at the El'arafa cemetery located in the City of the Dead, near Cairo (Ahmed Jadallah/Courtesy Reuters). Dogs trot outside a mausoleum at the El'arafa cemetery located in the City of the Dead, near Cairo (Ahmed Jadallah/Courtesy Reuters).

Adham Elsherif presents a short, English-subtitled film on life in Cairo through the eyes of street dogs.

Elias Muhanna argues that, despite its troubles, Lebanon had a better year in 2014 that expected. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Fighting Assad And ISIS, The Islamic State Before The Islamic State, and Libya’s Draft Constitution

by Steven A. Cook
A man holds a bandage to his head at a field hospital after being injured in what activists said was an air strike by the forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus January 4, 2015 (Badra Mamet/Courtesy Reuters). A man holds a bandage to his head at a field hospital after being injured in what activists said was an air strike by the forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus January 4, 2015 (Badra Mamet/Courtesy Reuters).

Ruslan Trad interviews Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a Raqqa-based Syrian activist fighting both the Assad regime and ISIS.

Kevin Jackson investigates a jihadist caliphate that existed prior to ISIS. Read more »

Holiday Reading

by Steven A. Cook
Issa Kassissieh, an Israeli-Arab Christian, wears a Santa Claus costume as he poses for the media in Jerusalem's Old City, during the annual distribution of Christmas trees by the Jerusalem municipality (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters). Issa Kassissieh, an Israeli-Arab Christian, wears a Santa Claus costume as he poses for the media in Jerusalem's Old City, during the annual distribution of Christmas trees by the Jerusalem municipality (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters).

It’s the holiday season so there will be light blogging in the next week or so.  Here is what Team Cook is reading:

Steven Cook – Inventing Iraq: The Failure of Nation Building and a History Denied by Toby Dodge. Read more »

Weekend Reading: The Classics And The Middle East, ISIS vs. AQAP, and How Jihadi Groups Make Law

by Steven A. Cook
A Shi'ite Houthi mans a weapon on the back of a patrol truck, as Ansar al-Sharia flags are seen in the background November 22, 2014 (Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Courtesy Reuters). A Shi'ite Houthi mans a weapon on the back of a patrol truck, as Ansar al-Sharia flags are seen in the background November 22, 2014 (Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Courtesy Reuters).

Andrew Gilmour argues that the study of classics is useful to understanding contemporary power struggles in the modern Middle East.

Cole Bunzel discusses the rivalry between ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) playing out in Yemen. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Spider-Man, Ottomania, and Iraq’s Militias

by Steven A. Cook
Turkish faithful pray in Ottoman-era Sultanahmet mosque, known as Blue mosque, on "Laylat Al Qadr" during the holy month of Ramadan, in Istanbul late July 23, 2014 (Yagiz Karahan/Courtesy Reuters). Turkish faithful pray in Ottoman-era Sultanahmet mosque, known as Blue mosque, on "Laylat Al Qadr" during the holy month of Ramadan, in Istanbul late July 23, 2014 (Yagiz Karahan/Courtesy Reuters).

Browse through Hossam Atef’s photo gallery, the photographer known as Antikka who recently made headlines with his latest project, “SpiderMan At Egypt.”

Pinar Tremblay investigates the discriminatory effects of introducing Ottoman Turkish to the national curriculum. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Syrian Deals, Tunisia’s Libya, and Israeli Elections

by Steven A. Cook
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem (Ronen Zvulun/Courtesy Reuters). Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem (Ronen Zvulun/Courtesy Reuters).

Yezid Sayegh, in an interview with Syria Deeply, argues that a deteriorating situation in Syria may incentivize some rebels to strike a deal with the Assad regime. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Mubarak Acquitted, (Another) Tunisian Uprising, and Iraq’s Flags

by Steven A. Cook
A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak celebrates in front of Maadi military hospital after Mubarak returned to the hospital following the verdict of his trial in Cairo (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters). A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak celebrates in front of Maadi military hospital after Mubarak returned to the hospital following the verdict of his trial in Cairo (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

Hossam Bahgat sheds some light on the verdict acquitting former President Hosni Mubarak of charges against him.

Sam Kimball and Nicholas Linn contend that despite Tunisia’s recent elections, the country could be headed for another uprising. Read more »

Weekend Reading: After Sultan Qaboos, Bahrain Goes To The Polls, and Saudi Arabia’s Elites

by Steven A. Cook
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said at Bait Al Baraka in Muscat, Oman, May 21, 2013 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said at Bait Al Baraka in Muscat, Oman, May 21, 2013 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters).

Georgia Travers considers the implications of rumors about Sultan Qaboos’ health on Omani political society.

Faten Bushehri assesses the state of Bahrain on the eve of its parliamentary elections. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Informers, Algeria’s Political Complexities, and The Non-Intifada

by Steven A. Cook
A supporter of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi shouts slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, after the collection signatures for a petition in downtown Cairo (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters). A supporter of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi shouts slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, after the collection signatures for a petition in downtown Cairo (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

Belal Fadl characterizes Egypt as a state-sponsored nation of informers.

Anna Jacobs explores the complexities of the Algerian political system. Read more »