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: Fact and Fiction in Libya, a Saudi in Iran, and “Turkishness”

by Steven A. Cook
Iranian protesters chant slogans during a rally against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, after Friday prayers in Tehran (Raheb Homavandi/Reuters). Iranian protesters chant slogans during a rally against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, after Friday prayers in Tehran (Raheb Homavandi/Reuters).

Valentina Viene reviews the struggle to fictionalize the enigmatic persona of Muammar al-Qaddafi, the former leader of Libya, in Yasmina Khadra’s latest novel, The Dictator’s Last Night. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Non-Sectarian Refugees, the Transformation of Egyptians, and Inside the Fight Against the Islamic State

by Steven A. Cook
Egyptians celebrate on Tahrir Square during the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters). Egyptians celebrate on Tahrir Square during the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters).

Laura Dean reflects on the surprising absence of sectarianism among Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Amro Ali encourages Egyptians to recognize their individual political transformations as the true achievement of the 2011 revolution. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Sunnis Fighting With Shias, Agatha Christie in Arabic Literature, and Who is Ali Abd al-Aal?

by Steven A. Cook
A man looks at a book outside of a bookshop that sells Islamic and reference books for Al-Azhar students near the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt, May 18, 2015 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters). A man looks at a book outside of a bookshop that sells Islamic and reference books for Al-Azhar students near the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt, May 18, 2015 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters).

Mustafa Saadoun reports on the cautious optimism of Sunni recruitment to Iraq’s Shiite militias, the Popular Mobilization Units. Read more »

Holiday Reading

by Steven A. Cook
Israeli-Arab Issa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camel and poses for the media during an annual Christmas tree distribution by the Jerusalem municipality on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Ammar Awad/Reuters). Israeli-Arab Issa Kassissieh wears a Santa Claus costume as he rides a camel and poses for the media during an annual Christmas tree distribution by the Jerusalem municipality on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Ammar Awad/Reuters).
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Apologies for the light blogging lately. I have been focused on a big project that has been occupying all of my brain power and time.

Over the holidays, I am reading Gallipoli by Jenny Macleod.

Weekend Reading: Saudi Arabia’s War, Tunisia’s Sidi Bouzid, and the Middle East’s Public Spaces

by Steven A. Cook
A boy holds up a rifle as he shouts slogans during a demonstration against Saudi-led strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa November 20, 2015 (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters). A boy holds up a rifle as he shouts slogans during a demonstration against Saudi-led strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa November 20, 2015 (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters).

Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports on the human toll of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Christine Petre looks at Sidi Bouzid five years after Tunisian fruit seller Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation that sparked the Arab uprisings. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s Jews, Lebanon’s Mukhtars, and Saudi Arabia’s Women

by Steven A. Cook
Saudi woman Fawzia al-Harbi, a candidate for local municipal council elections, uses her laptop at a shopping mall in Riyadh (Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters). Saudi woman Fawzia al-Harbi, a candidate for local municipal council elections, uses her laptop at a shopping mall in Riyadh (Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters).

Hanin Ghaddar talks to Magda Haroun, head of Cairo’s Jewish community, about her people’s legacy to Egypt.

Nora Stel explores the role of mukhtars—elected neighborhood- or village-level state representatives—in Lebanon’s consociational political system. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Tourism in Egypt, Descartes in Reyhanli, and Corruption in the KRG

by Steven A. Cook
A girl holds a child inside a refugee camp for the internally displaced in Jrzinaz area, southern part of Idlib province, Syria October 13, 2015 (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters). A girl holds a child inside a refugee camp for the internally displaced in Jrzinaz area, southern part of Idlib province, Syria October 13, 2015 (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters).

Farah Halime studies how continued violence in Egypt, particularly against the tourism industry, negatively impacts the country’s economy.

The blogger Maysaloon discusses teaching identity, philosophy, and Descartes to Syrian refugee children. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Ramlat Bulaq, Bedouin Poetry, and the Islamic State vs. Israel

by Steven A. Cook
A small cruise boat passes Nile City Towers, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris the owner of Orascom Telecom, overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters). A small cruise boat passes Nile City Towers, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris the owner of Orascom Telecom, overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters).

Omnia Khalil reviews the struggles of everyday life in the Cairene neighborhood of Ramlat Bulaq.

William Tamplin takes a look at Jordan’s most popular Bedouin poet and his use of verse to express Arab political arguments. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Egypt’s State of Idiocy, Darth Mediene, and Libya’s Tribes

by Steven A. Cook
A man reads newspaper in the alley of the old city of Algiers Al Casbah, Algeria (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters). A man reads newspaper in the alley of the old city of Algiers Al Casbah, Algeria (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters).

Maged Atiya laments the Egyptian state’s devolution into idiocy.

Sam Metz and Abdallah Brahimi explore the potential reasons behind the recent dismissal of Algerian spy chief Mohammed Mediene. Read more »