Ed Husain

The Arab Street

Husain examines politics, society, and radicalism in the greater Middle East.

Pakistan Loses an Ambassador

by Ed Husain Monday, January 30, 2012
Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, leaves after appearing before a Supreme Court commission in Islamabad on January 9, 2012 (Faisal Mahmood/Courtesy Reuters). Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, leaves after appearing before a Supreme Court commission in Islamabad on January 9, 2012 (Faisal Mahmood/Courtesy Reuters).

It is a sad day for Pakistan when one of its brightest minds and best ambassadors, Husain Haqqani, has to escape the country in a private airline after spending several weeks under effective house arrest. His crime? Not towing the line of the all-powerful military establishment in Pakistan. Read more »

Guest Post: Election Fatigue in Egypt

by Friday, January 27, 2012
Egyptians stand in line at a polling station as they wait to cast their votes during the November 2011 elections in Cairo (Ahmed Jadallah/Courtesy Reuters). Egyptians stand in line at a polling station as they wait to cast their votes during the November 2011 elections in Cairo (Ahmed Jadallah/Courtesy Reuters).

This post is written by Allison Blough, a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

These days in Egypt, liberal youth groups are doing their best to renew protests to speed up the transition to civilian rule, the ruling military council is breathing a post-January 25 sigh of relief, and average Egyptians are lining up at gas stations due to a fuel shortage that is only getting worse. Read more »

Egypt’s Revolt and the American Model

by Ed Husain Thursday, January 26, 2012
Demonstrators gather at Tahrir square during a protest marking the first anniversary of Egypt's uprising in Cairo (Suhaib Salem/Courtesy Reuters). Demonstrators gather at Tahrir square during a protest marking the first anniversary of Egypt's uprising in Cairo (Suhaib Salem/Courtesy Reuters).

In the Wall Street Journal today I argue that American influence in Egypt and beyond is not limited to backing tyrants. The soft power of the United States remains as vibrant today as it was in years past. Read more »

Where Next for Egypt’s Secularists?

by Ed Husain Tuesday, January 24, 2012
During the opening session of Egypt's parliament, liberal Egyptian parliamentarian Amr Hamzawy and the Muslim Brotherhood's Essam el-Arian count ballots after voting for the new speaker (Khaled Elfiq/Courtesy Reuters). During the opening session of Egypt's parliament, liberal Egyptian parliamentarian Amr Hamzawy and the Muslim Brotherhood's Essam el-Arian count ballots after voting for the new speaker (Khaled Elfiq/Courtesy Reuters).

Yesterday, Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament held its opening session. Tomorrow, the first anniversary of Mubarak’s fall will be marked. Egypt’s secularists will ponder how they lost the revolution they helped trigger, and what needs to happen next in order to challenge the rise of Islamism in Egypt. Read more »

Letter From Pakistan

by Ed Husain Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Below please find an email to me from a leading Pakistani democracy activist in response to my post last week questioning U.S. government policies in Pakistan, “U.S. Taxpayer Money Goes to Pakistan’s Radicals.”

Dear Ed,

Unfortunately the U.S. embassy and senior diplomats here in Islamabad from other Western countries think that the religious leaders are the key to countering extremism in Pakistan. According to my sources and firsthand observation at diplomatic events, official meetings, and roundtables, Western diplomats believe that liberal activists, and for that matter the whole of Pakistani civil society, do not have following or credibility among the people since the majority of the Pakistani people are conservative and so can only relate to the Mullahs. Western diplomats fail to understand that unlike Pakistani elite liberals, many civil society activists come from among the masses and go out to the most neglected colleges and universities in the small cities and engage young people, who often join us later as volunteers and spread the message to others. Read more »

Guest Post: One Story, Two Narratives of Damascus Violence

by Ed Husain Thursday, January 12, 2012
Men pray at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus next to the coffins of people killed at security sites on Friday, December 23, 2011 in two car bomb attacks (Sana Sana/Courtesy Reuters). Men pray at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus next to the coffins of people killed at security sites on Friday, December 23, 2011 in two car bomb attacks (Sana Sana/Courtesy Reuters).

The following is written by Jasmine Roman, my friend and a Syrian residing in Damascus. She can be reached on Twitter at @jasmineroman01 and by email at myjasminewriting@gmail.com.

The unprecedented explosions that have hit Damascus over the past several weeks have ushered in a new and frightening stage in the turmoil that has engulfed Syria for nearly a year. As with many developments during the uprising, the average Syrian is being asked to consider two parallel narratives that have emerged in the aftermath of the bombings. The official narrative, predictably, seeks to prop up pro-regime actors. An alternative analysis of events questions the nature of and motives behind these events, which have shaken Damascus residents and further divided Syrians along sectarian and pro- or anti-regime lines. Read more »

Whitewashing Hamas Is a Mistake

by Ed Husain Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal talks to the media as he welcomes Palestinian prisoners freed in a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in Cairo on October 18, 2011 (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal talks to the media as he welcomes Palestinian prisoners freed in a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in Cairo on October 18, 2011 (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

Last night, I attended an Intelligence Squared Debate in New York. As expected, the debate was spirited and lively. How could it not be? The motion was “The UN Should Admit Palestine as a Full Member State.”

As is the norm with almost all debates on the Arab-Israeli conflict, emotions were high and sparks flew. Daniel Levy, an Israeli citizen with a British background, abandoned proverbial British reserve and stiff-upper-lip culture. Levy was impressive, his arguments coherent, and his presentation was passionate, to put it mildly. You can view the full video here. Read more »

U.S. Taxpayer Money Goes to Pakistan’s Radicals

by Ed Husain Tuesday, January 10, 2012
A supporter of the Sunni Ittehad Council in Pakistan next to a poster which reads "Mumtaz Qadri, we salute your courage" (Athar Hussain/Courtesy Reuters). A supporter of the Sunni Ittehad Council in Pakistan next to a poster which reads "Mumtaz Qadri, we salute your courage" (Athar Hussain/Courtesy Reuters).

Judging from recent actions by the Obama administration, one can be forgiven for thinking that the United States does not know its friends from its enemies in Pakistan. Their blunders may not make headlines in newspapers here, but they are adding fuel to the anti-American fire that consumes Pakistan. Read more »