Ed Husain

The Arab Street

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

Closing the Syria Debate at the Economist

by Ed Husain Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Demonstrators take part in a protest against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Binsh near Idlib (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). Demonstrators take part in a protest against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Binsh near Idlib (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

Since last week, I have been participating in an Economist debate on military intervention in Syria. In today’s closing remarks, I argue that several tests need to be met before considering any Western military intervention: Read more »

Guest Post: Jihad and the Pakistani Military

by Ed Husain Thursday, February 23, 2012
Supporters of religious and political parties stand on a traffic signal pole while taking part in a Defense of Pakistan Council rally in Islamabad on February 20, 2012 (Faisal Mahmood/Courtesy Reuters). Supporters of religious and political parties stand on a traffic signal pole while taking part in a Defense of Pakistan Council rally in Islamabad on February 20, 2012 (Faisal Mahmood/Courtesy Reuters).

The relationship between the Pakistani military and extremist groups is contentious and rooted in a complicated history. I asked Imran Khan, head of counterextremism training and strategic communications for Khudi Pakistan, a Pakistani civil society organization, to provide a view from the ground to help us understand the state of the military-jihadi relationship today and what it might mean for Pakistan moving forward. Read more »

Debating Syria

by Ed Husain Tuesday, February 21, 2012
A member of the Druze community holds up a Syrian flag with a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a rally in the Druze village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights (Baz Ratner/Courtesy Reuters). A member of the Druze community holds up a Syrian flag with a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a rally in the Druze village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights (Baz Ratner/Courtesy Reuters).

Today marks the beginning of a ten-day period of debating and polling at the Economist.com. The motion is:

Military intervention in Syria would do more harm than good.

I am defending the motion, and Brookings’ Shadi Hamid is thoughtfully opposing the motion. Feel free to participate and vote. The crux of my argument, excerpted from my opening statement, is as follows: Read more »

Jews and Muslims: Lessons from the Bronx

by Ed Husain Wednesday, February 15, 2012
A man reads the Quran in a prayer hall at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters). A man reads the Quran in a prayer hall at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters).

I am a Muslim, yet I sometimes visit Shabbat services in London and New York. Why? Because there is something deeply instructive about being among descendants of Abraham while they worship and recall lives of their ancestors, the ancient prophets of the Old Testament. Muslims also venerate Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Solomon, Moses, Aaron, and others. Yet the abiding Arab-Israeli conflict continues to consume the children of Abraham: Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Read more »

What Does Intervention in Syria Look Like?

by Ed Husain Thursday, February 9, 2012
Demonstrators protest against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Binsh near Idlib (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). Demonstrators protest against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Binsh near Idlib (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

Today on CNN.com, I write about the myth of “international intervention” in Syria. Military options in Syria would require a huge dependence on U.S. armed forces. I also ask questions that are yet to be answered by proponents of forceful involvement in a country that borders global hotspots in Israel, Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon. The piece appears below: Read more »

“The Arab Street” and the Blogosphere

by Ed Husain Monday, February 6, 2012

Readers of this blog will be pleased to know that the prestigious OpenDemocracy.net ranked “The Arab Street” as top blog for this week and commented thus:

“The Arab Street” located on the Council on Foreign Relations website would appear to be another high-collared take on Middle East politics. Yet Ed Husain, a senior fellow at CFR, has developed his blog into one of the most insightful sources for analysis on what is happening in the region. Whether it’s warning about the threat of intervention in Syria or exploring the power of American influence in Egypt, Husain does not pull punches. His posts are well thought out, clear, concise and surprisingly engaging. To top it off, Husain does not shy away from engaging with his readers, whether on Twitter or directly on his blog, “The Arab Street” is an open and unique source. Unfortunately, the blog is currently only published in English, but for those students or readers looking for an accessible source for fresh analysis, this is the blog for you. Read more »

Islam and Government: How It Can Be

by Ed Husain Saturday, February 4, 2012
Prominent Muslim preacher al-Habib Ali al-Jifry speaks during a joint news conference at King Abdullah mosque in Amman in 2006 (Ali Jarekji/Courtesy Reuters). Prominent Muslim preacher al-Habib Ali al-Jifry speaks during a joint news conference at King Abdullah mosque in Amman in 2006 (Ali Jarekji/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, King Abdullah of Jordan met a prominent Muslim scholar from Yemen, al-Habib Umar bin Hafez, alongside another renowned Muslim leader, al-Habib Ali al-Jifry. All three men are descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. Their meeting had a special significance for ordinary Muslims, and reminded Jordan and young Arabs that Islam and secular government need not be at odds. Read more »

The Rise and Rise of E-Jihad

by Ed Husain Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cyber jihad is not just the way of the future—it is being undertaken as you read these lines. The appeal of e-jihad is so strong among large numbers of e-radicals that Muslim clerics in several countries are passing judgment on the utility of “destroying the enemy’s electronic devices or surreptitiously taking valuable information from these devices.” Read more »

We Intervene in Syria at Our Peril

by Ed Husain Wednesday, February 1, 2012
A boy attends a rally in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on January 25, 2012 (Ahmed Jadallah/Courtesy Reuters). A boy attends a rally in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on January 25, 2012 (Ahmed Jadallah/Courtesy Reuters).

I write for the Atlantic today arguing that any Western military involvement in Syria at this juncture will make matters worse for the country and result in regional conflict. Moreover, U.S.-led involvement in Syria would be counterproductive for the United States. Read more »