Ed Husain

The Arab Street

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

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The Week Ahead: Attack in Egypt’s Sinai, Bilateral Talks on Syria, Transition in Libya

by Ed Husain
Egyptian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in Rafah city on the Egyptian border (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). Egyptian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in Rafah city on the Egyptian border (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. Following yesterday’s attack on Egyptian border guards that left at least sixteen dead, President Mohammed Morsi has held an emergency meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and will travel to Sinai today. Meanwhile, SCAF has vowed to step up efforts to secure the area and root out militants. Read more »

The Week Ahead: Lebanon’s Syria Concerns, Panetta’s Tour, Egypt’s Cabinet

by Ed Husain
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a meeting with Tunisian defense minister Abdelkarim Zbidi in Tunis (Zoubeir Souissi/Courtesy Reuters). Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a meeting with Tunisian defense minister Abdelkarim Zbidi in Tunis (Zoubeir Souissi/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. Newly appointed prime minister Hisham Qandil has reportedly chosen candidates for a majority of the open cabinet positions, and will present his choices to President Morsi this week. The formation of the cabinet has been marked by repeated delays, but the full roster is expected to be announced within the next week. Read more »

Jews, Muslims, the Holocaust, and Israel

by Ed Husain
A visitor to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum walks past a mural of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters). A visitor to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum walks past a mural of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters).

Today, Secretary Clinton speaks at an event at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, held in collaboration with CFR and CNN, on the subject of genocide prevention. I wish that a major Arab country was the host for this event.

Last week I visited the West Bank and Israel, where I met people from varied walks of life. In conversations with young Arabs, I was saddened to hear that Holocaust denial continues to be part of the normative mindset among so many in such an important part of the world. Their grievances with the modern State of Israel are real, but this does not give them the mandate to rewrite history. Read more »

The Week Ahead: Iraq Responds to Attacks, Syria Threatens Use of Chemical Weapons

by Ed Husain
A policeman stands guard at the site of a bomb attack in Kirkuk on July 23, 2012 (Stringer Iraq/Courtesy Reuters). A policeman stands guard at the site of a bomb attack in Kirkuk on July 23, 2012 (Stringer Iraq/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. Egyptians today are recalling the 1952 military coup that brought the Free Officers to power and set the stage for decades of military dominance in Egyptian affairs. Some activists have called for protests today against efforts by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to retain power in Egypt despite the election of a civilian president, Mohammed Morsi. Read more »

Three Observations From Jerusalem

by Ed Husain
Palestinians visit the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters). Palestinians visit the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters).

I am in Jerusalem this week.

This city, its surroundings, and claims by both Arabs and Jews on its territories make it the epicenter of a conflict that stirs the strongest of emotions. Much of the anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism prevalent in this region is linked directly to Arab perceptions of injustice and humiliation meted out to them by the ongoing Israeli occupation and the unprecedented support Israel enjoys from the United States. In contrast, almost all my conversations with Jewish friends here reflect a deep existential angst. Who can blame them? The walls of this ancient city and its varied renovations after different conquests are testament to the persecution and mass killings of Abraham’s first children, the Jews. Read more »

The Week Ahead: Egypt’s Power Struggle, Saudi Arabia’s Morality Police, Syria’s Civil War

by Ed Husain
Two members of the Free Syrian Army take defense positions in a house in El Moalimin neighborhood in Homs (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). Two members of the Free Syrian Army take defense positions in a house in El Moalimin neighborhood in Homs (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. An Egyptian administrative court will hear arguments this week on the legality of the committee charged with writing the new constitution. The hearing had been scheduled for September but was moved up, fueling speculation that the ruling will be politicized as a part of the ongoing power struggle between the military and President Mohammed Morsi’s nascent government. Field Marshal Tantawi’s statement yesterday that the military would not allow a “certain group” to dominate Egypt indicates the military has no plans to back down. Read more »

The Week Ahead: Libya Votes, Syrian Opposition Seeks Common Ground, Kuwait’s Uncertainty Continues

by Ed Husain
Protesters set fire to voting materials after storming the office of the national election commission in Benghazi (Esam el-Fatori/Courtesy Reuters). Protesters set fire to voting materials after storming the office of the national election commission in Benghazi (Esam el-Fatori/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. The constituent assembly continues to meet this week to discuss the writing of Egypt’s new constitution. Although the military’s constitutional decree—issued before the presidential election—has left the assembly’s future in doubt, members are moving forward to form subcommittees covering topics such as basic constitutional principles, rights and freedoms, system of government, and regulatory bodies. Read more »

Can Russia Shift on Syria?

by Ed Husain
Russian president Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference on the second day of the G20 Summit in Los Cabos (Andres Stapff/Courtesy Reuters). Russian president Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference on the second day of the G20 Summit in Los Cabos (Andres Stapff/Courtesy Reuters).

This week I took part in a New York Times debate on the Syria stalemate between Russia and the West. I argued that Russia can play a pivotal role in ending the conflict if the Syrian opposition and the West can reassure Putin that the benefits of Assad’s departure will outweigh any potential burdens for Russia. Read more »

The Week Ahead: Morsi to Be Sworn In, Putin Visits the Region, Sudan Protests Continue

by Ed Husain
President-elect Mohammed Morsi prepares for his first televised address to the nation in Cairo (Stringer Egypt/Courtesy Reuters). President-elect Mohammed Morsi prepares for his first televised address to the nation in Cairo (Stringer Egypt/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. President-elect Mohammed Morsi is to be officially sworn in this week, and has already moved into former president Hosni Mubarak’s office. The current cabinet, led by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, is expected to submit its resignation soon. The location of Morsi’s swearing-in ceremony remains unconfirmed—it has been reported that he may take the oath before Egypt’s High Constitutional Court, and that he may appear before parliament, in defiance of its dissolution by SCAF. Read more »