Ed Husain

The Arab Street

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

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Showing posts for "Iraq"

On Iraq and the Jews

by Ed Husain
Two children carrying food and water walk in front of the shrine containing the tomb of Jewish prophet Ezekiel in the Iraqi town of Kifl, south of Baghdad (Stefano Rellandini/Courtesy Reuters). Two children carrying food and water walk in front of the shrine containing the tomb of Jewish prophet Ezekiel in the Iraqi town of Kifl, south of Baghdad (Stefano Rellandini/Courtesy Reuters).

What’s the latest anti-American complaint from Iraq? The United States has allegedly stolen Jewish artifacts from the Iraqi ministry of tourism. In this Arabic article in al-Hayat newspaper, the Iraqi tourism minister makes blusterous noises about ending cooperation with the United States due to his new love for Jewish history. Read more »

The Week Ahead: Iraq Summit, Friends of Syria, Egypt’s Constitution

by Ed Husain
Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari talks to a group of local and Western journalists during a tour of the Republican Palace in Baghdad ahead of this week's Arab League summit (Mohammed Ameen/Courtesy Reuters).. Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari talks to a group of local and Western journalists during a tour of the Republican Palace in Baghdad ahead of this week's Arab League summit (Mohammed Ameen/Courtesy Reuters).

Events of note this week in the Middle East:

Iraq. Baghdad will host the Arab League summit, the first major diplomatic event to be held in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew. Security challenges surrounding the summit are real, with attacks just last week in four Iraqi cities killing twenty-seven and injuring 161, but extensive preparations have been made—from cement barriers and checkpoints to the redeployment of thousands of guards—to ensure the events proceed without incident. Central to the summit’s agenda will be the crisis in Syria. Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen will likely also be discussed. Syria, suspended from the Arab League, will not be present at the talks. Read more »

Why the United States Still Can’t Count on Iraq

by Ed Husain

When al-Jazeera Arabic switches its live coverage from the White House to the parliament in Tunisia, you can be sure that Arab masses are not interested in the meeting between President Obama and Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.

As I watched the press conference being broadcast in Arabic yesterday, I was surprised that despite all the noise made by al-Jazeera about the Iraq war, it had little interest in allowing its viewers to understand the current state of play between the United States and Iraq. Read more »

Arabs and the Sixth of October

by Ed Husain

Today is an important day in the minds of many Arabs. Landmarks across the Arab world are named after the Sixth of October. It marks a questionable sense of pride for launching a war on Israel on Yom Kippur in 1973. The Egyptian army made significant inroads against Israel on this day—but what is often forgotten is that Israel very quickly reversed those Arab gains. To my mind, this day is also important because in 1981 Islamist extremists gunned down the Egyptian president, Anwar al-Sadat. Arab leaders have lived in fear of assassinations ever since.

“I am Khaled Islambouli. I have killed Pharoah, and I do not fear death” were the words of the lieutenant who masterminded and killed Sadat. Thirty years later, the mindset behind the killing and the killer’s declaration are still alive in parts of the Middle East. The modern suicide bomber reminds us almost daily that jihadi murderers do not fear death. The idea of declaring the president of Egypt a modern-day pharaoh came from the Muslim Brotherhood’s bestselling author and female prisoner, Zainab al-Ghazali. Her torturous prison experiences in Nasser’s Egypt were described in her memoirs The Return of the Pharaoh. Read more »

Iran Among Arab Neighbors

by Ed Husain
Crisis Guide: Iran

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On this day last week, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations. He questioned the 9/11 attacks as “mysterious,” which led to al-Qaeda yesterday labeling Ahmadinejad’s claims “ridiculous.” While there is no love lost between the Shia Ahmadinejad and Sunni al-Qaeda, they are both competing for attention in Arab political space.

Today, Iran’s influence in Arab countries is stronger than it has been for decades. Egypt has closer business and political ties with Iran than it did under Mubarak, despite alleged Iranian spies being caught and dispatched back to Iran after the Egyptian revolution. Iraq’s government, ignoring American advice, is closer to Tehran and depends on Iranian influence over Iraq’s clerics. The murderous Syrian dictatorship is being held up, and democracy quelled, with Iranian support. The Saudi king has pleaded with Americans to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. Jordan and Bahrain made similar requests to the United States.
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