An Egyptian anti-government demonstrator

Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring

Nine months before Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University hosted a symposium on Arab media. Much (and not much) has changed in the region’s media landscape since. Understanding the structural and functional characteristics at a historical juncture ahead of the uprisings can help us comprehend what precipitated (and inhibited) the ensuing changes. The[…]


When Hypocrites Take the Hippocratic Oath

Or, Undoing the “Arab Spring” Earlier this month, the White House unveiled its new foreign policy credo: “Don’t do stupid shit.” While many lamented the modesty of this approach, acting with restraint in order to limit iatrogenesis is certainly a worthy goal—and an approach with wide and enduring popular support—in fact, this is the vision[…]


Elections in Syria, Algeria and Egypt: A Theater of the Absurd

Algeria’s presidential election this past April was theater of the absurd–complete with wheelchair-bound President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, age 77, casting a ballot accompanied by his little nephew and grown men in the street kissing portraits of the beloved president. Bouteflika, who’s been in power for 15 years and unable to campaign for himself, was reelected in[…]

Sisi supporters

Egypt Turning a Corner: For Better or For Worse?

Dr. Michael C. Hudson On May 26-8 Egyptians went to the polls to elect a new president–a decisive moment in the tumultuous struggles which followed the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in the uprising of 2010-11. The masses had demanded an end to authoritarianism and the beginning of democracy. But in this election they overwhelmingly voted for the general,[…]


Egypt’s Low Electoral Turnout: The Death Pangs of al-Sisi or the June 30th ‘Revolution’ ?

Today was the second day of the Egyptian presidential election. The election, which comes almost two years after the 2012 presidential election and eleven months after the July 2013 coup, is the most recent and most important step in the current regime’s ongoing attempt to move beyond the discursive as well as the on-the-ground conflict[…]


Egypt’s Judiciary Makes a Mockery Out of Justice

Egypt’s military installed government recently intensified its crackdown on the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood in an unprecedented manner—judge Saeed Youssef Elgazar sentenced more than 500 of its supporters to death. The ruling came in response to violence in Minya last August, in which a single Egyptian policeman was killed. That violence erupted in the wake of[…]


Campaign 2014: Of Candidates and Conflicts

The spring of 2014 will be yet another in a restive line of transformative periods in the broader Middle East, for better or worse, as the region’s people continue their political overhaul by electing new presidents, parliaments, and constitution-drafting bodies. Eight Middle Eastern countries have elections scheduled in 2014, and most will proceed without external[…]


Egypt: the Slippery Slope Gets More Slippery

The Muslim Brotherhood is Designated a Terrorist Organization…Again So much for an inclusive political process in the wake of the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi. In the immediate aftermath of a deadly suicide bombing on December 24th, which the Muslim Brotherhood condemned, the Egyptian military-backed interim government designated the group a[…]


Egypt & Russia: Will Weapons Warm-up this Cold War Relationship?

After the Obama administration halted the transfer of over $560 million in cash and loan guarantees to support the Egyptian military, it was clear that Egyptian officials would have to find alternate ways to equip their forces. On November 18, the AP reported a statement from Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov, who confirmed a deal[…]


Egypt’s “Deep State” Declares Independence

To be clear, the Egyptian military does not aspire towards total control of the state, with all of the responsibilities entailed thereby—what they want, what they have always wanted, is to be beyond accountability to the civilian population, to have their budget immune to external oversight or reduction, to reserve the right to intercede as[…]


Al-Maliki proves that he isn’t a Sissi: U.S.-Iraq Rapprochement

After Nuri al-Maliki was elected prime minister in 2010, several months of wrangling ensued with the Sunni “Iraqiya” bloc, highlighted by a near last minute walkout. Eventually, Iraq’s top officials produced a power sharing agreement that was lauded by world leaders. These days, the 2010 “equal-share” bargain has effectively fallen apart, and without U.S. troops[…]

Protesters throw stones during a clash between supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mursi, at Ramsis square in Cairo

SISMEC Interviews Ashraf Khalil

SISMEC affiliate Hannah Gaber interviews Ashraf Khalil about the current state of Egypt since the coup against Muhammad Mursi, and the apparent trajectory of the country going forward.     Hannah Gaber (HG): Could you start us off by maybe telling us where you are right now and what you’re working on at the moment?[…]


Halting Weapons, Aiding Narratives in Egypt

Do recent U.S. policies undermine the generals or strengthen their legitimacy? While U.S. policymakers continue to resist defining the transition in Egypt as a coup, in response to the country’s escalating crisis, they have decided to reduce military aid to Egypt. The White House will continue to support the Army’s campaign in the Sinai Peninsula, but has cut hundreds[…]


Resurrecting the Dead: A Return to Outdated Domestic Policy

Charles Mink As of mid September 2013, the Egyptian military regime has reinstituted domestic policies designed to suppress violent Islamic groups and their influence on the Egyptian population. On September 12, 2013, President Adly Mansour announced the extension of the country’s state of emergency for another two months, calling the decision an essential precaution in[…]

The War for Egyptian National Identity: An Inside Perspective

Marina Shalabi June 30th 2013 Anti-Morsi protest: about 30 of us were holding a large Egyptian flag as we marched to the Presidential palace in attempt to seek back the freedom and will of the people. Egyptian men and women of all ages, religions, and social classes surrounded me. The sounds of what seemed to[…]

Egyptian-Hamas Relations: An Icy Cold Front Settles In

Is Another “Coup” in the Forecast? Since the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July, relations between the interim Egyptian government and Hamas, the ruling Palestinian faction in Gaza, have cooled considerably. The temperature dropped further this week when for the first time, the Egyptian naval police fired on Palestinian fishermen, a practice that[…]


Shallow Democracy v. Deep State: An Archaeology of the Crisis in Egypt

A week after carrying out his ultimatum to depose President Mursi, General al-Sisi delivered a new 48-hour ultimatum to those alienated by his actions to end their protests against the military coup.  Even as the general demanded that the protesters end their demonstrations, he called upon his own supporters to take to the streets nationwide[…]


Coup me once, shame on you; coup me twice…

The Next Phase of the Egyptian “Revolution” Mohamed Mursi’s biggest, albeit inevitable, failure is now perhaps obvious: he was unable to significantly reform Egypt’s “deep state.” The recent coup makes it less likely that future elected officials will have the courage to even try, assuming they are ever granted meaningful authority over the state—there is no doubt[…]


Saving democracy or settling scores?

The military claims to be saving democracy, but could it be something else? After a tumultuous year of regional conflict, economic struggles, and political turmoil, the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from office and suspended the constitution, placing itself in charge of the state. The military defended its decision to remove Morsi by stating[…]


Al-Qaeda Loyalists and U.S. Troops Together At Last in the Sinai

The New Venue For War-on-Terror Ground Combat? The Egyptian central government in Cairo has suffered another heart attack with the ousting of ex-President Muhammad Morsi. His economic ineptitude and political cliquishness notwithstanding, the premature removal of a democratically elected Muslim Brother has given al-Qaeda ideologues in Egypt precisely the leverage needed to once again raise[…]

That Haven-Hopping Al-Qaeda Finds a Viable Landing Pad in the Sinai

What the vacuous security situation means for Egypt, her neighbors, and the U.S. As U.S. drone strikes and targeted killings in states like Pakistan and Yemen continue to make life for terrorists there less and less sustainable, the ethereal group of Islamic Salafists who self-identify as al-Qaeda seem to be adapting to this new brand[…]

“I M F***ed!” -The Egyptian Economy

Egyptian government seeks IMF loan as citizens are hungry for bread and freedom Ongoing political unrest following the revolution that ousted the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has put the country in a dire economic situation. With foreign currency reserves, strategic wheat stocks, and the value of the Egyptian pound all dwindling fast, the Egyptian[…]

Yeah…another year down the drains in Egypt!

Two years later and what? For analysts, scholars, expatriates and residents of Tunisia and Egypt alike, the passing of another year since the “first wave” of the Arab Uprisings is like the passing of yet another birthday.  While a chocolate cake, surprise party or commemorating event at the iconic Tahrir Square can soften the blow,[…]

Fighting the War Against Women in Egypt and Syria

Mobilizing to Combat Sexual Violence The American rape crisis center traces its roots to the 1970s in the context of the second wave feminist movement and other related movements at the time that were mobilized around demands for rights. Starting as radical social movement organizations levying heavy criticisms against the treatment of rape survivors by[…]