Democratization: Indigenous Beats Imported

Despite George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s efforts to topple foreign dictators and use military power to forcefully impose democracy from without, democracy usually works better if it bubbles up from below by popular desire. In Iraq, even before U.S. forces had withdrawn, Shi’ite President Nouri al-Maliki was taking the country back toward dictatorship. Now … Continue reading “Democratization: Indigenous Beats Imported”

Military Trials on the Rise After Mubarak

CAIRO — Amr El-Beheiry’s trial in a military court lasted just five minutes. The 33-year-old Egyptian was arrested on Feb. 26 and sentenced without a lawyer present to five years in prison for breaking curfew and assaulting a public official during a demonstration in Cairo. He is just one of thousands of civilians tried in … Continue reading “Military Trials on the Rise After Mubarak”

‘One Mubarak Goes, 18 Come In’

CAIRO – Almost six months after the popular uprising that led to the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, the honeymoon between protesters and Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) – initially portrayed as a "defender of the revolution" – appears to be over. "The people’s confidence in the SCAF, which appears … Continue reading “‘One Mubarak Goes, 18 Come In’”

Post-Mubarak Egypt Inches Toward Iran

CAIRO — Based on several recent statements by Egyptian and Iranian officials, Cairo and Tehran appear closer than ever to restoring diplomatic ties following a 31-year hiatus. “The Egyptian foreign minister and the Islamic Republic of Iran have announced their readiness to expand diplomatic relations between the two countries,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi … Continue reading “Post-Mubarak Egypt Inches Toward Iran”

Egypt Takes Sweet Time Opening Promised Rafah Crossing

RAFAH – Many hoping to find free movement between Egypt and Gaza have found the border gates at the Rafah crossing closed. Egyptian officials closed the gates on Saturday, according to Palestinian officials. Ayyoub Abu Shaar, the official who usually communicates with the Egyptian side is no longer able to reach his counterpart. A number … Continue reading “Egypt Takes Sweet Time Opening Promised Rafah Crossing”

Egypt’s Moves Raising Anxiety in Washington

With U.S. lawmakers threatening this week to cut aid to Pakistan over its alleged harboring of the late Osama bin Laden, concern is growing steadily here over the future of ties with another key predominantly Muslim ally heavily dependent on U.S. aid: Egypt. Washington has supplied an average of two billion dollars a year – … Continue reading “Egypt’s Moves Raising Anxiety in Washington”

Silence Shrouds New Egyptian Security Agency

CAIRO – In mid-March, Egypt’s transitional government formally dissolved the hated State Security Investigations (SSI) apparatus, meeting a longstanding demand of the opposition. But in the month since, authorities have remained tight- lipped about the SSI’s planned successor agency, raising fears that the transformation will be in name only. "There has been an inexcusable lack … Continue reading “Silence Shrouds New Egyptian Security Agency”

Muslim Brotherhood Goes Mainstream in Egypt

CAIRO – Egyptians voted in a nationwide referendum yesterday on proposed amendments to the constitutional articles that govern the electoral process. But regardless of the outcome, political analysts are certain that the Muslim Brotherhood, outlawed throughout the 30-year rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, remains poised to be an electoral force to be reckoned with. … Continue reading “Muslim Brotherhood Goes Mainstream in Egypt”

Deep Divisions Over Egypt’s Referendum

CAIRO – Egyptians go to the polls Saturday to vote on a package of constitutional amendments which, in some ways, mirrors the longtime demands of the Egyptian opposition. The changes would make it easier for independent candidates to run for office. They would bar the president from transferring "terrorism suspects" to emergency courts, a common … Continue reading “Deep Divisions Over Egypt’s Referendum”

Mummies and Models in the New Middle East

They can’t help themselves. Really, they can’t. Like children, the most monstrous of secret police outfits evidently come to believe themselves immortal. They lose all ability to imagine that they might ever go down and so keep records to the very moment of their collapse. Those records, so copious, damning, and unbearably detailed (which doesn’t … Continue reading “Mummies and Models in the New Middle East”