The Great Debate

New Islamic State franchise threatens Egypt

February 16, 2016
A general view of the site of a bomb blast at the Italian Consulate is seen in Cairo, Egypt, July 11, 2015. A bomb exploded in front of the Italian consulate in Cairo on Saturday, killing one person, the health ministry and security officials said, raising the possibility that Islamist militants could open a new front against foreigners. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The site of a bomb blast at the Italian Consulate in Cairo, July 11, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Despite the failed revolution, Egypt’s iron-fisted ruler won’t last

February 12, 2016
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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) waves during the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal, in Ismailia, Egypt, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

What the return of the Arab strongman means for the Middle East

October 23, 2015
Egyptian President al-Sisi waves during opening ceremony of new Suez Canal, in Ismailia, Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) waves during the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal, in Ismailia, Egypt, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Why Egypt’s crackdown on Islamists will lead to bloodshed

July 1, 2015
A woman burns a portrait of ousted President Mohamed Mursi at the funeral of Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat, on the second anniversary of the June 30 protests, in Cairo

A woman burns a portrait of ousted President Mohamed Mursi at the funeral of Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat, on the second anniversary of the June 30 protests, in Cairo, Egypt, June 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Arab nations just created a joint military force. Why now?

April 2, 2015
Saudi special forces snipers demonstrate their shooting skills before their graduation ceremony near Riyadh

Saudi special forces snipers demonstrate their shooting skills before their graduation ceremony near Riyadh, March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed ​

Egypt’s grand mufti: No justification for terror in any religion

April 1, 2015
A view of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali in the Citadel, the Sultan Hasan Mosque and the Al-Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo

The Mosque of Mohammed Ali in the Citadel (top), the Sultan Hasan Mosque and the Al-Rifa’i Mosque (bottom right) in Cairo, May 20, 2008, REUTERS/Nasser Nuri

How Yemen became the front line of a Mideast-wide war

March 27, 2015
Shi'ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa

Shi’ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa, Yemen, March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Why Arab Spring made life better in Tunisia, failed everywhere else

February 18, 2015
A Tunisian fan reacts after Tunisia lost their quarter-final soccer match of the 2015 African Cup of Nations against Equatorial Guinea in Bata

A Tunisian fan soccer fan. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Earlier this month, Tunisia’s newly elected parliament cobbled together a coalition government led by a secular party that included its Islamist rivals, who had been democratically ousted from power. The new government, coming on the heels of a historic presidential election, a new constitution and the first democratic elections to be held during the Arab Spring, marks an astonishing democratic culmination in the birthplace of the movement. It has also proven hard to replicate.

from John Lloyd:

U.S. ‘soft power’ hits another hard reality in the Middle East

November 12, 2014

Relatives of detained activists cry and pray for them as the activists stand trial at a court in Cairo

On Sunday, June 22, 1941, Winston Churchill’s private secretary, John Colville, woke him with the news that Nazi Germany had invaded the Soviet Union. In a radio address that same evening, the British prime minister repeated his “consistent” opposition to communism, but said that “all this flashes away … the Russian danger is therefore our danger.” In a later House of Commons debate, Churchill quipped -- “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

Obama is picking his targets in Iraq and Syria while missing the point

September 10, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks on the situation in Syria, in Washington

“We are now living in what we might as well admit is the Age of Iraq,” New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks recently wrote.  There, in the Land of the Two Rivers, he continued, the United States confronts the “core problem” of our era — “the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam.”