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Authoritarian Rule

Sinai: War in a Distant Province

[Aftermath of the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in October 1981. Photo from Wikimedia commons]

The July 1 battle in which the Egyptian Armed Forces regained control of a small border town from the self-proclaimed Sinai Province of the Islamic State (formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis or Supporters of Jerusalem) has heightened fear, anger, and above all self-congratulation among both the government’s supporters and its critics. Days after still unknown assailants had assassinated the country’s Prosecutor General by means of a car bomb, IS fighters attacked a series of checkpoints in the northern Sinai peninsula and appeared briefly to have taken control of Shaykh Zuwayed near the border with Gaza and Israel. The attack occurred more or less on the ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 28)

[Gulf Arab states remain divided over the Iranian nuclear agreement. Image from USDS.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Are Arab Oil Monarchies divided over Iran Deal? Juan Cole examines the Gulf states’ divided position over the nuclear deal with Iran. We Cannot Defeat ISIS Until We Stop Iran and Saudi From Pouring Fuel on the Sectarian Fire Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi argues that the Islamic State in Iraq and ...

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France Decorates a Moroccan Facing Justice on Bastille Day: A Portrait of Abdellatif Hammouchi

[Abdellatif Hammouchi receives decoration from the Spanish government. Image from screenshot of Moroccan state channel, Al Oula.]

Despite objections from human rights organizations in Morocco and France, on 23 June 2015, the National French Assembly adopted a bill that requires judges to refer legal complaints regarding criminal acts committed in Morocco to Moroccan justice. This would also include cases in which French citizens were subjected to acts of torture. The Senate will ratify this decision on 15 July 2015. This ratification comes a little over a year after the French justice system began raising questions about the head of Morocco's intelligence services, Abdellatif Hammouchi, for whom strong suspicions of complicity in torture did little to impede his rapid rise through the ranks. ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 8)

[Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula has imposed increasingly strict behavior in Mukalla in the Yemeni governorate of Hadramawt since it first captured the city in April. Image from Sallam/Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations Gulf states share shock of terror attack on mosque in Kuwait Martin Chulov argues that the Gulf states fear further violence from the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria during the month of Ramadan. Analysis: How will the GCC react to Iran nuclear deal? Jamal Abdullah analyzes the ...

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المال ليس كل شيء: إعادة النظر في الاقتصاد العسكري في مصر

[الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي في تجمع عسكري في ديسمبر/ كانون الاول 2014. المصدر: صفحة الفيسبوك الرسمية للمتحدث الرسمي للقوات المسلحة المصرية]

شهدت مصر توسّعاً واضحاً في النشاط الاقتصادي للجيش في أعقاب إطاحة القوات المسلحة المصرية بالرئيس الإخواني محمد مرسي في يوليو 2013،  والذي تلاه ترجمة سيطرة  الجيش على المشهد السياسي إلى صعود عبد الفتاح السيسي إلى مقعد الرئاسة في يونيو 2014. وقد حدا هذا بالكثير من المتابعين إلى اعتبار أن الجيش بصدد استخدام نفوذه السياسي المتزايد لجنى المزيد من المكاسب والمزايا الاقتصادية، وهو الأمر الذي درجت عليه المؤسسة العسكرية في العهود السابقة.  لطالما كان الجيش  لاعباً رئيساً في الاقتصاد المصري، غير أنه، وخلافاً للوصف النمطي للجنرالات على أنهم يستغلّون نفوذ الجيش السياسي لزيادة الموارد الاقتصادية الخاضعة لهم ولتغذية شبكات المحسوبية والزبونية داخل المؤسسة فإن ...

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Egypt under the New July Republic

[President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and government officials at the funeral of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat who was killed in a car bomb attack on 29 June 2015. Source: Official Facebook Page of the Spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces.]

The prevailing characteristic of the time before the revolution, all those moons ago, was Egypt’s political moribundity.  There were elections of sorts, or at least votes went in ballot boxes but their provenance was not always from voters. Political parties did politics, sort of, following a script. There was a parliament. But outside of university campuses and the workers’ movement genuine politics was largely absent from public life. Egyptian Facebook was a very different animal back then, and while it would prove useful for mobilization in 2011 and beyond, the majority of people ignored both political developments, when there were any, and the routine and ...

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More than Money on their Minds: The Generals and the Economy in Egypt Revisited

[President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi at a military gathering in December 2014. Source: Official Facebook Page of the Spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces.]

Following the July 2013 power takeover by Defense Minister and later President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, the economic activities of the Egyptian military have been reportedly on the rise. For many, that trend only meant that the military under Sisi was preparing to do what it has long done under previous leaders, namely use its political privileges to make money and run easy profits. Indeed, the military establishment has always been a major player in Egypt’s economy. Its leaders have traditionally sought to use their institution’s economic interests to enhance the military’s resources and access to patronage. Yet the military’s more recent intervention in the economy ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 30)

[Bahraini activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja (left) remains imprisoned after ending his hunger strike protesting conditions in Jaw prison, while Nabeel Rajab (right) has been sentenced to six months for

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Wikileaks Docs Reveal Saudi intrigues against Bahrain’s Arab Spring Faten Bushehri examines Saudi Arabia’s meddling in Bahrain’s affairs during the 2011 uprising. The Saudi Cables: Revelations from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Lebanon, Sudan & Egypt Kevin Gosztola reports on regional issues ...

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The Constant and the Changing 2015: The Gulf and the Other

[The following is the 2015 executive summary of the Gulf Centre for Development Policies' third annual report The Constant and the Changing.] In the third annual volume of The Constant and the Changing publication series, the Gulf Centre for Development Policies renews its call for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to address the chronic disorders that ail their development trajectory. The objective of this series of publications is to contribute to finding a path toward building independent states based on sustainable development, a democratic political culture, and the integration between Gulf Countries.  The four key disorders may be summarized as ...

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Un dualisme pernicieux ou le mythe des deux Algéries

[Image d'une place à Oran. Image par Maya-Anaïs Yataghène/Flickr]

Dans sa dernière chronique pour le magazine Rupture qu'il dirige, l'écrivain et journaliste Tahar Djaout introduit sa dichotomie partageant l'Algérie entre « la famille qui avance et la famille qui recule ». Nous sommes en mai 1993, juste avant son assassinat. La représentation dualiste qui s’exprime dans cette formule oppose porteurs de la modernité et défenseurs de l'authenticité. Dans l'Algérie de 2015, cette dichotomie particulièrement problématique reste toujours d’actualité sous une forme ou une autre, malgré la fin de la guerre civile et la considérable fragmentation sociale héritée de l’histoire. On la retrouve par exemple dans l'opposition fallacieuse ...

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Tunisia: Democratic Miracle or Mirage?

[

Since December 2014, Western officials and analysts have very actively, almost aggressively, celebrated the Tunisian “success,” which is alternatively defined as an “exception” or a “model” in a chaotic Arab world. Following the Tunisian president’s official visit to France in April 2015, Beji Caid Essebi’s visit to the United States on 20-21 May 2015, completed the Western consecration of Tunisia’s induction into the “club of democracies.” The current fascination with Tunisia’s democratic achievement, echoing the blind celebration of the so-called Tunisian economic miracle during the Ben Ali era, requires critical analysis. The promotion of Tunisia as a “bon élève ...

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First Thoughts on the Elections in Turkey: A Roundtable

[Supporters at an HDP meeting, Istanbul, 30 May 2015. Image via Alfonso Ianniello / Shutterstock.com]

On 7 June 2015, Turkey held a general election to elect the 550 members of the Grand National Assembly and form the Twenty-Fifth Parliament of Turkey. Those who have followed politics in Turkey have watched a tense, and even violent, political scene emerge over the past few weeks. The pre-election period was shaped by vehement election campaigns by the vying political parties, as they put forward their agendas. The period was also dominated by debates over the alleged unlawful use of public funds and state grants by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for its own election campaigns; the state-affiliated media’s partial and biased representation of the AKP and ...

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New Texts Out Now: Raymond Hinnebusch, From Arab Spring to Arab Winter: Explaining the Limits of Post-Uprising Democratization

Raymond Hinnebusch, editor, From Arab Spring to Arab Winter: Explaining the Limits of Post-Uprising Democratization, special issue of Democratization 22.2 (2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you put this special issue together? Raymond Hinnebusch (RH): We felt that the debate over who had been vindicated by the uprising between democratization theorists and post-democratization/authoritarian resilience advocates had been exhausted. The main initial problematic of the Arab Uprising was how to translate ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 21)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations Gulf States Are Right to Fear Iran Deal Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi analyzes the economic and political implication ...

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Iran’s Nuclear Deal and the Day After: An Interview with Kamran Matin

For more than a week, diplomats from Iran and six world powers have gathered in Vienna’s Coburg Palace to finalize a historic deal on Iran’s nuclear program.   The officials from Iran and the US have told reporters  “we are making good progress on almost all of the issues..But there are a few issues which … remain to be resolved” as a result, the self imposed deadline of June 30th is now extend to Friday July 10th. This week, we spend the hour with Kamran Matin, Assistant Professor in ...

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Against Terror, No Way Forward Without Respect for Human Rights

[The following is the text of a presentation given by Bahey Eldin Hassan, Director of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) during the EU Parliament Human Rights Subcommittee Session of 28 May 2015 in Brussels] Last week the student union at Ain Shams University’s School of Engineering issued a statement announcing their resignation in protest at the killing of Islam Atito, one of their peers, by security forces. The Interior Ministry had just claimed Islam was suspected of having ...

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The Land of Fear and Oppression

Kazeboon revisits Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi's Egypt two years after the 3 July military coup. The video below serves as a collage of footage highlighting what sort of state Egypt has become under Sisi. Archival footage traces Sisi's rise to power and his broken promises, including his pledge not to run for the office of the president. The video brings to focus how Egypt under Sisi has faced increased press censorship, repression, and politicization of the judiciary. Torture and abusive practice have ...

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In Response to Mubarak

On 10 June the Youm7 website carried a summary of my book Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the U.S.-Egyptian Alliance (Cambridge University Press 2012), translated into Arabic under the title إجهاض الديمقراطية.. الحصاد المر للعلاقات المصرية الأمريكية فى أربعين  عاًما (Dar El Thaqafa El Jedida 2013).  The book draws on interviews with key decision makers and previously untapped written sources to argue that authoritarianism is a transnational phenomenon in which multiple ...

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The Saudi Leaks and Egypt: A Recap

It was not long after Wikileaks had released the Saudi cables that the dirty laundry it revealed about Egypt’s political elite began circulating in news reports and social media. Although many of the leaks have only confirmed what observers had long suspected, the details they reveal regarding the conduct of various Egyptian political actors were quite shocking. The Saudi government first responded over twitter holding that these leaks were both false and destabilizing, while urging citizens not to ...

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A Dangerous Dualism: The Myth of Two Algerias

In his last column for the magazine Rupture, the writer and journalist Tahar Djaout introduced his dichotomy of an Algeria divided between “the family that advances and the family that regresses” (“la famille qui avance et la famille qui recule”). This was in May 1993, just before his assassination. The dualist representation expressed in this phrase puts those who advance modernity in opposition to those who defend authenticity. In the Algeria of 2015, this problematic dichotomy is still relevant and is ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 23)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Yemen drone strike lawsuit forces US to face non-western 'war on terror' victims Sabrina Siddiqui writes on the ...

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Nobody Leaves through the Ballot Box: The Historical Irrelevance of General Elections in Sudanese Political Transitions

In almost sixty years of independence, Sudan has witnessed a dozen heads of state come and go and countless presidential and parliamentary elections. Of these presidents and prime ministers, less than a handful was voted into office and not a single one has been voted out. With the current elections widely seen as a farce, a foregone conclusion with Omar al-Bashir set to win and many Sudanese people shifting between apathy and antipathy towards the process, a spotlight has been shone on the electoral ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 9)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations   US hostage Casey Coombs released in Yemen and flown to Oman The Houthis release one of the four US citizens held by ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 2)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations Saudi Arabian mosque hit by bomb attack A suicide bomber belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria ...

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