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Authoritarian Rule

Against Terror, No Way Forward Without Respect for Human Rights

[Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies logo]

[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 killed Colonel Wael Tahoun in April 2015, and had been hiding in the desert of a Cairo suburb; he had allegedly opened fire at security forces who had killed him in the ...

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The Land of Fear and Oppression

[Screen shot from Land of Fear and Oppression. Source: Kazeboon]

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 become commonplace among security forces, with no accountability for those who perpetrate them.  

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In Response to Mubarak

[President George W. Bush and Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak address the media in Cross Hall at the White House March 5. Source: White House photo by Eric Draper.]

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 governments participate. Since Washington resumed diplomatic ties with Cairo in the early 1970s, the United States has been a key partner and contributor in the use of repression ...

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The Saudi Leaks and Egypt: A Recap

[Wikileaks logo. Source: wikileaks.org]

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 republish documents that could enable so-called enemies of the state to achieve their goals. Subsequently, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the content of ...

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A Dangerous Dualism: The Myth of Two Algerias

[Image of a square in Wahrane. Image by Maya-Anaïs Yataghène/Flickr]

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 expressed in various forms, despite the end of the civil war and the considerable social fragmentation that history has bequeathed. Take, for example, the notion that ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 23)

[The famlies of two Yemeni men killed in a 2012 drone strike have sued the US government. Image from Leslie Pratt.]

[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 disparity in the White House’s responses to the death of two Western hostages and that of hundreds of Yemenis in drone strikes. Yemeni families sue US over drone strike that ...

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

[Map by UN Department of Field Support – Cartographic Section via

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 process. The traditional opposition has boycotted the elections, some preferring to push for a seemingly never-ending “national dialogue” instead and others refusing to ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 9)

[The Saudi-led naval blockade of Yemen has left twenty million people facing a humanitarian disaster. Image from Michael Starkey.]

[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 them in Yemen.  In very rare public meet, Israeli, Saudi officials name Iran as common foe A news report on a public meeting between high-ranking Israeli and Saudi ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 2)

[Saudi bombing in Sanaa, 22 May 2015. Screenshot from RT video footage.]

[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 tried to blow himself up in a mosque in Dammam. Worshippers in Saudi mosque react as bomb goes off in Dammam – video Footage showing worshippers inside the mosque the moment ...

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Letter of Support by Colleagues and Personal Friends of Emad Shahin

[The following letter was issued on 26 May 2015 in support of Emad Shahin, a professor at the American University of Cairo (AUC) whose was charged, tried, and recently sentenced to death (in absentia) as part of a broader set of cases brought forth by the regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.] For those familiar with even the barest facts of the case, the provisional sentence of Emad al-Din Shahin,  to death seems appalling.  Professor Shahin is a widely respected and accomplished academic who has taught at Notre Dame, Harvard, Georgetown, the American University in Cairo, and George Washington University.  He has no record of organized political activity. The ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 19)

[Image from Gulf Center for Human Rights.]

[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 King Salman of Saudi Arabia pulls out of US talks on Iran Ian Black and Dan Roberts argue that the US president hoped to use the summit at Camp David to alleviate the Gulf leaders’ fear of the nuclear deal with Iran. US summit aims to calm Arab fears over Iran A news report on the Gulf-US ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 12)

[The Obama administration is thought to have promised to provide the Gulf Arab states with a ballistic missile defense system to appease their fears of Iran’s nuclear deal. Image from US Missile Defense Agency.]

[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.] Crisis in Yemen Al-Qaida in Yemen says US drone killed man who claimed Charlie Hebdo attack A senior member of al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula dies in a US drone strikes. UPDATE 1-Senegal to send 2,100 troops to join Saudi-led alliance Senegal announces that it will send troops to Saudi Arabia. Gulf-trained fighters arrive ...

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

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 ...

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Egypt under the New July Republic

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 ...

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

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 ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 30)

[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 ...

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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 ...

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Un dualisme pernicieux ou le mythe des deux Algéries

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 ...

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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, ...

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First Thoughts on the Elections in Turkey: A Roundtable

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 ...

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Press Freedom on Trial in Turkey: A Statement from BirGun

[The following statement and call to action was issued by BirGün, an independent left daily newspaper in Turkey that is being prosecuted for covereage of then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan.] On 2 June, a trial will begin in Caglayan Istanbul Second Criminal Court. Baris Ince, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish independent daily newspaper, BirGün, is being sued under Article 229 of the Turkish Criminal Code for “defamation of the President.” The newspaper printed an acrostic ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 26)

[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 Arabia attack: Islamic State claims Shia mosque bombing The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria claims the attack ...

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ترخيص المواقع الإخبارية في الأردن: قيود قانونية وتشوهات بنيوية

تعديلات قانون المطبوعات والنشر التي كان يفترض بها تنظيم عمل قطاع الإعلام الإلكتروني، الأوسع انتشارًا في الأردن، أنتجت تشوهات بنيوية جديدة. تعديلات قانونية عملت عليها ومهدت لها أربع حكومات وأنجزتها وطبقتها حكومة خامسة في أقل من عام. فرضت الحكومة رؤيتها لـ«تنظيم» المواقع من دون إشراك العاملين بها؛ أدخلت تعديلات إشكالية على القانون ومن دون حتى تكييفها مع قوانين أخرى؛ مارست انتقائية في تطبيق بنود القانون وخالفت الدستور والمعاهدات الدولية بفرض مزيد من القيود على حرية الإعلام ...

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الثورات العربية في سياق الربيع العربي والديمقراطية

كثر الحديث عما سمي بالربيع العربي والذي يعبر في حقيقته عن سلسلة الثورات العربية السياسية التي اجتاحت أقطاراً عديدة في بلاد الشرق الأوسط العربية ضد ديكتاتورية الحكومات، انطلاقاً من تونس ثم مصر ثم ليبيا وأقطار عربية أخرى أبرزها سوريا التي لا تزال تشغل حيزاً في الإعلام الدولي حيث لا يعرف الكثير كيف ستنتهي هذه الثورة داخلياً، على الرغم من أن آثارها خارجياً أصبحت واضحة للعيان، فمنها انطلقت داعش وتوسعت داخل العراق لتحتل أراض واسعة تمتد عبر حدود البلدين، وتؤسس لكيان يعرف باسم" الدولة الاسلامية"، وقد ...

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