Inspired by an excellent recent post by Anatoly Karlin, I’d like to add my two cents on the controversial topic of race in the ancient world. This is a sorely under-covered issue which deserves entire PhD theses dedicated to it. For now, a few Internet articles will have to do. I would argue that HBD... Read More
The June 1967 conflict was launched to destroy Gamal Abdel Nasser and eradicate Arab nationalism. The latter posed a serious threat to Western interests in the middle east. Nasser was not responsible for the outbreak of war and took significant steps to prevent it. He was aware that Egypt was in no position to defeat... Read More
Isis has carried out revenge attacks against any state or group which fights against it. When the US started bombing its forces in Iraq and Syria last year, it decapitated American journalists and aid workers. When beheadings became the norm and lost their shock value, it burned to death a Jordanian pilot in a cage.... Read More
Mention the term ‘skin color’ and people usually think of race or ethnicity. Yet this way of thinking became dominant only when Europeans began moving out and colonizing the rest of the world, beginning in the 16th century. Previously, physical features were less useful as ethnic markers. We knew about and quarrelled with those groups... Read More
John Kerry was doing his best "Casablanca" impersonation, pretending to be police Capt. Renault and was just shocked that Egypt is still a brutal military dictatorship despite our newly revived "historic partnership." A day after chatting it up in Cairo on Sunday with now-elected dictator Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who, Kerry assured the world, "gave me... Read More
Think of Barack Obama's recent return to West Point at graduation time to offer his approach to an increasingly chaotic world as a bookend on an era. George W. Bush went to the Academy in June 2002 -- less than a year after 9/11, seven months after the U.S. had triumphantly invaded Afghanistan, 10 months... Read More
How Egypt's Generals Sidelined Uncle Sam
Since September 11, 2001, Washington’s policies in the Middle East have proven a grim imperial comedy of errors and increasingly a spectacle of how a superpower is sidelined. In this drama, barely noticed by the American media, Uncle Sam’s keystone ally in the Arab world, Egypt, like Saudi Arabia, has largely turned its back on... Read More
An eight-minute trial, with no arguments for the defence, and one judge sentences 683 people to death.
After an eight-minute trial a judge in Egypt has sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the former President Mohamed Morsi who was ousted in a military coup last July. Among those condemned to die is the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organisation despite its tradition of non-violence... Read More
What John Kerry did this week in Egypt and Saudi Arabia is nothing short of despicable. He, and the president who appointed him, managed to honor both a vicious military dictatorship and a totalitarian medieval monarchy as examples of progress toward a more democratic Middle East, as if neither stood in contradiction to professed U.S.... Read More
Do you remember the end of history? I do. You know, when the collapse of Soviet communism signaled the final triumph of American style democratic republican politics and free market economics…the victory that underlies the somewhat more scientific brand of American exceptionalism practiced by President Obama and excuses the often extralegal and violent insertion of... Read More
In the back and forth about Syria, there is surprisingly little discussion about Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar. Even though Bandar apparently took over the Saudi covert account last year and has driven the Kingdom’s hard line against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. It’s also clear that Saudi Arabia has... Read More
Cairo's counter-intelligence has left U.S. policymakers in the dark.
If it seems as if the United States possesses little to no leverage over the deteriorating situation in Egypt, a contributing factor might be the evident cluelessness of policymakers in Washington. That might reasonably be attributed to the inability on the part of the intelligence community and diplomatic service to obtain the kind of information... Read More
An Interview with Andy Libson
Andy Libson is a member of La Voz, a schoolteacher, and member of United Educators of San Francisco and the reform caucus, Educators for a Democratic Union. He’s been keeping a close eye on Egypt, which he’s written about extensively. Below is an interview Libson did with CounterPuncher Mike Whitney on the recent happenings in... Read More
[This post originally appeared at Asia Times Online on August 22, 2013 as "Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt". I've expanded and clarified the original piece considerably, especially in material pertaining to Golden Shield and the Great Firewall, with the additions shown in red. This piece may be reposted if ATOl is credited... Read More
Recent events in Egypt provide significant food for thought for China policy idealists and realists. The liberal West’s chosen panacea for China—millions of young people taking to the streets and voicing democratic slogans—produced an embarrassing military coup and an appalling massacre in Egypt. If news reports can be trusted, there is a distinct lack of... Read More
Egypt’s US-financed armed forces have gone to war against Egypt’s people. Arab spring has become Arab winter. So far, army and security police have scored brilliant battlefield victories against unarmed men, women and children, killing and wounding thousands who were demanding a return to democratic government. The latest Cairo protests by supporters of the elected... Read More
There are interesting parallels between the liberal disgruntlement with Edward Snowden (typified by Melissa Harris-Perry’s anti-Snowden screed on MSNBC) and the right’s beatdown of Al Gore’s physique and carbon footprint on the global warming issue. The argument seems to be, unless the bearer of unwelcome tidings can demonstrate 100% plaster sainthood to his or her... Read More
The real story behind the military coup in Cairo led by General al-Sissi is much more complex than the western media is reporting. Far from a spontaneous uprising by Egyptians, – aka “a people’s revolution” – what really happened was a putsch orchestrated by Egypt’s “deep government” and outside powers – the latest phase of... Read More
Is Saudi money undermining Cairo's Morsi government?
A great deal of reporting on the political unrest in Egypt offers simple explanations fully comprehensible to readers in London, Paris, or New York, couched in the political expressions that those audiences are accustomed to hearing. Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi has been depicted as an Islamist with an Islamist agenda who is also an inept... Read More
A year ago, I was mixing with demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square calling for an end to Mubarak’s dictatorship and democracy for Egypt’s 84 million people. Being a natural-born firebrand, I find most revolutions intoxicating – if almost inevitably disappointing or even ghastly. What a difference a year makes. Tahrir Square is now packed with... Read More
The recent killing of 16 Egyptian military police by militants in Sinai, part of an unsuccessful attempted penetration of the nearby Israeli border using a captured armored personnel carrier, appears to have been carried out by jihadi groups from the north of the peninsula along with Palestinians infiltrated from Gaza. But is the accepted narrative... Read More
History in Reverse
Remember the euphoria early last year when long-established police states across the Arab world were tumbling down. Facile comparisons were made with the fall of communist states in Eastern Europe in 1989. Commentators spoke glibly of irrepressible political change in the age of the internet, social media and satellite television. Regime change from Tunisia to... Read More
The second, decisive round of Egypt’s presidential election will be held 16 and 17 June. If former general and Mubarak regime stalwart Ahmad Shafiq somehow wins, it’s almost certain the vote was manipulated. A huge popular explosion in Egypt will very likely ensue. Egyptians are already furious their first democratic election of a president was... Read More
"The Biggest Source of Social Injustice"
Rudyard Kipling's caustic verses denouncing the corruption of state officials sound as sharp and relevant today as they did in 1886. He drew examples from ancient Egypt, though his experience was in British-ruled India where things were supposedly better run. But Egyptians today should see nothing much to complain of in his picture of Egypt,... Read More
“The surprise is not that there is so much violence, but that there is so little.”
Cairo It is a gun battle people in the Shubra district in central Cairo still talk about six months after it happened. In a dispute over a piece of land he had seized amid the small shops and densely crowded streets, Mohammed Shaban, who had escaped from prison during the revolution, challenged the police to... Read More