Commentary

What Will Change After Tunisia’s Municipal Elections?
Oumayma Ben Abdallah
06/19/2018

Tunisia renewed its vows to democracy on May 6, successfully holding its first free and fair elections of its town councils across the country since the fall of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime, despite a crippling economic crisis and a slow pace of reforms. While municipal elections were the first step in Tunisia’s path toward decentralization, they were marred with hasty procedures and harsh electoral campaign conditions, which contributed

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From Community Participation to Forced Eviction in the Maspero Triangle
Omnia Khalil
06/14/2018

Early one morning during Ramadan in September 2008, a mass of rock collapsed in the Cairo neighborhood of Dewe’a, leaving more than 130 people dead under the rubble. The devastation was such that the government was unable to retrieve the bodies for burial, and immediately decided to establish a unit responsible for issues related to so-called “slums.” The Informal Settlement Development Fund (ISDF) was established and began to work late 2008,

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في عصر “الأخبار الكاذبة”.. مصر تفرض الرقابة وتُكمّم الأفواه
Mai El-Sadany
06/05/2018

English بقلم: مي السعدني 16-3-2018 في عصر شاع فيه استخدام مصطلح "الأخبار الكاذبة" الذي أطلقه ويردّده الرئيس الأمريكي دونالد ترامب كلما دخل في مواجهة مع وسائل الإعلام الناقدة له، يبدو أنّ مصر تأخذ مسارًا موازيًا؛ إذ تُشدّد مِن قبضتها على وسائل الإعلام مِن خلال

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Kurds’ Influence Diminished in Iraqi Elections
Kamal Chomani
06/01/2018

The results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections this month took many by surprise. Populist Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s coalition won a plurality of 329 seats, followed by three other lists dominated or led by Shi’a. This left Kurdish parties with 61 seats and the strongest Sunni coalition with only 13, revealing deep divisions among Sunnis and Kurds, and showing how those divisions—along with the quest for Kurdish statehood—have diminished

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Civil Society from Alexandria to Aswan: Survival Strategies
Amy Austin Holmes
05/31/2018
The Egyptian Regime’s Broadening Reach over Media
Mohamad Adam
05/22/2018

As the current regime in Egypt asserts its control over more spheres of politics and society, it is realizing the importance of spreading military morals as an ideology for all aspects of life, especially media and culture production. In addition to using the security apparatuses, the regime is also using civilian institutions to initiate new forms of repression to replace previous security measures that were synonymous with military rule. A prominent

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What Iraq’s Parliamentary Elections Mean for Kurdish Politics
Kamal Chomani
05/11/2018

Iraqis from Basra to Duhok will cast their votes on May 12 to elect 329 members of the Iraqi parliament, in its fourth legislative term. Expectations of many Iraqis, especially in the autonomous Kurdish region, are mixed with both fear and hope. This election comes after two historical events in Iraq that will likely the country’s future and the relations between its main political groups: the end of the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and

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“Behind the Sun”: How Egypt Denies Forced Disappearances
Sherif Azer
04/30/2018

There is an expression that came out during President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era that every Egyptian is familiar with: “behind the sun.” It was used to describe the unofficial detention centers used by Nasser’s regime to detain political dissidents. Detainees would disappear for years, and their families and lawyers would not be informed of the place they were being kept or other legal details. Plainclothes policemen would arrive at the suspect’s

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Strikes in Syria Reverberate in Iran
Hassan Hassan
04/27/2018

The United States-led attack to punish the Syrian regime two weeks ago triggered a change in the American approach to Syria unrelated to the chemical attacks. The combined bombing campaign by the U.S., France, and the United Kingdom had narrow objectives of degrading Syrian chemical weapons capabilities and deterring the regime from repeated use—nothing approaching previously suspected plans to ground the Syrian air force and leadership decapitation.

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The Risks of Egypt’s Mounting External Debt
Osama Diab
04/24/2018

Egypt’s landmark devaluation of the pound in November 2016 was a historic move hailed as a necessary step on a path of economic recovery, as the country embarked on an ambitious economic reform program with the International Monetary Fund. But as the inflation it unleashed reached a three-decade high—a staggering 32.8 percent—prices skyrocketed, leaving many families unable to afford food and other basic necessities. The inflation rate was

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