Commentary

With New Law, Assad Tells Syrians Not to Come Home
Mai El-Sadany
04/11/2018

Faced with the immense challenges of family reunification, complex immigration systems, and finding gainful employment abroad, some Syrian refugees are returning to their country. Instead of being welcomed by their home nation, however, reports indicate that they are forced to undergo a “reconciliation” process with Syrian authorities that many times results in their arrest and sometimes even their death. In its latest human rights report on

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Tunisia’s Perilous, Unresolved Transition
Oumayma Ben Abdallah
04/06/2018

Tunisia has recently witnessed the establishment of some long-awaited measures for transitional justice mainly related to the creation of specialized judicial chambers, seven years after the Tunisian revolution. However, the current political context is hostile toward the process, and recent setbacks are threatening any possibility for substantial progress in Tunisia’s transitional justice. Shortly after the Truth and Dignity Commission’s decision

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What Egypt’s FY18 Aid Package Means for Egypt-U.S. Relations
Amr Kotb
04/04/2018

U.S. President Donald Trump signed on March 23 the legislation that determines Egypt’s foreign assistance package for fiscal year 2018, marking the end to a tumultuous year in the government’s budget appropriations process. While budget discussions stalled in Congress amid partisan negotiations and two government shutdowns, Egypt observers held their breath for an appropriations bill that would clarify the United States’ position on Egypt in

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In an Election Vacuum, It’s Tough Being a Journalist
Dalia Rabie
03/28/2018

It is election week in Egypt, but an observer would not know it by the coverage of local newspapers, whose pages are not occupied with political forecasting or statements by presidential campaigns. Instead, local coverage is fixated on the festive atmosphere created by the poll, reveling in a meager voter turnout that it considers a “bullet in terrorism’s heart.” Images of patients in stretchers along with elderly and disabled persons who made

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Sisi’s Farce Is a Show of Force
Timothy E. Kaldas
03/26/2018

As polls open for what is difficult to describe sincerely as a presidential election, one must ask the question: Why would the Egyptian government and President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi put on such a farce in such an obvious manner, undermining any credibility for this vote? Most candidates have been railroaded out of the race through intimidation, detention, imprisonment, or disappearance. When no real opposition candidates were permitted, the leader

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In the Era of “Fake News,” Egypt Monitors and Silences
Mai El-Sadany
03/16/2018

In an era in which the term “fake news” has been popularized by U.S. President Donald Trump, Egypt seems to be taking cue and intensifying its own crackdown via measures, regulations, and legislation that focus on tightening the state’s control over narratives as well as marginalizing and ultimately eliminating alternative voices. Although Egyptian law has long criminalized “spreading false news,” new steps taken by authorities in recent

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The Consequences of Turkey’s Afrin Offensive
Kamal Chomani
02/23/2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan likely thought that invading the Kurdish city of Afrin in northern Syria would be as easy as Iraq’s retaking of Kirkuk in October following the Kurdish referendum. The move would boost Erdogan’s popularity domestically ahead of next year’s presidential election while countering the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a mostly Kurdish force in Syria supported by the United States that Turkey considers a

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To Prevent Violence, Kurdish Government Must Address Demands of Protesters
Kamal Chomani
01/05/2018

Major protests resumed last month in many areas of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for the first time since the Arab Spring. Demonstrators called for the dissolution of the regional cabinet, better public services, reforms, anti-corruption efforts, and the payment of public employees’ salaries on time and in full. Five protesters were killed and more than 100 wounded in clashes with security forces, while hundreds of activists, journalists, and protesters

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Needed Adjustments Unlikely in U.S. Aid to Egypt
Amr Kotb
12/22/2017

On December 21, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through January 19, 2018, avoiding a partial government shutdown set to begin at midnight the next day. As high-level budget negotiations on Capitol Hill stall over issues such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, one would assume there is still time to advocate for realistic and feasible adjustments to Egypt’s aid

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Egypt Charts Its Own Course, Regardless of Patronage
Timothy E. Kaldas
12/12/2017

As the Middle East seems ever more embroiled in the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and as world powers continue to jockey for influence, Egypt has often been portrayed in various analyses as beholden to its various supporters. This week Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Cairo and met with Sisi to work toward finalizing a $30 billion deal for Russia to build a nuclear power plant and discuss resuming flights between Cairo and Moscow.

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