Posts Tagged ‘UPDATE’

Syria Update

July 19th, 2012 Comments off, Free Syrian Army claims responsibility for Damascus attack: video

Telegraph, Syria: Bashar al-Assad ‘flees to Latakia’
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Loose lips sink counter-revolutions

June 9th, 2012 Comments off

This insane public service announcement is airing on Egyptian state TV — it warns people not to discuss sensitive subjects with strangers (here the stranger is played by an Egyptian but it’s inferred he’s a foreigner). Note the sinister use of mobile phones to spread information, the taboo on discussing the army, etc.

If someone wants to translate it in the comments it’d be great for non-Arabic speaking readers (I don’t have time unfortunately). (Update: I was sent a version with subtitles, now above.)

Update: good commentary here.

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Student Rights – Challenging Extremists: Practical frameworks for our universities

May 31st, 2012 Comments off

An update on my post earlier this week about Student Rights/Henry Jackson Society’s’ "Challenging Extremists" report. The link to the report is below. I haven’t read the report yet: Rupert Sutton & Hannah Stuart, Student Rights – Challenging Extremists: Practical frameworks for our universities (pdf)
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Update on Egyptian election:

May 28th, 2012 Comments off
Categories: Modern Islam Tags: , ,

The Saudis Bail on Asad

August 8th, 2011 Comments off

 UPDATE: A roundup at Syria Comment.

Saudi Arabia has recalled its Ambassador to Syria, saying Syrian actions are unacceptable to the Kingdom. Kuwait and Bahrain have since followed the Saudi lead. This is fairly important I think, since the Kingdom supported Ben Ali and Mubarak to the bitter ends. (Libya was another story, but there is personal bad blood between Qadhafi and the King, so there was a getting-even element there.) King ‘Abdullah has personal ties with Syria, so his move is a sign the Saudis are very uncomfortable with the course of events there and possibly cutting their losses.

It may not deter Asad, of course, but it’s a pretty interesting signal.

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Could Prosecutors Call Field Marshal Tantawi in the Mubarak Trial?

August 4th, 2011 Comments off

UPDATE:  Mubarak’s defense lawyer is now talking about calling Tantawi as well, and now AFP is quoting a “security official” as saying Tantawi “most likely” would appear if the defense requests it.

The images  yesterday of Husni Mubarak in a hospital bed inside the defendant’s cage at his trial may have been far more important than whatever the trial’s ultimate verdict may be: the image of an Arab leader facing charges, not from some revolutionary kangaroo court but before a regular civilian court (though convening at the Police Academy for security reasons), charged with specific crimes under pre-existing laws. The fact that it happened at all is probably more important than the ultimate  results; given his age and illness, not everyone is out for blood. I’m certainly no expert on Arab legal systems — fortunately there’s a good piece today by Nathan Brown, who is — but one potentially explosive area is already emerging: since Mubarak is charged with killing protesters, and since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has said the Army refused to obey such orders, attorneys for the victims want to call SCAF head Field Marshal Tantawi, Chief of Staff Sami ‘Enan, former Vice President &lsxquo;Omar Suleiman,  and others to testify as to what orders were given and by whom. (And see the update above: the defense apparently wants to call him, too.)

Given Tantawi’s almost total absence from the public eye (one public speech and a lot of photos with visiting dignitaries, so far as I have seen), is it possible he would be willing to come out of his cloak of invisibility and testify in public court against the man whom he served as Defense Minister for the past decade? It seems unlikely; as this piece notes, the Army is engaged in a delicate balancing act with this trial of one of its own, trying to placate the young revolutionaries while holding on to its own prerogatives.

The judges, of course, may have no intention of letting Tantawi be called as a witness. But I suspect the Catch-22 here is going to be the fact that, if I read that Ahram Online story correctly, apparently when a civilian court calls a serving military officer, a military judge must approve the request. And unless the Field Marshal is eager for a day in court (which he’s shown little sign of being), I don’t think a military judge is likely to allow the subpoena (or whatever procedural mechanism  the Egyptian justice system uses).

But this highly public trial could see some interesting arguments in the meantime.

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No Answers on the Younis Assassination

July 30th, 2011 Comments off

 UPDATE: A report claiming that Younjs was killed while in custody, citing “a witness.”
I suggested yesterday that perhaps the questions surrounding the assassination of &Abdel-Fattah Younis might become clearer with time. It’s clear that one day is not enough time. The BBC ponders the questions; as does this column by John Simpson, also at the BBC; as does this piece at Al Jazeera English.

 It seems no one even knows where this assassination occurred exactly.

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The Arabist Podcast #8: What’s up in Sohag?

July 22nd, 2011 Comments off

In this week’s podcast, we give an update on the Tahrir Square sit-in, wonder if the never-ending cabinet shuffle will ever happen, talk about the politics in Upper Egypt with our guest Steve Negus, remember the movies that defined the late Mubarak era, and review the new Arabic comic Tok-Tok.

Sorry for the exclusive focus on Egypt lately — we want to talk about things we can bring added value to, and these days we’re pretty Egypt focused. Please do let us know what you think at

We’ll be taking a break for the next few weeks, so both blog posting and podcasting will be light. But we should be back up to speed in mid-August.

Links for this episode: 

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The Mummy Walks?

July 21st, 2011 Comments off

UPDATE: More background here. The Supreme Council of Antiquities rejected the proposed successor, but don’t want Hawass either. In fact, they want to get rid of the Ministerial position and return to it being under a scholarly body (themselves). (And Hawass hasn’t posted to his website since July 14.)

A publication called The Art Newspaper is reporting that Zahi Hawass has returned to his office because the nomination of his successor was withdrawn.  He’s still presumably on the way out, but has a reprieve if this report, which quotes  Hawass himself, is to be believed. The man appears to have more lives than a cat.

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Egypt Elections Moved Back?

July 14th, 2011 Comments off

UPDATE: There still aren’t many details, so perhaps we should treat this report with some caution.

An unnamed military official has told the official MENA news agency that elections scheduled for September will be postponed till October or November.

Not many details yet, but only two months out from the theoretical elections there was as yet no agreement on the electoral system (the old constituency system, a proportional representation system, or a mixed system the Cabinet favors but the Military Council has not endorsed).

Whether you’re on the “Constitution first” or an “Elections first” supporter, this seems like common sense. Very little had been done to prepare for a vote in September.

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