Alaa Al-Aswany is Egypt’s preeminent novelist. His 2002 best-seller The Yacoubian Building highlighted the political corruption, moral duplicity, and economic inequality of contemporary Egypt, and established him as one of the most influential critics of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
A leading voice of restraint is starting to worry about Iran
"I supported [Netanyahu and Barak] on the notion that if we come to the fork in the road [on Iran], where we have to choose between very tough alternatives—the ‘bomb’ or the ‘bombing’—I’m with the prime minister, for the bombing,” former Israeli defense-intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told me on a recent evening on the porch of his home in the small town of Carmay Yosef. It was a bold statement coming from a man who in 2010 reportedly helped persuade Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak not to strike Iran.
Forty years ago this month, at the end of the Yom Kippur War, Israel found itself in a precarious position, confronting increasing Arab strength and hostilities from countries from afar. Having pressed into Egypt, the Israeli Army camped out on the banks of the Suez Canal, uncertain of their fate.
Egyptians marked the fortieth anniversary of their army's putative triumph over Israel by bloodying one another in Tahrir Square. Syrians, too, commemorated the date with internecine violence. Only in Israel were chests, rather than heads, beaten in collective remembrance. The contrast illustrated the curious ways history can be marshaled, forgotten, and mourned. Memory indeed serves, but ever-changing masters.
This piece originally appeared on newstatesman.com.
These charts should give pause to any dictator considering an Internet blackout
The Syrian city of Aleppo briefly regained access to the Internet yesterday, ending an information blackout that lasted well over a month. As of this afternoon, though, it looks like the city is back offline. During the brief window of access, people on the ground issued celebratory tweets even as fighting continues in the city, one of the main battlegrounds of Syria's civil war.
In a certain sense, the Obama administration’s decision to withhold much of the $1.3 billion in annual aid given to Egypt isn’t surprising. U.S. law mandates cutting off aid to countries in which a coup has taken place, and the Egyptian military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi this summer was, analytically speaking, exactly that.
What I learned at Beijing Design Week 2013
What one American writer learned at Beijing Design Week 2013
Because we haven't spent enough time plumbing the depths of the psyche of Vladimir Putin this month, he offers us more diagnostic fodder. Speaking at the international conference at Valdai, Russia—which, if we're honest, is just a glorified session of reading the magic eight ball that is Putin—he let us know some things.
A vote by Congress to reject the resolution sought by President Barack Obama to authorize military force in Syria will add to the long list of unintended consequences already produced by bad policy choices on Syria.