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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani runs www.arabist.net, a blog on Arab politics and culture.

Is there a Libya?

Issandr El Amrani, 28 April 2011

At the time of writing, there is a stalemate in Libya. Towns such as Misurata and al-Baida, waypoints between Cyrenaica in the east and Tripolitania in the west, have been alternately in rebel and loyalist hands. The international community rushed to the rebels’ support, then discovered that they were less militarily proficient than it thought, with the result that the Gaddafi regime...

Why Tunis, Why Cairo?

Issandr El Amrani, 17 February 2011

The significance of Tunisia’s revolution was to demonstrate that change is possible in the Arab world; it was a spark that found ready kindling in Egypt and elsewhere. The import of the events in Egypt is different: the legitimacy of military-backed Arab republican regimes in place since the 1950s and 1960s has evaporated, but they too are learning from the Tunisian example and will stop at nothing to maintain their position. The question now is no longer whether Mubarak will survive as Egypt’s president, but whether the regime he represented – his generation of military officers were the immediate successors of the men who had participated in the coup that overthrew the monarchy – will be able to continue.

From The Blog
2 February 2012

Port Said, the city at the northern entrance of the Suez Canal, has seen its share of pain. In 1956 it was the centre of Egyptian resistance to the Tri-Partite Aggression. Egypt's defeat by Israel in 1967 turned it into a war zone and shut down the canal, its main source of income; the city was evacuated. Even after the 1973 war restored some Egyptian pride, and Anwar Sadat gave the city duty-free status as a reward for its sacrifices, Port Said never really regained its old cosmopolitanism. After an alleged assassination attempt against Hosni Mubarak in 1999 – many people believe the ‘assassin’, who was shot dead by security forces, was carrying a letter for the president, not a weapon – some of the fiscal privileges were withdrawn. After the violence at Port Said's football stadium last night, in which at least 74 people were killed and more than 1000 wounded, it isn’t surprising to see so many Egyptians not only decry the lack of adequate policing at the stadium, but accuse the police and the military of having manufactured the whole thing.

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