Various items pertaining mostly to Egypt

There haven't been many posts lately because I am quite busy on a project at the moment, and I am spending a lot of time chasing people on the phone and in meetings. There is tons of stuff I'd like to post about but don't have the time -- such as the recent controversial (and problematic) Seymour Hersh article, Egyptian political news such as constitutional "reform" and the ever-growing number of strikes (covered so well by Hossam), developments within the Muslim Brotherhood (see the interviews on Helena Cobban's blog). So here are a few quick links, mostly on Egypt:

- How Barack Obama learned to love Israel by Ali Abunimah, Obama's groveling AIPAC speech is here.

- Arabs reiterate 2002 initiative, Israel says no to return of Palestinian refugees.

- Egypt in diplomatic row over alleged execution of Egyptian war prisoners by Israeli forces in 1967.

- Lebanese journalist Serena Assir has a blog, Freespace Beirut.

- Marc Lynch has a Guardian piece on the Brotherhood of the blog.

- Lawrence Pintak follows up on the US/Egypt tiff over the Iraqi insurgent channel Zawraa.

- Maria Golia on The subsistence math of Egypt's neglected workers.

- Last but certainly not least, Baheyya on the perils of the succession, hammering the point that I've been telling anyone who'll listen about the fundamental uncertainty and risk of the Gamal scenario. As is increasingly argued, there is an analogy to be made with the crisis of 1951-52 -- most notably the Cairo fire -- and a growing risk of political violence (both spontaneous and calculated) in the next few years. Some even hope for it, thinking it will be the last straw that forces army intervention. I find this line of reasoning among some radical activists, but the other night at a dinner I heard a wealthy, well-connected, pro-regime, prominent society woman say "This country is on the brink of a crisis. The army has to intervene. We won't democracy, but we'll have order." Like Baheyya, I don't think we're about to see the Mubarak regime collapse but the degree of uncertainty has grown tremendously. I am also concerned about the long-term impact of the exclusion of the Brothers from political participation and the ongoing rape of the constitution. But more about that later.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.