Links 24 January 2011

  • Is Morocco so different from Tunisia? In many respects, yes. But even more than poverty and hardship, one thing that's similar is high-level corruption, especially in palace circles, and lack of rule of law for the royal family and other well-connected people.
  • On how children are categorized by religion in Egyptian schools.
  • Amjad Atallah, on the US being part of the problem: "the documents kill, with great gusto, the myth created by President Bill Clinton that the Palestinians were not a partner at Camp David and that Palestinians were to blame for the lack of a two state deal. I knew this of course from being there, but apparently ten years of documents showing Palestinian concessions that would be shocking to the Palestinian public mean that you would have to be ideologically committed to ignoring reality to still think the Palestinians were the problem. I don't know what the ramifications of this will be in the United States or Europe, but if there is no impact on western policy it will confirm that a United States deferential only to Israel and a Europe deferential only to the United States cannot be part of the solution."
  • Interesting story, but it omits the role the US government played in pressuring Tunisia on Facebook and Twitter - the phishing attack notably was used, with US Embassy Tunis acting to defend the interest of American companies. I think the US govt role in this whole thing is greater than we know right now.
  • An impressive breakdown of who was twittering what - and y friend Ibn Kafka makes it into the top 10 Twitterers on Tunisia.
  • A major test of opposition resolve: "Demonstrators are calling for the sacking of the country's interior minister, the cancelling of Egypt's perpetual emergency law, which suspends basic civil liberties, and a new term limit on the presidency that would bring to an end the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak, one of the Middle East's most entrenched dictators. State security officials have branded the protests illegal, and said that those taking part will be dealt with "strictly". "I'm answering a call that began online, a call to stand up against police brutality on the day the regime wants us to celebrate their so-called achievements," said Salma Said, a 25-year-old activist and blogger who plans to protest in Cairo."
  • Tony Karon says the peace process was already dead, JazeeraLeaks is simply the post-mortem.

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,