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Egypt’s Sisi Is Getting Pretty Good…at Being a Dictator

TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis writes that Egyptian president al-Sisi is on the verge of acting like a dictator given his recent actions. The recent terrorist attacks and broken economy have left al-Sisi grasping for ways to assert and maintain his power, which has resulted in some heavy-handed tactics.

Today’s governing agenda in Egypt centers around three things: a crackdown on “terror” and dissent, maintaining a steady flow of cash from the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf, and modest economic reforms that at a minimum give the impression of vision and positive momentum.

Read the full version of Cambanis's article.

Tags: terrorism, egyptian uprisings, al-sisi

Lebanon’s ‘Democracy of the Gun’

Ain el Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp located in Lebanon, has long been plagued by deadly feuds between rival factions inside. For the first time, however, these groups—once bitter rivals—have been experiencing a rare moment of unity in recent months. TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis describes why the shared threat of the Islamic State has brought about newfound cooperation inside the camp.

It was the Islamic State’s infiltration of the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk in Damascus that motivated the dithering Palestinian factions to unite last summer. At the time, the already unraveling region was experiencing extra strain: The Islamic State had seized much of northern Iraq and declared a caliphate, and had seized control of some entrances to Yarmouk and assassinated Palestinian operatives, according to Baraka. Senior officials from Fatah, Hamas, and the Lebanese government quickly agreed that if the Islamic State could win followers in Yarmouk, it could easily do the same in Lebanese camps.

See Cambanis's full report in FP.

Tags: refugees, palestinian, lebanon, islamic state of iraq and syria

Remember Gaza?

Could Gaza be creeping toward another explosion like that seen during last summer's Operation Protective Edge? TCF senior fellow Michael Wahid Hanna weighs in on tensions in the region, specifically in terms of Saudia Arabia's involvement in the area's politics.

“We don’t really know what the bottom line is with the Saudi policy. I don’t think they know,” said Michael Wahid Hanna, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. “The Emiratis are aware, but not sure how far it goes. It’s hard for me to imagine that the Saudis are really going to play hardball on the Brotherhood’s behalf.”

Read more at Tablet Magazine.

Can Posters and Statues Incite Violence?

After months of negotiations, Lebanon's most powerful Sunni and Shia warlords have agreed on only one major concession: taking down large posters in the region. TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis explains why this seemingly small compromise is actually a big step forward.

The ubiquitous images of martyrs, religious leaders, and warlords, the slogans about death, sacrifice, and religions painted on walls and banners, both sides agreed, posed a genuine risk. Taking down some of the most intense signs of sectarian propaganda isn’t as big a step as disarming a militia, but in Lebanon’s ongoing experiment with religious and communal tension, this spring’s accord over visual propaganda marks an important test.

See Cambanis's full report on the issue in the Boston Globe.

Tags: lebanon, islamists, hezbollah, boston globe

Foreign Affairs Reviews Once Upon A Revolution: An Egyptian Story

The latest review of TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis's book, Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story has been published in the May/June 2015 issue of Foreign Affairs.

Cambanis’ analysis is sharp, and he does not hold back when it comes to graphically depicting the Egyptian state’s violence against its own people, be they Coptic Christians or Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Read the review here.

Tags: once upon a revolution, foreign affairs, book review

Egyptians Question President’s Decision to Go to War in Yemen

In Egypt, a public debate is growing regarding whether or not the country should go to war in Yemen in an attempt to combat Houthi rebels in the region. TCF senior fellow Michael Hanna commented on the Yemen debate and how a decision to go to war could leave the Egyptian government with a dissatisfied public.

“This is the kind of situation where they [the state] could face very real public disgruntlement and dissent. There are very few issues that could produce that kind of reaction. This seems like one,” said Hanna. “There has been an interesting level of questioning. That hasn’t been the case in the past year and a half.”

Read more on the discussion surrounding Egypt's involvement in Yemen at TIME.

Tags: time magazine, saudi arabia, egyptian government, conflict, abdul-fattah el-sisi


Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy

In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.

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