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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Why the west cannot defeat ISIS

Maged Mandour

ISIS has emerged from the wounds of the Arab world—for which the west is to a large extent responsibleand current airstrikes are pouring salt into these wounds.

Government failure to upgrade informal settlements in Egypt: a brief history

Is civil administration and planning in Egypt being run professionally according to research and analysis, or is it as ‘random’ as the housing it claims to improve?

Window on the Middle East - November 20, 2015

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. 

Cairo landscapes: a battle over history

The reworking of urban spaces embodying the collective memory of the January 25 uprising is not a novelty, but part and parcel of the state's attempt to rewrite the history of the revolution.

Normalising bloodshed: education and the dreams of the Marshall

What are the people in Egypt forcing themselves to believe in order not to deal with the harsh realities of the past four years – let alone the years before?

Update: Egypt’s Hossam Bahgat released from military intelligence

The award-winning journalist was released after being held for interrogation, sparking an outcry from local and international rights organisations.

From Mubarak to Sisi: the end of liberal autocracy

Maged Mandour

Unlike during the Mubarak era, the current regime lacks a reliable civilian ally to populate the legislative branch of the state.


Egyptian journalist under military interrogation for “harming national security”

Prominent journalist and rights activist Hossam Bahgat faces military trial in Egypt for his investigative journalism.

Red carpets for everyone? Cameron ought to tackle Sisi on human rights

We can expect the PM to talk to Egypt's president about trade and security—but what about disappearances, detentions, and stifled dissent?

Social media is still powerful in Egypt

Mina Fayek

Could social media help build another uprising soon?


Anti-colonialism, grassroots nationalism and their impacts on international relations in Egypt

How do uprisings and national discourses in Egypt shape the international relations of the country? How are we to understand the current state of Egyptian nationalism and its relationship with the Arab world post-2011?

The pillage of Egypt by Sisi and Britain Inc.

The twisted logic of this system protects the socialisation of the Egyptian economy in favour of a military clique, whilst condoning the wholesale imprisonment of its capitalists.  

Why almost nobody participated in the Egyptian parliamentary elections

Awaited for more than two years, the first round of parliamentary elections in Egypt has bluntly confirmed the widespread disillusion of many voters about the country's political system.

The fragmentation of power in the Arab world

Maged Mandour

Many Arab countries seem to have reverted to a mode of power reminiscent of a pre-modern form of politics, where coercion is the sole source of power.

Cognitive dissonance in Egypt

Mina Fayek

The Egyptian regime tries to show the world an image of respect for freedoms and rights while widely violating them.


Your fatwa does not apply here

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed Karima Bennoune as Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights. Bennoune is the author of the book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.

Egypt: pardon evokes frustration rather than celebration

Think about the thousands who are held in prison, with or without charge, with or without trials, who are not getting the exposure necessary to make their release a political win for Sisi. 

Breaking boundaries

Aliyah Tarek

The youth of Egypt are changing, but are these new attitudes temporary, or have they penetrated on a deeper level that can transform the next generation?

'Something wicked this way comes': the Arab transitions (part 1)

An excerpt from a NOREF report on the background to the current situation in the Middle East, focusing on the aftermath of the 'Arab Spring'. Part one: North Africa, Egypt and the Gulf.

Arms sales to Egypt: when rhetoric overtakes reality

It is impossible to show solidarity with the people of Egypt while arming and supporting the tyranny oppressing them, but this is the hypocrisy at the heart of western foreign policy.

Terrorist slippery slope

The UK government should look to what is happening to free expression in Egypt and Turkey before broadening terrorist laws to include those who "spread hate".

European values and the Arab world

Maged Mandour

EU politicians can promote 'European' values by stopping their support for autocratic regimes, and by starting to ask tough questions about radicalisation.

Persecution lurks for converts from Islam in Egypt

The story of Bishoy Armeya stands in stark contrast to the Egyptian regime’s public discourse on religious unity, and to the "absolute" freedom of religion guaranteed by the constitution.

Egypt's military economy

The army, now in government with international support, is increasing its economic power and is free to impose the conditions it deems suitable.

Window on the Middle East - July 28, 2015

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. 

Falling apart: a glimpse of life in Cairo

Maged Mandour

A personal account of returning to a profoundly changed city, and of worrying trends under military dictatorship.


Gaza's dark night

Palestinians want to leave. Nothing else. All Palestinians. Because there is not even drinking water anymore in Gaza. Even the Hamas guys in charge just want to leave.

Those who believe in freedom: Yara Sallam

Yara Sallam is starting the second year of her sentence in Qanater Women's prison outside Cairo. She says, "I do not feel any regret or self-defeat, the prison is not inside me." 

Whatever is happening to the Egyptians? (Part three)

A response to questions raised by Hesham Shafick and Radwa Saad's piece, 'Whatever is happening to the Egyptians - part 2'.

Seven trends dominating Egyptian media

Egypt’s media outlets are trapped in a web of biases. Seven trends have dominated the country's media landscape over the past two years.

A frightening vision: on plans to rebuild the Alexandria Lighthouse

If modern Alexandrian history is any indicator, rebuilding the lighthouse will become a symbol not of communal spirit but of excess, and a visible target of rage. 

Bleak prospects for the Muslim Brotherhood

Maged MandourThe main obstacle facing Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is arguably not physical repression, but the urgent need for self-rehabilitation.


North Sinai and Egyptian media

Early on 1 July, an Islamic State affiliate started a massive and unprecedented attack in Egypt. Once again, the media is failing to verify the information it spreads.

Moving beyond the squares: anticipating the debate

On July 3-4, the LSE will jointly host a seminar with openDemocracy on the impact of the movements in the squares from 2011 onwards. Do they contribute to the democratic renewal of our democracies and if so how? A conversation.

Middle East mix of feudal and dictatorial systems

The political future of the region is unclear, because it depends on the evolution of different political systems. What degree of secularisation/Islamism will these societies allow?

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