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Egypt Removes Police Boss Who Helped Quell Islamist Protests

Egypt has replaced the interior minister who worked to quell Islamists protests after the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi. The move comes a week before a conference with the goal of boosting the Egyptian economy is scheduled to be held. TCF senior fellow Michael Hanna commented on the decision, calling it an attempt by the Egyptian government to exercise "damage control."

The cabinet changes are “an exercise in damage control,” said Michael Hanna, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a New York-based research center.

Under Ibrahim, “the indiscriminate use of police force and arbitrary arrests created unnecessary controversy and headaches for the presidency,” Hanna said by phone. The overhaul “shows the government is willing to take steps to burnish its image before the conference, but we shouldn’t assume this is indicative of a broader course correction.”

Read more on this story in Bloomberg Business.

Tags: police, mohamed morsi, michael wahid hanna, islamists, egyptian protests, cairo, bloomberg

Ten What’s With…Thanassis Cambanis

The Council on Foreign Relations recently interviewed TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis and asked him 10 questions about his career, his thoughts on U.S. national threats, and his most recent book, Once Upon a Revolution.

Why should we read Once Upon a Revolution if we already know how Egypt’s uprising turned out?

It’s not a thriller! But, in a way, it is a mystery; the Tahrir Square revolution really was not supposed to happen, and even its most faithful partisans were shocked by how far they got. I followed a core group of revolutionary activists for four years; they were exceptional because they were the visionaries who, from the start, understood their quest was political and were not afraid to act as leaders even in an uprising that fetishized the idea of having no leaders. “Revolution” sounds grand and sweeping, but like any historical event, it occurred down in the weeds, in the details.

Read the full conversation here.  

Tags: thanassis cambanis, once upon a revolution, egyptian revolution, boston globe

Public Order and Egypt’s Statist Tradition

Recent events in Egypt have revealed an increasingly warped sense of priorities and national hysteria within the country regarding nonconformist behaviors, which have been deemed threats to national stability. TCF senior fellow Michael Wahid Hanna has published a new piece on public order in Egypt and the rhetoric of statism that has exploded in the country during its recent period of political instability.

While Egyptian statism has been further emboldened and rejuvenated in the aftermath of the July 2013 military-led outster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, the statist pursuit of public order is not a new phenomenon. The content of that statist vision has evolved over time and has become further Islamized along with Egyptian society, but a priority on public order and a chronic disregard for a wide variety of individual rights are persistent Egyptian themes.

See Hanna's article in the most recent issue of Faith & International Affairs.

Tags: muslim brotherhood, morsi, mohamed morsi, michael wahid hanna, egyptian government

RT: Forever War

TCF fellow Stephen Schlesinger joined RT's CrossTalking to share his thoughts on a possible U.S. military response to ISIS in the Middle East.

I think the problem is that if we really want to get control over foreign policy in regards to the war in the Middle East, we really have to repeal our resolution of 2001. I think one of the real problems is that the presidency is such that Congress is unwilling to counter the president in his powers as far as foreign policy is concerned. Therefore, they don't really want to take a position on a lot of these issues, so they'd rather punt the issue and allow the president to do pretty much as he wishes, and I think that's a very dangerous situation for this country.

Watch the full segment below.

Tags: obama, military, middle east, isis, congress

A Daring Plan to Rebuild Syria — No Matter Who Wins the War

Years of fighting have left Syria's largest city and economic center, Aleppo, in shambles. TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis discusses conversations that are currently underway in Beirut on how the ancient city is to be rebuilt after the turmoil currently racking its devastated streets has subsided.

Underlying the details—mapping destroyed blocks, surveying the condition of the citadel, studying sewers—are bigger philosophical questions. How can a destroyed city be rebuilt, when the combination of people, economy, and buildings can never be reconstituted? Can you use reconstruction to undo the human damage of sectarianism and conflict? Recently a panel of architects and heritage experts from Sweden, Bosnia, Syria, and Lebanon convened in Beirut to discuss lessons for Syria’s reconstruction—one of the many distinct initiatives parallel to the Future of Syria project.

“You should never rebuild the way it was,” said Arna Mackic, an architect from Mostar. That Bosnian city was divided during the 1990s civil war into Muslim and Catholic sides, destroying the city center and the famous Stari Most bridge over the Neretva River. “The war changes us. You should show that in rebuilding.”

Read more on the discussions surrounding Aleppo's reconstruction in The Boston Globe.

Tags: syrian war, syria, middle east, arab world

Libya’s New Agony

With Libya plagued by internal conflict between two rival governments and jihadist extremism, countries in the area are searching for ways to combat jihadists in the region. TCF fellow Michael Wahid Hanna provided commentary on why military responses to the turmoil in Libya must be measured.

“Unsophisticated, heavy-handed and un-nuanced responses could exacerbate the problem,” says Michael Wahid Hanna of The Century Foundation, a think-tank in New York.

Read more on Libya in The Economist.

Tags: middle east, libya, jihadists


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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