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Analysis and Comment (42)

The judicial and political options in Egypt for appealing Peter Greste’s jail sentence do not appear to give much hope to his supporters. The judicial and political options in Egypt for appealing Peter Greste’s jail sentence do not appear to give much hope to his supporters. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Can international law help to free Peter Greste?

The guilty verdict and jail sentence handed to Australian journalist Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera English colleagues Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed by an Egyptian court for conspiring with the Muslim…
While Peter Greste may not have personally been guilty of any wrong-doing, he is carrying the can for wrath directed at his employer, Al Jazeera. While Peter Greste may not have personally been guilty of any wrong-doing, he is carrying the can for wrath directed at his employer, Al Jazeera. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Greste and Al Jazeera pay the price in Egyptian revolution blowback

The jail sentences handed down to Australian journalist Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera English colleagues have deeply shocked supporters in the west. While spending a few years in an Egyptian prison is…
Khalid Abdalla and Ahmed Hassan in The Square. Khalid Abdalla and Ahmed Hassan in The Square. Netflix/Noujaim Films

Cultural responses to the Arab spring are helping keep it alive

In 2011, as one popular uprising after another swept across Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and beyond, the Arab spring (more commonly referred to in Arabic as al-thawrat al-arabiyya, “the…
Overwhelming support for al-Sisi from less than half of Egypt’s voters. Overwhelming support for al-Sisi from less than half of Egypt’s voters. EPA/Mahmoud Abdel Ghany/Almasry Alyoum

Al-Sisi wins landslide victory as flawed election returns battered Egypt to military rule

As supporters of Egypt’s former military chief turned president-elect, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, took to the streets of Cairo to celebrate his overwhelming election victory, lighting fireworks in the iconic…
Egyptian supporters of al-Sisi celebrate as they vote in Jordan. Egyptian supporters of al-Sisi celebrate as they vote in Jordan. EPA/Jamal Nasrallah

Egypt prepares to hail former army chief as president – once the election is out of the way

In May 2012, Egypt’s first democratic presidential election set an important precedent in a troubled transition process. At the time, there was no constitution, no clarity on the president’s powers, no…
Tony Blair says Egypt was ‘rescued’ from extremism by military intervention. Tony Blair says Egypt was ‘rescued’ from extremism by military intervention. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Blair’s anti-Islamist crusade could play into al-Qaeda’s hands

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the strongest external support for a forceful response from the United States came from Tony Blair, the man who now again describes the struggle against…
Silencing dissent: al-Jazeera journalists in a court cage during their trial. Silencing dissent: al-Jazeera journalists in a court cage during their trial. Al-Masry al-Ayoum/EPA

Opinions are dangerous as Egypt cracks down on dissent

As I write this, 20 journalists – including several al-Jazeera reporters – are on trial in Cairo on charges of spreading disinformation and abetting terrorists. Their alleged crime includes operating without…
What’s behind Al Jazeera’s frosty relationship with the Egyptian government? What’s behind Al Jazeera’s frosty relationship with the Egyptian government? AAP/Terry Scott

Al Jazeera’s troubled history in Egypt

In 1999, then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak visited the small, dusty Al Jazeera compound in a suburb of the Qatari capital of Doha. “This matchbox! All this noise is coming out of this matchbox?” Mubarak…
Egyptian women waiting to vote in January’s constitutional referendum. Egyptian women waiting to vote in January’s constitutional referendum. Khalil Hamra/AP

Egyptian sexual harassment activists battle growing acceptance of violence

Many colleagues and friends have asked me about the surge and intensity of sexual harassment in Egypt, which has already received plenty of attention within academia and the international media. They ask…
It’s not easy undertaking archaeological work in Egypt currently – but a major new find illuminates a torrid period in Egyptian history. It’s not easy undertaking archaeological work in Egypt currently – but a major new find illuminates a torrid period in Egyptian history. Neil and Kathy Carey

What the new pharaoh tells us about ancient Egypt

Last month’s discovery in South Abydos, in Egypt – of the remains of the pharaoh, Senekbay, which date to the Second Intermediate Period (c. 1750-1550 BC) – sheds new light on a complex and divided period…
The Arab Spring marked a shift in news-gathering methods used by journalists. But how reliable was the information, and what problems did it pose for traditional journalists? The Arab Spring marked a shift in news-gathering methods used by journalists. But how reliable was the information, and what problems did it pose for traditional journalists? EPA/Julien Warnand

Arab Spring: new media, new journalism, same old tensions?

The Arab Spring protests have presented interesting examples of the complex power relations between traditional and new methods of social media reporting in times of crisis. Traditionally, global crisis…
Martin E Dempsey warns the fallout of the Arab Spring will take a long time to clear. Martin E Dempsey warns the fallout of the Arab Spring will take a long time to clear. Glenn Fawcett

Recovery from the Arab Spring will take a generation or more

At a meeting at the Wall Street Journal this week, Martin E Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the United States' ability to exercise influence in the Middle East had significantly…
‘Win or die’: Free Syrian Army rebels. ‘Win or die’: Free Syrian Army rebels. VOA

Syria peace talks will be fault line for post-US Middle East

Syrian rebels have dealt another blow to the prospects of a peace summit in Geneva in November. On Sunday, 22 of the armed groups fighting on the ground, including four of the most powerful, issued an…
Thousands are dead and tens of thousands injured after three months of devastation in Egypt. Thousands are dead and tens of thousands injured after three months of devastation in Egypt. Mohamed Azazy

Egypt needs a proper roadmap to get through this crisis

The release from prison today of Hosni Mubarak, the former strongman whose downfall in 2011 was hailed as the start of the Arab Spring in Egypt, could be the moment at which the counter-revolution has…
Morsi supporters after the savage crackdown. Morsi supporters after the savage crackdown. Wikimedia Commons

Egyptians pay for democracy in blood

The violent deaths of hundreds and the injury of thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in a few short hours yesterday is tragic. What is the more tragic is that it could have been avoided. In…
Happier times: Catherine Ashton meets Mohamed Morsi after his election as Egypt’s president. Happier times: Catherine Ashton meets Mohamed Morsi after his election as Egypt’s president. European External Action Service

Mixed messages from the EU won’t help solve Egypt’s crisis

The stand-off in Egypt continues. A sit in by supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi has been put on notice that they will be cleared out by force if necessary. The protesters for their part have…
Morsi still commands considerable support. Morsi still commands considerable support. Jonathan Rashad

Raising the stakes on the streets of Egypt

As the world holds its breath, hundreds of thousands - maybe millions - of protestors will take to the streets of Egypt’s big cities today in what has been widely billed in the international media as a…
Intimidated: many women feel they have been targeted to drive them out of the political arena. Intimidated: many women feel they have been targeted to drive them out of the political arena. Lorenz Khazaleh via Creative Commons

Sexual violence aims to drive women out of Egyptian politics

Violence against female protesters was a terrifying hallmark of the unrest that led to the fall of the Morsi government. Local NGOs documented more than 100 reports of sexual violence, including rape…
‘One hand’: Once again it is the military which is calling the shots in Egypt. ‘One hand’: Once again it is the military which is calling the shots in Egypt. Zeinab Mohamed via Creative Commons

No change without trauma in Middle East’s political logjam

In the past four weeks, a major political earthquake seems to have hit the Middle East, where three key regional constituencies: Iran, Qatar and Egypt, experienced more or less unexpected changes of leadership…
In control: army tanks outside the Ministry of Defence, Cairo, June 2012. In control: army tanks outside the Ministry of Defence, Cairo, June 2012. iPolitics via Creative Commons

‘One hand’, many heads: the role of the army in Egypt

In the wake of the shooting of at least 51 supporters of former president Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is calling for a popular uprising against the generals that…
Some Egyptians protest, some just hope for a better life. Some Egyptians protest, some just hope for a better life. TiTaN Jad

Egyptians soldier on as Cairo wakes to a post-coup world

When I took a walk past Cairo University this morning, the tanks were still there, while the Islamist camp were continuing their sit-in, though with strongly reduced numbers. At around 5.30pm the night…
Gathering storm: today’s well-equipped rebel carries an iPad. Gathering storm: today’s well-equipped rebel carries an iPad. Mohamed Azazy/Flickr

Egypt uprising: much more than just a ‘Twitter revolt’

These days all you need to be a revolutionary is a mobile phone and a grievance. Some see what is happening on the streets of Cairo as the ultimate expression of democracy - millions of people using social…
Supporters of president-elect Mohammed Morsi celebrate his victory in Tahrir Square. Supporters of president-elect Mohammed Morsi celebrate his victory in Tahrir Square. EPA/Andre Pain

Egypt’s challenge: will Morsi deliver bread, freedom and social justice?

For the first time perhaps in all of Egyptian history, its citizens have chosen their own leader. The election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammad Morsi as the president of Egypt is a major historical…
Mubarak’s demise may not mean the end of his regime for Egypt. Mubarak’s demise may not mean the end of his regime for Egypt. EPA

Farewell Mubarak? Death, power and politics in Egypt

Symbols are important, but often deceiving. This is certainly the case of Hosni Mubarak, whose inexorable decline acted as a metronome for the Egyptian political crisis. In early 2011, Mubarak’s political…
Muslim democrat Mohammed Morsi with protesters following the Mubarak verdict last weekend. Muslim democrat Mohammed Morsi with protesters following the Mubarak verdict last weekend. EPA

The irresistible rise of Muslim democrats in the Middle East

Whatever the outcome of the Egyptian presidential runoff scheduled for 16-17 June, Middle Eastern electoral politics are now conforming to a remarkable rule. When elections are held in a free and fair…
The field is varied and the stakes are high in Egypt’s upcoming presidential election. The field is varied and the stakes are high in Egypt’s upcoming presidential election. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Sheikhs and generals face off in a battle for Egypt’s soul

In the face of the largest mobilisation Egypt has ever witnessed, President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 12, 2011. Facing an unlikely coalition of disaffected youth, labour workers, Islamists…
Egypt takes its first steps towards democracy but it’s not in the way many were hoping for. Egypt takes its first steps towards democracy but it’s not in the way many were hoping for. EPA/Amel Pain

The rise of Islamist parties in Egypt’s elections

After the overthrowing of dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has had its first round of parliamentary elections, with two parties dominating the vote – the moderate Muslim Brotherhood and the religious conservative…
Protestor in Cairo’s Tahrir Square behind a flaming barricade. Protestor in Cairo’s Tahrir Square behind a flaming barricade. AAP/Mohamed Omar

Egypt: the Arab Spring 2.0

Recent days have seen a return to Cairo’s Tahrir Square by thousands of Egyptians concerned by what they see as a delay by the ruling military council in implement full democracy in Egypt. With reports…
We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. Flickr/joshfassbind.com

Democracy drowned out by social media noise: bigger isn’t better online

Social media provokes some of the most voluminous and heated responses in two key areas of contemporary society – democracy and privacy. Promoting the first and threatening the second, social media is…
Coptic Christians have long been discriminated against in Egypt, but the violence against them, and the government response to it, signals concerns for democracy in the country. Coptic Christians have long been discriminated against in Egypt, but the violence against them, and the government response to it, signals concerns for democracy in the country. EPA/Mohamed Omar

Democracy in peril: Egypt’s handling of Coptic unrest

The violence in Egypt involving Coptic demonstrators, military units and unidentified thugs shocked the country and rang alarms about prospects for transition to democracy. Egypt is going through a revolution…
Barack Obama’s web campaign helped him win the presidency. Parties should learn from it. Barack Obama’s web campaign helped him win the presidency. Parties should learn from it. Flickr/Scorpions and Centaurs

Democracy.net: How to create better political engagement

The increasing spread of information and communication technology has changed just about every aspect of Australian society – except democracy. The opportunities to engage citizens in the democratic process…
Is it time for the world’s dictators to “friend” online communications? (Headdesk) Is it time for the world’s dictators to “friend” online communications? (Headdesk) AAP

Dictatorship 101: killing the internet plays into the hands of revolutionaries

In the euphoria following the downfall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, Wael Ghonim, the so-called “hero” of the revolution proclaimed: “Technology played a great role here. You know, it helped keeping…
Revolutions encourage people to see the world through different eyes. Revolutions encourage people to see the world through different eyes. AFP/STR

The Arab World: a new model for civilised revolution

The lives of millions of people in the Arab-speaking world are changing. Often for the first time, women and men have jumped, danced, kissed strangers and sung in the streets. There is talk of dignity…
Facebook is a key tool for the modern revolutionary. Facebook is a key tool for the modern revolutionary. AAP

Facebook is the new superpower

Facebook, with more than 500 million members, has now reached superpower status. If Facebook were a country, its supporters often say, its population would rank behind only China and India. But there is…
The works of a great writer precipitated the astonishing events in Egypt in February. The works of a great writer precipitated the astonishing events in Egypt in February. EPA/Misam Saleh

Forget Twitter and Facebook, literature provides the revolutionary spark

We are living in extraordinary times. People are using social media to campaign for freedom from their governments, but their ideas are built on a much more powerful medium: literature. Protests have swept…
Protests have swept the Middle East in recent weeks. Protests have swept the Middle East in recent weeks. AAP

The Middle East revolutions: myths, realities and uncertainties

The protests that have swept the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt from power, and brought much of the region to a halt as massive crowds take to the streets to demand political change, have been spectacular…

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