The Middle East Channel

Can Egypt change?

As reports of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's declining health continue, our authors weigh in on Egypt's political future in a post-Mubarak world. Can Egypt change? Has it already changed? What are the kinds of changes it will need most in the coming years? 

Lisa Anderson takes a look at Egypt's economy, arguing it has already seen quite a bit of change.

Steven Cook argues Egypt's stagnant political institutions are its real barriers to change.

Michele Dunne traces the transformations Egypt has made in the last decade.


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The Middle East Channel

Daily News Brief -- July 23, 2010

Hezbollah members to be indicted for Hariri assassination
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that some of its members will be charged with the 2005 assassination of Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri. Nasrallah says current Lebanese PM Saad Hariri -- son of Rafik Hariri -- has told him that members who are indicted would be treated as "rogue elements" rather than representative of Hezbollah. No Syrians will be included in the indictment, despite the fact that many accused Syria of having orchestrated the assassination early on; this proves the tribunal is highly political, he said.

  • Controversial Israeli conversion bill is shelved.
  • Egyptian President Mubarak makes a TV address to calm health fears.
  • U.S. upgrades its diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority.
  • France aids Mauritanian army raid against al-Qaeda's North African wing.
  • Israel will return the impounded Gaza aid ships to Turkey.

Event notice: Join the New America Foundation Monday (8/26) at 1:00 pm EST for a discussion with Jessica Montell, Executive Director of the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem (NAF).

Daily Snapshot

Omani men stir ingredients in a large pot as they prepare the traditional 'Kabsa' dish in an attempt to set a new Guinness world record in Muscat on July 23, 2010 (Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP/Getty Images).

Arguments & Analysis
'Iraq: The Impasse' (Joost Hilterman, New York Review of Books)
As Iraq still tries to finish the task of government formation, a palpable sense of fear dominates society. In the vacuum of such uncertainty, Iraq remains of a laboratory of bloody sectarian conflict and meddlesome foreign powers, from Syria, Turkey, Iran, and the United States, all with designs of their own.

'Egyptians must join in support for equality of all religions' (Yasser Khalil, Daily Star)
Despite his wide popularity in Egypt based on his desire to seek democratic reform in in the country, Mohamed ElBaradei's openness on respecting the equality of religions in Egypt and clamoring for a separation of church has garnered significant blowback. Egyptians in all constituencies should see this as an opportunity to double down and rally behind the old lion.

'A new party of good tidings' (Avraham Burg, Haaretz)
The general paraylsis of the Israeli political system, and the continued climate of ethnic intolerance for Israel's Arab population, requires the formation of a new political party: a Jewish-Arab would carry the banner of equality and help to augment the country's claims to democracy and tolerance. 

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