Prospects for Democratization in the Arab World in Light of the Exclusion of Political Islam

May 01

The latest issue of al-Ruwaq al-`Arabi, a journal published by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, is dedicated to the question of the future of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The entire issue (in Arabic) can be downloaded as a pdf from here.

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Comparing the June 30 Protest Law with the Morsi Government’s Proposed Demonstration Law

Nov 25

Here is a link to a memo providing a detailed, article by article comparison between the law promulgated by the June 30 government and that proposed by the Morsi government.

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Egypt’s New Protest Law

Nov 25

The “revolutionary” government — headed by the interim President, Adly Mansur, previously president of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, otherwise known as a bastion for liberal and democratic values — has passed a new law titled “Organization of the Right to Public Meetings, Marches and Peaceful Demonstrations.” Here is a link to the official version as published in the Egyptian Gazette.

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Egypt and Turkey: the View from the Equity Markets

Oct 18

Some Egyptians seem to think that the Erdogan’s government opposition to the July coup against Morsi is rooted in a fear that the Egpytian anti-MB revolution/coup represented an “existential  threat” to the Turkish government.  This seems far-fetched, at least in light of the substantial achievements of the Erdogan government since it came to power a decade ago.  Moreover, its success is reflected in the equity markets of each nation: Turkey has massively outperformed Egypt as well as a broad index of emerging equity markets (EEM) over the last five years, as this graph shows (TUR is the red line; EGPT is the green line; EEM is the blue line):


Screenshot 2013-10-18 14.57.58



Markets, of course, are not always right, but they represent relatively educated guesses about the future; moreover, to a large extent, they also shape future expectations: a track record of market profits itself produces optimism that increases investments, and in turn, reinforces a cycle of positive growth.  On the other hand, consistent losses discourage future investment, and thus risks producing the very same pessimistic outcome that the market is forecasting.

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Lipset’s Law, Egypt and Democratic Transition

Mar 28

One of the most basic reasons why my judgment on events in Egypt during its post-Mubarak transition differs from that of others is my relative pessimism on what can be achieved in the short-term, other than simply securing the foundations for formal democracy.  Based on that starting point, I have given President Morsi wide leeway, because it seems to me that what he has been attempting to do is no more than establish the foundations for a formal democratic regime, one that no doubt will be greatly troubled and flawed, and will certainly fall short of the aspirations of many “revolutionaries,” particularly the youthful vanguard.

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Morsi’s First Six Months — An Appraisal (Part I)

Jan 28

I have just published a post on the first six months of Morsi’s administration, at the valuable blog,, on the invitation of its founder, Farah Halime.  This is part I of the essay. Part II, inshallah, will appear next week.

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Dostour Party, Ottawa Chapter Roundtable on the Egyptian Constitutional Crisis, Dec. 8, 2012

Dec 13

On December 8, 2012, the Ottawa Chapter of the Egyptian Dostour (Constitution) Party organized a roundtable at Carleton University.  Paul Sedra, May Telmessany, and I were the featured speakers, followed by a robust discussion with the public.  Links to the event are below:

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6

Many thanks to the event’s organizers, Ahmed Doha, Mina Riad and Reem el Sharif, for the excellent work they did in putting this event together.

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“We the People of Egypt. . .”

Nov 29

The preamble to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

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Playing a Losing Game of Chicken in Egypt

Nov 23

The problem in Egypt is that there is a giant ultimatum game going on, with the opposition threatening to deny the legitimacy of the constitution by walking out and convincing the SCC to invalidate the CA; well, it turns out that Morsi knows how to deploy a tit-for-tat strategy in the context of an ultimatum game, and people are surprised.  Hmm. 

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Criticism of the Proposed IMF Loan to Egypt, reprise

Nov 12

Civil society groups in Egypt have released a letter addressed simultaneously to Hisham Qindil, Egypt’s prime minister, and Christina La Garde, executive director of the International Monetary Fund (the “IMF”), expressing their opposition to the proposed loan.  

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