This article appeared on Lakome.com on 12 September and there is some speculation in Morocco that it was the spark that led to the arrest of journalist and editor Ali Anouzla five days later. Accusing Saudi Arabia of being the central force ruining the “Arab awakening” that begin in Tunisia in 2010, it was an argument rarely stated in so forthright a manner in Arab media – a reflection of the power and manipulation of Saudi Arabia in Arab media and politics. Anouzla’s web newspaper project had been infuriating the Moroccan authorities for some time – not least for its strong coverage of King Mohammed’s pardon of a Spaniard convicted of paedophilia. Prosecutors say it was the posting of an al-Qa’ida video that explains the move against Anouzla now, but few are taking that seriously. He is being held in Morocco’s worst prison, Sale near Rabat, where suspected militants are held – one indication of the government’s determination to make Anouzla pay. Just in case the Saudi article disappears completely from the Lakome website, here is the Arabic below. Continue reading Ali Anouzla’s Saudi Article – The Last Straw?
Speaking in Doha during a special retrospective of his films last week, celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami talked a little bit about his work. He prefers not to say much by way of interpretation of his work, leaving it to the individual viewer to come to his own conclusions, but he was coaxed to say some words about his first ‘breakthrough’ film, Where Is The Friend’s House? from 1987. Continue reading Iranian Director Kiarostami Discusses His Work in Doha
One of the key themes the coup regime has developed in Egypt against its Islamist opponents is a rehashed version of the chauvinistic nationalism of the Mubarak regime. This involved an ‘Egypt First-ism’ vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict that gave a veneer of respectability for security paranioa over Palestinians that verged on racial hatred. The redux of this fascistic nationalism has anti-Syrian racism thrown in for extra. This nationalism emerged specifically in an Arab nationalist context, as a response to the Nasserist years with its failures. It was traditionally challenged by leftists and Arab nationalists, and lately among the youth activists behind the Jan 25 uprising. Continue reading ‘Egypt First-ism’ turns its guns on Islamists
If there is any lesson to be drawn from the movement of uprisings unleashed in December 2010 it is that nothing is predictable. The Brotherhood is in a bad way, but neither it nor “political Islam” are spent forces (whether it’s in analysts’ and academics’ interests or not); Sisi and the military who continue to form the backbone of the Egyptian republic have won for now, but his continued domination is hardly set in stone. When Mubarak stepped down, the army behaved as saviours and guardians of the people’s will, but some six months later revolutionaries were insulting them on the streets and things just went downhill from there. Continue reading Egypt: Sisi’s Staying Power and Revolution, Regime-Style