As a young bride, I once lived in a harem in Afghanistan. It was a nearly fatal adventure but I survived, escaped, and learned about gender and religious apartheid long before the Taliban. My firebrand American feminism was probably forged in purdah in the early 1960s. However, something called me Eastward and I have remained involved with the Islamic world.
Washington (..) is constantly on the lookout for “the right Islamist” to fall in love with.
Last month, Washington rolled out the red carpet for Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party. The “hero of Tunisian compromise and moderation” was ludicrously lionized as the living embodiment of the last real hope of the “Arab Spring”. It was unedifying and misguided, to say the least.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar. It is an unprecedented step taken by GCC states towards a member state, and an escalation that was unexpected. But it does not come completely out of the blue. The question now is, how should this rift be dealt with.
Cairo's possible purchase of advanced weapons systems from Russia could become another irritant in U.S.-Egyptian relations.
As the crisis in Ukraine enters its second week, Egyptians are contrasting Washington's support for the popular revolt that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych with U.S. criticism of last year's coup in Cairo. The prevailing sentiment -- reflected in the op-eds of Egypt's leading dailies -- is that America is inconsistent and unreliable.
It is my pleasure to let you know that my forthcoming book The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid will be in libraries on March 18, 2014. This new book, published by Palgrave-McMillan in New York, is an exclusive analysis of the evolution of the Arab Spring and its future. It also addresses other democratic revolutions, upheavals and civil wars in the Middle East, including events in Iran, Turkey, Sudan, and beyond.
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