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A Fine Journalist Vanishes Into Egypt’s Gulag

There are not many Egyptian journalists like Ismail Alexandrani. A sociologist by training, he was always drawn as a writer and journalist to those who are marginalized in the excitable hurly burly of Egypt’s press and popular culture: Nubians, disabled people, the Sinai Bedouins. This week, his expertise and erudition have dealt him a grim fate: he has been arrested and is being held incognito on improbable charges of supporting terrorism.

Forced to live abroad since last year, Alexandrani tried to slip into Egypt under the radar this week to visit his ailing mother.

The Murder Factories of Egypt

Egypt has filled its prisons with some 40,000 people since the 2013 coup, the vast majority of them young activists of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood subjected to torture and mistreatment. And so once again the country is turning out a new generation of violent radicals. In this illuminating history of the links between the country’s prisons and violent extremism, the complex history of the Sinai based ISIS affiliate that weeks ago blew up an airliner full of Russian tourists, murdering more than 200 people:

The present wave of arrests and mistreatment of detainees in today’s Egypt is nothing new for the country’s Islamists.

Tunisia: Do Not Murder Our Democracy

Tunisia, cradle of the Arab Spring, is in deep trouble: a series of shocking political assassinations of important figures of the leftist opposition, a violent salafi movement opposed to the conservative Islamist government, plunging public support for the institutions of the state. In nearby Egypt, military officers and the old civilian elite have just seized back power via canny manipulation of public opinion and savage violence, though they appear to be leading the country toward civil war. Here, a pair of Tunisian intellectuals call for a national effort to save Tunisia’s embryonic democracy before it tears itself apart.

It has been six months since the assassination of Chokri Belaid.

Egypt: The Algeria Scenario

The nightmare scenario following Egypt’s military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood government is a descent into a civil war bloodbath like the one that inundated Algeria for a decade after that country’s 1992 military coup. There are both parallels and contrasts to what happened in Algeria, writes Yassine Temlali, but the decisive turning points may be yet to come.

There is frequent talk of "a repeat of the Algeria scenario" in Egypt now.

Coalition of the Oblivious

Tuareg woman in Northern Mali, 2006. Photo CC.

Prominent French academic Olivier Roy suggests that the invasion of Mali was launched with nebulous goals and a poor understanding of the conflict’s roots.

Officially, France's war goals in Mali are to fight "Islamic terrorism" and to restore the country's territorial integrity. It is difficult to understand the connection between the two goals. Is Mali's territorial integrity threatened by "Islamic terrorism"?