Monday, December 24, 2012

Less than an endorsement

The transition drama continues to unfold in Egypt, and the rest of the world is watching with keen interest.  It should be. The implications are important for the region and for the broader Arab and Islamic worlds. The recent referendum on the controversial draft resolution showed close to 64 percent in favor and 36 percent against. Putting aside the serious problems that many of us have with the draft constitution, on the face of it 64 percent sounds like a respectable endorsement by the people of Egypt.But is it really?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Déjà vu

As soon as he assumed office as prime minister almost exactly twenty years ago, Rafic Hariri was made to understand the rules of the game in Lebanon. The Hafez Assad rules, that is. And the first and foremost rule was that no one can question Syrian authority in Lebanon. Also that the Lebanese government (and people) had no business interfering in such issues as: Lebanon’s national security, matters relating to Lebanon’s own army (including its geographical deployment and officer promotions), Lebanon’s policy on the Arab Israeli conflict,  the Palestinian militias in Lebanon, as well as all other security and foreign policy matters that really mattered. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

No, it is not enough!

After being mum for days following Syria’s issuance of arrest warrants against former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Deputy Okab Sakr, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati finally made a passing comment on the issue this weekend. He described the Syrian action as “completely political” and “void of any legal merit or value".

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Morsi’s Flawed Referendum

A sharply divided Egypt begins voting today on a controversial draft constitution. In principle, this important way station in the country’s democratic journey is an occasion for Egyptians to celebrate. Casting a vote in a free election or a popular referendum are clear manifestations of the democratic process. Another reason to be optimistic about Egypt is the way the Egyptian people reacted to what seemed to many as an attempt by President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party to tighten their grip on the country through the President’s constitutional declaration.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Brotherhood's Choice

Last June I commented on the Islamic Brotherhood's election victory in Egypt. The current events in Cairo bring back those very same thoughts. I am still as optimistic about Egypt's transformation as I was then. Here is an excerpt from last June's posting.

Wrong Lessons from Gaza 

The Palestinian people and the Palestinian authority deserve to celebrate the hard won recognition of their statehood by a large majority of the world, overruling a shameful and politically nonsensical negative vote by the US. This comes only weeks after the newest Gaza battle, which ended with both Hamas and the Israeli government both  claiming victory. Those claims are misplaced; and so are the lessons which the forces of "Resistance" in the region seem to be drawing from the eight-day  Israeli aerial assault and the rockets lobbed on Israeli towns.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Panel Discussion on the Future of Christians in the Middle East

(from Almoustaqbal daily in Arabic) 

 نظمت "دار سائر المشرق" يوم السبت الماضي ندوة حول كتاب "بقاء المسيحيين في الشرق خيار اسلامي" لانطوان سعد شارك فيها الوزير السابق الدكتور محمد شطح، الوزير السابق كريم بقرادوني، السفير السابق د.عبد الله بو حبيب وأدارها  الاباتي بولس نعمان في حضور حشد من المهتمين والمثقفين.