Laura Dean's Cairo Diary

By Benjamin Wittes
Sunday, June 30, 2013, 7:52 PM

This is an experiment---one that pushes the boundaries of what Lawfare is all about: We seem to have a correspondent in Cairo.

For those readers who haven't noticed, Egypt is exploding once again. I'm not going to pretend this is a national security legal issue. It's not. It's deeper than that. What's going on across the Arab Middle East right now is one of those tectonic plate shifts to which the American national security apparatus---including its legal apparatus---will be responding for years. We happen to have someone in the middle of it all, so I thought I would ask her to guest blog.

Laura Dean has written a few guest posts before---and she sent me some thoughts this evening which struck me as more of diary entry than a stand-alone piece. We decided to run with that.

Laura is a freelance writer in Egypt, a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer who has recently served as an election monitor in Egypt and Libya. She also grew up in Bahrain and is a keen observer of the region. She is not a national security lawyer, or any kind of a lawyer. And she won't be writing about the law. She'll be writing, rather, about what she sees and hears and what she thinks about what she's seeing and hearing. Her first post is up this evening. Here's a taste:

It’s almost midnight here in Cairo, and Tahrir Square is full—again—as are the streets outside the presidential palace and a place called Rabaa el Adaweyah Square. The latter is full of Muslim Brotherhood protesters while the other two places are crowded with members of a broadly defined opposition. Egypt is in the middle of a rebellion. A rebellion against the president Egyptians elected a year ago. Numbers have been flying around all day but the latest figure is 14 million—14 million people across the country were in the streets calling for Mohammed Morsi to leave. That’s about one in six Egyptians.

Laura's posts will have their own page, which will function as a kind of diary. We're not sure at this stage whether it will be more of a blog or more of a diary, how often Laura will be posting or what the balance of the content will be. Depending on the answers to those questions, the material might appear on the main Lawfare feed or we might put it---like our military commission coverage---only on its own space, so that it does not flood the main feed. We're also not sure how long it will last.

As I say, it's an experiment. And I'm excited about it.