The other day, military prosecutors in Egypt opened an investigation into Hossam Bahgat, founder and previous director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and a (quite effective) investigative journalist.
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Editor’s Note: The hopes for democracy in the Middle East that flourished after the Arab Spring are now gone. Hope for positive change, however, rests on many of democracy's building blocks, such as the rule of law, civil society, and a free press. These too remain under siege in many countries. Sarah Yerkes, a visiting fellow with us in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, details the troubling increase in media censorship in the Middle East and argues that such pressure is likely to backfire.
Editor's Note: The 2013 coup in Egypt did not, as the story so often goes in the West, lead to the end of the Islamist role in Egyptian politics. Rather, it led the new regime to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood but accommodate a Salafi role in politics. Indeed, throughout the Middle East the Salafis have emerged as a potent political force, represented not only by radical groups like the Islamic State but also by a range of peaceful political and social organizations.
After months in the making, Egypt's new counterterrorism law was ratified by President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi and published in the August 15, 2015 edition of the Official Gazette. The law comes in to color already-existing terrorism legislation in the Criminal Procedure Code, the Penal Code, and the Terrorist Entities law.
Release from The Islamic State's Wilayat Sinai: “Military Operations for the Month of May-June 2015"
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Editor’s Note: The United States and its allies outsource most of their counterterrorism. Allies like Egypt and Jordan and frenemies like Pakistan do much of the heavy lifting, using their armies and intelligence services to fight jihadist terrorist groups and insurgencies. Florence Gaub, a senior analyst at the EU Institute for Security Studies, argues that Arab states are dangerously bad at the political side of counterinsurgency and their military campaigns often fail or even make things worse as a result.