Book review: The way of strangers, Encounters with the Islamic State

With the growing appeal of ISISism in the Middle East, the importance of an effective US diplomatic focus on religious freedom, with new paradigms that take into account the gravity of the situation, is only growing. Last week I attended an important conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame that did a great job at helping take that discussion to a new level.

And on a related note, over the weekend, I finished this new book on ISIS:

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 5.08.35 PM.png

In a nutshell, should you read this book and why? 

Continue reading “Book review: The way of strangers, Encounters with the Islamic State”

My new article on the return of US pragmatism to Mid East policy

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 9.17.10 AM.png

For two core reasons: 

#1 – “Trump’s position makes Iranian adventurism throughout the Middle East far less likely. It also decreases the temptation of U.S. allies to engage in counter-productive and destabilizing unilateral military operations of their own out of a perceived need to project strength in the face of Iran.”

#2 – “by restoring alliances with traditional allies in the Middle East, Trump’s approach is far more likely to get significant contributions from them, furthering his America First agenda.”

Here’s the Link to the article.

Why Saudi/UAE views on radical Islam during the Trump era will be more influential than the Qatari narrative of the Obama years

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 9.44.43 PM.png

Given the Trump administration focus on rebuilding damaged alliances with traditional Middle Eastern allies that were neglected by President Obama, Israeli, Emirati, Saudi and Egyptian views on issues such as terrorism and whatever relationship the Muslim Brotherhood has to that, will have more influence in the US in the coming years than the Qatari narrative that had much weight during the Obama years.

On that note, this is a fascinating article that was published in Al-Hayat, a major regional newspaper, by a distinguished Saudi anthropologist. It sheds some interesting light on those perspectives mentioned above, so I decided to translate it.

Continue reading “Why Saudi/UAE views on radical Islam during the Trump era will be more influential than the Qatari narrative of the Obama years”

Can Egypt’s Muslim Establishment neutralize the anti-Establishment Jihadist narrative?

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 10.54.43 AM.png

Below I have translated a February 13th article in Alaph newspaper titled “Daesh and the Muslim Brotherhood Call Upon Their Followers to Kill the Sheikh of Al-Azhar.”

It highlights the extent to which the political violence associated with Jihadist movements everywhere in the Muslim World is best understood using this paradigm:

Establishment versus Anti-Establishment 

The basic divides as relates to  Egypt in particular:

(Group A) Establishment Islam:

Continue reading “Can Egypt’s Muslim Establishment neutralize the anti-Establishment Jihadist narrative?”