First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations.
In a conference on civil dialogue that took place a few years ago, participants discussed the possibility of conducting a serious dialogue between Islamists and secularists. I remember that, at the time and in response to an Egyptian colleague who advocated dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood in his country, we coined the term “Copts, Women and Beer” to reefer to three main issues that one needs to deal with, which are: diversity issues, gender issues and privacy issue. Continue reading
Despite the authoritarian nature of many Iranian institutions, the ruling elite have long agreed on a certain process for managing their differences. This process is still in effect today and is playing a major role in the country by allowing for a certain amount of political dynamism on the top and, therefore, for a certain amount of hope for survival, if not of the Islamic regime itself then of the country. Continue reading
A few months ago, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak faced his country’s parliament and made a rather surprising gesture. He called for the formulation and adoption of a new bill allowing for multi-candidate presidential elections to take place for the first time in the history of that country.
A few days later, Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, addressed the Syrian parliament and announced the withdrawal of his country’s troops from neighboring Lebanon and promised that the Tenth Congress of the Baath Party will represent a “qualitative leap” for the country. Continue reading