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The Arabist Podcast

The Arabist

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The Arabist Podcast
The Arabist Podcast

The Arabist Podcast

The Arabist

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About Us

Issandr El Amrani, Ursula Lindsey and friends discuss the state of the Arab world, from Morocco to Saudi Arabia via Egypt.

Latest Episodes

46: "His program is the crisis"

Issandr El Amrani and Steve Negus are back with Ursula Lindsey to geek out on Egyptian politics. Does the presidential election matter? Are Sisi and Sabahi just two variants of Nasserism? Does anyone know what's going on anymore? These and other questions are considered, and Steve tell us about his trips to deep Upper Egypt, where sectarianism is never very far below the surface, echoes of the 1980s and 1990s are pondered and the shockwave of the counter-revolution crashes on some much deeper problems. The title of this episode, “His program is the crisis,” comes from former Nasser advisor Mohammed Hassanein Heykal’s recent comment on that Sisi does not need an electoral program.

56 MIN2014 APR 26
Comments
46: "His program is the crisis"

45: Underdogs

Arabist podcast hosts Ursula Lindsey and Ashraf Khalil talk to Khaled Dawoud, a prominent Egyptian reporter and activist. Dawoud campaigned to remove the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013 but resigned as spokesman for the National Salvation Front, a secular political coalition, in protest over the killing of Islamist demonstrators on August 14. Dawoud has been attacked from all sides of the political spectrum as he continues to argue for a poliitically negotiated solution rather than the ongoing cycle of violence and repression. He looks back on his last three years of activism; the role of the revolutionary; the secular movement and whether, in ousting the Brotherhood, it became the pawn of the former regime and the military.

68 MIN2014 FEB 14
Comments
45: Underdogs

44: Just how bad is it exactly?

On this podcast, journalists Ursula Lindsey and Ashraf Khalil speak to Human Rights Watch's Sarah LeahWhitson about the greatest threats to human rights across the region, and about how to defend human rights in the midst of Egypt's "war on terrorism" and its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

42 MIN2013 NOV 20
Comments
44: Just how bad is it exactly?

41: The Terrible Twos

More chaos and mayhem in Egypt over the weekend on the second anniversary of the January, 25 2011 uprising. Is Egypt becoming ungovernorable? What do the protestors want, can the opposition come up with a credible position, is the Muslim Brotherhood even interested in negotiating? Has the polarization created in late 2012 over the new constitution and Morsi's decree created an irreversible dynamic towards more repression, chaos, and instability? So many questions, so few clear answers — but we give it our best shot.

47 MIN2013 JAN 27
Comments
41: The Terrible Twos

40: Referendumb

The first round of Egypt's referendum on the draft constitution rushed through by Islamist forces has taken place, resulting in a narrow win for Islamists in early results. Our guest Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, helps us decode the trends, processes, and politics of the current crisis and how it might unfold.

75 MIN2012 DEC 19
Comments
40: Referendumb

39: Capture the castle

On this week’s podcast, Issandr and Ursula are joined by Human Rights Watch’s Heba Morayef and The Economist’s Max Rodenbeck to try to ascertain which of the developments of the last week we find the most disturbing: Morsi’s extraordinary new powers? The Muslim Brotherhood’s aping of Mubarak-era tactics? A rushed constitution with major contradictions, ambiguities and curbs on freedoms? The stark political polarization? Take your pick.

49 MIN2012 DEC 3
Comments
39: Capture the castle

38, Part 2: This is Cairo

Here is Part 2 of this week’s podcast. This was an experiment: Christopher Lydon of Radio Open Source is in town (with collaborator Mark Fonseca Rendeiro) and we invited them to join us and gathered some of our accomplished friends to discuss a topic that is close to all of our hearts: the city of Cairo and the shape it’s in today. Our conversation with architect and urban planner Omar El Nagati, blogger Mohamed El Shahed and writer/curator Sara Rifki was as rich, dense and meandering as the city itself. We discussed the meaning and potential of Cairo’s reigning informality; how to find a balance between local initiative and state planning and regulation; whether the Muslim Brotherhood has a different urban development vision than the Mubarak regime; and the many exciting ways that Egyptians are laying claim to public space today.

73 MIN2012 NOV 26
Comments
38, Part 2: This is Cairo

38, Part 1: History on repeat

A friend here in Cairo recently told me she felt history was repeating itself all around her: a new Egyptian train tragedy; bodies of Palestinian children being dug out of the rubble of Gaza as Israel carries out yet another bombardment; protesters and police facing off again, on year later, in Mohamed Mahmoud Street. On Thursday evening President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree that involved some repetitions of its own: he sacked the corrupt public prosecutor (again, after a first failed attempt); he ordered the re-trial of policemen and former regime figures. Most strikingly, he gave himself and the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly immunity from all judicial challenges. “Don’t worry” Morsi repeated half a dozen times during a speech on Friday — the sweeping new powers he has given himself (which include the power to take any necessary action to defend the revolution and national security) are only temporary, and will not be misused, he said. But the thousands of protester...

27 MIN2012 NOV 25
Comments
38, Part 1: History on repeat

37: A constitutional Smörgåsbord

The long promised podcast on everything you wanted to know about the new Arab constitutions but were afraid to ask is here. We sit with guest Zaid al-Ali, a member of the team that advised on the Iraqi constitution in 2005 and now advisor to IDEA on constitution-writing, who has been monitoring the constitution-drafting processes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. We start with Libya, where things are just getting started and the big questions are about federalism and sharing the revenues from the oil sector. Then we look at Tunisia, where the process is humming along despite some hiccups and the new constitution should be adopted by the middle of next year. And finally we take a wide-ranging look at the contents of Egypt's constitution-writing process, just as the controversy pitting Islamists vs. secularists is heating up. What are the real problems with the drafts published so far? Al-Ali's first take is that, perhaps most importantly, that is no revolutionary constitution: it's mostly...

73 MIN2012 NOV 11
Comments
37: A constitutional Smörgåsbord

36: Mean Streets

Back for another podcast! Ashraf tells us about his ordeal in Tahrir Square, where secularists gathered against Muslim Brotherhood domination. We take a look at the political dynamics of the fight over Egypt's constitution, and the possible scenarios it could lead to. And finally we discuss the last US presidential debate, or at least the bits that have to do with the Middle East, and wonder at the lack of big ideas on either side.

56 MIN2012 OCT 25
Comments
36: Mean Streets

Latest Episodes

46: "His program is the crisis"

Issandr El Amrani and Steve Negus are back with Ursula Lindsey to geek out on Egyptian politics. Does the presidential election matter? Are Sisi and Sabahi just two variants of Nasserism? Does anyone know what's going on anymore? These and other questions are considered, and Steve tell us about his trips to deep Upper Egypt, where sectarianism is never very far below the surface, echoes of the 1980s and 1990s are pondered and the shockwave of the counter-revolution crashes on some much deeper problems. The title of this episode, “His program is the crisis,” comes from former Nasser advisor Mohammed Hassanein Heykal’s recent comment on that Sisi does not need an electoral program.

56 MIN2014 APR 26
Comments
46: "His program is the crisis"

45: Underdogs

Arabist podcast hosts Ursula Lindsey and Ashraf Khalil talk to Khaled Dawoud, a prominent Egyptian reporter and activist. Dawoud campaigned to remove the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013 but resigned as spokesman for the National Salvation Front, a secular political coalition, in protest over the killing of Islamist demonstrators on August 14. Dawoud has been attacked from all sides of the political spectrum as he continues to argue for a poliitically negotiated solution rather than the ongoing cycle of violence and repression. He looks back on his last three years of activism; the role of the revolutionary; the secular movement and whether, in ousting the Brotherhood, it became the pawn of the former regime and the military.

68 MIN2014 FEB 14
Comments
45: Underdogs

44: Just how bad is it exactly?

On this podcast, journalists Ursula Lindsey and Ashraf Khalil speak to Human Rights Watch's Sarah LeahWhitson about the greatest threats to human rights across the region, and about how to defend human rights in the midst of Egypt's "war on terrorism" and its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

42 MIN2013 NOV 20
Comments
44: Just how bad is it exactly?

41: The Terrible Twos

More chaos and mayhem in Egypt over the weekend on the second anniversary of the January, 25 2011 uprising. Is Egypt becoming ungovernorable? What do the protestors want, can the opposition come up with a credible position, is the Muslim Brotherhood even interested in negotiating? Has the polarization created in late 2012 over the new constitution and Morsi's decree created an irreversible dynamic towards more repression, chaos, and instability? So many questions, so few clear answers — but we give it our best shot.

47 MIN2013 JAN 27
Comments
41: The Terrible Twos

40: Referendumb

The first round of Egypt's referendum on the draft constitution rushed through by Islamist forces has taken place, resulting in a narrow win for Islamists in early results. Our guest Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, helps us decode the trends, processes, and politics of the current crisis and how it might unfold.

75 MIN2012 DEC 19
Comments
40: Referendumb

39: Capture the castle

On this week’s podcast, Issandr and Ursula are joined by Human Rights Watch’s Heba Morayef and The Economist’s Max Rodenbeck to try to ascertain which of the developments of the last week we find the most disturbing: Morsi’s extraordinary new powers? The Muslim Brotherhood’s aping of Mubarak-era tactics? A rushed constitution with major contradictions, ambiguities and curbs on freedoms? The stark political polarization? Take your pick.

49 MIN2012 DEC 3
Comments
39: Capture the castle

38, Part 2: This is Cairo

Here is Part 2 of this week’s podcast. This was an experiment: Christopher Lydon of Radio Open Source is in town (with collaborator Mark Fonseca Rendeiro) and we invited them to join us and gathered some of our accomplished friends to discuss a topic that is close to all of our hearts: the city of Cairo and the shape it’s in today. Our conversation with architect and urban planner Omar El Nagati, blogger Mohamed El Shahed and writer/curator Sara Rifki was as rich, dense and meandering as the city itself. We discussed the meaning and potential of Cairo’s reigning informality; how to find a balance between local initiative and state planning and regulation; whether the Muslim Brotherhood has a different urban development vision than the Mubarak regime; and the many exciting ways that Egyptians are laying claim to public space today.

73 MIN2012 NOV 26
Comments
38, Part 2: This is Cairo

38, Part 1: History on repeat

A friend here in Cairo recently told me she felt history was repeating itself all around her: a new Egyptian train tragedy; bodies of Palestinian children being dug out of the rubble of Gaza as Israel carries out yet another bombardment; protesters and police facing off again, on year later, in Mohamed Mahmoud Street. On Thursday evening President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree that involved some repetitions of its own: he sacked the corrupt public prosecutor (again, after a first failed attempt); he ordered the re-trial of policemen and former regime figures. Most strikingly, he gave himself and the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly immunity from all judicial challenges. “Don’t worry” Morsi repeated half a dozen times during a speech on Friday — the sweeping new powers he has given himself (which include the power to take any necessary action to defend the revolution and national security) are only temporary, and will not be misused, he said. But the thousands of protester...

27 MIN2012 NOV 25
Comments
38, Part 1: History on repeat

37: A constitutional Smörgåsbord

The long promised podcast on everything you wanted to know about the new Arab constitutions but were afraid to ask is here. We sit with guest Zaid al-Ali, a member of the team that advised on the Iraqi constitution in 2005 and now advisor to IDEA on constitution-writing, who has been monitoring the constitution-drafting processes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. We start with Libya, where things are just getting started and the big questions are about federalism and sharing the revenues from the oil sector. Then we look at Tunisia, where the process is humming along despite some hiccups and the new constitution should be adopted by the middle of next year. And finally we take a wide-ranging look at the contents of Egypt's constitution-writing process, just as the controversy pitting Islamists vs. secularists is heating up. What are the real problems with the drafts published so far? Al-Ali's first take is that, perhaps most importantly, that is no revolutionary constitution: it's mostly...

73 MIN2012 NOV 11
Comments
37: A constitutional Smörgåsbord

36: Mean Streets

Back for another podcast! Ashraf tells us about his ordeal in Tahrir Square, where secularists gathered against Muslim Brotherhood domination. We take a look at the political dynamics of the fight over Egypt's constitution, and the possible scenarios it could lead to. And finally we discuss the last US presidential debate, or at least the bits that have to do with the Middle East, and wonder at the lack of big ideas on either side.

56 MIN2012 OCT 25
Comments
36: Mean Streets
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