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Conditionality Confusion

The Obama Administration’s refusal to condition Egypt’s military aid on political and human rights reform is congruent with Bush Administration’s policy. It is a good move, aimed at maintaining the strategic relationship.
In interviews in Egypt, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates have both gone on record as …

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US Defense Secretary visits Egypt. Will he discuss defense?

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived in Egypt today in the first stop on a week-long tour of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. I suspect that Gates will make some unannounced stops in the region (to Iraq, perhaps), but I can’t verify that.
Gates set out three goals for …

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Opportunity in Crisis – Israel/Palestine

“Opportunity in crisis” isn’t so much rhetoric in the first days of the Obama Administration. The financial meltdown that began in Wall Street and spread to America’s working class has knocked top-ranked financiers out of a comfortable context where risk was appropriately and indefinitely hedged. Most of middle class America …

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The Role of Dennis Ross

Yesterday the acting spokesperson for the State Department emphatically stated what Dennis Ross will not be doing:
Let me be clear, he’s not an envoy. He will not be negotiating. He’ll be working on regional issues. He will not be – in terms of negotiating, will not be involved …

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Egyptian Stock Market Gains Day After Terrorist Attack

The Egyptian Stock Exchange’s main index rose a bit over 1% today, one day after a terrorist attack targeted tourists in Cairo. Perhaps investors judge the attack an aberration and are confident that the government will stabilize the situation and reassure tourists. On the other hand, investors could be responding …

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Royal Jewels at Alexandria

Alexandria is truly something special. Egypt’s finest national museum is housed in a villa there, nearby a stunning opera house nestled almost imperceptibly between courtyards of the city’s streets. The seaside cafes serve the best cappuccinos in the country and the no-frills fish restaurants need no enhancement. Alexandria marks itself …

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Ayman Nour Freed

Yesterday Ayman Nour was released from prison. Mr. Nour, Egypt’s most famous secular opposition politician, was imprisoned several years ago after performing a bit too well in the first multi-party presidential elections. Ostensibly jailed for forging a few hundred petition forms supporting his candidacy, Mr. Nour’s arrest effectively dampened a …

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Omar Suleiman

We usually don't link to articles easily found on the web (unless written by FPA contributor Nate Field) but this Haaretz piece about Egyptian Intel Chief Omar Suleiman is tooooo much. Here's my favorite line:
 “We met some years ago with CIA representatives in the lobby of a hotel,” …

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Gaza Tunnels

With all this attention being paid to Gaza Tunnels recently I’m printing here a June 2008 posting I wrote for a personal blog. It details how Washington approached the Gaza Tunnel issue in the past few years.  It is my personal belief that Gaza Tunnels are a red herring, and …

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The US-Egypt relationship goes nuclear

This week the Egyptian Government selected Bechtel Corporation to advise on the construction of Egypt's first set of nuclear power plants in a 10-year, $180 million contract. This is good news for Egypt and the United States.
Egypt has a long standing policy that the Middle East should be WMD-free.  In …

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Egypt business in North Korea a good thing

An Egyptian telecommunications company has become the first mobile-phone company to invest in North Korea.  The 25-year license agreement includes a $400 million dollar investment and a 75/25 partnership with a state-owned Korean company.  Read about it here and here.  Naguib Sawiris, owner of Orascom Telecom …

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"Oum, you've been on my mind"

Turns out that Bob Dylan dug Oum Kalthoum.  Here's a paragraph from Al’ America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel, excerpted here on alternet.org:
Kalsoum, whose last name is often spelled Kalthoum or Khulthum, was Egypt's greatest singer — the equivalent of Barbra Streisand, Billie …

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U.S.-Egypt at the Middle East Institute Conference

The panel on U.S.-Egypt relations proved the highlight of the annual Middle East Institute conference in DC this past Friday.  Graeme Bannerman moderated the panel.  He holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern studies, taught at AUB, served as a longtime staffer for Sen Dick Lugar, and most relevantly, for the …

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Egyptian War Games Against Israel?

A major consideration behind Congressional attempts to condition or reduce Egyptian military aid is the concern that Egypt is preparing for aggressive military action towards Israel.  The late Tom Lantos led the initiative in Congress.  He had this to say in June 2004 during a subcommittee meeting of the House …

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IBM in Egypt

IBM is opening the region's first nanotechnology center in Egypt, and some private companies are working to introduce nanotechnology to Egypt's youth.

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About the Author

Matthew Axelrod

Mr. Axelrod most recently researched the US-Egypt defense relationship in Cairo on a Fulbright grant, after serving as the Country Director for Egypt and North Africa in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2007. He entered the government as a Presidential Management Fellow, rotating through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, and the Pentagon. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2003 with a BS in Foreign Service and an MA in Arab Studies.

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