Firas Al-Atraqchi
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Firas Al-Atraqchi is a Canadian journalist of Arab descent who has covered the Middle East since 1992.

In April 2010, he left Al Jazeera's English-language website, where he had worked as a senior editor since 2004.

In September 2010, he joined the American University of Cairo as an associate professor of practice at the Journalism and Mass Communication department.

A guitar-wielding history buff, he is also into heavy metal music and sci-fi.

Entries by Firas Al-Atraqchi

How Egypt Won the Battles But Lost the War

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2014 | 10:49 PM

When talk show host David Letterman asked news anchor Scott Pelley on June 27, 2012 what happened to the "Arab Spring," the latter replied: "It's almost as if the revolution never happened."

This was what Omar Kamel, an advocate for social justice and civilian rule, feared the most -- the...

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Reversal of Fortune in Egypt: How the Muslim Brotherhood Fumbled

(13) Comments | Posted July 7, 2013 | 12:51 AM

There has been a lot of debate about the nature of Egypt's changing political landscape in the past few days -- did a coup remove President Mohamed Morsi or was the military acting on behalf of a massive popular uprising?

The debate has raged from social media all the way...

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Let's Not Omit History Because It Is Convenient

(3) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 6:16 PM

Andrew Marr's History of the World on BBC, which started this fall and ended late November, was an ambitious effort to capture 70,000 years of human development in eight one-hour episodes.

With such an undertaking, it's likely that a lot will be overlooked or omitted.

However, there are...

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Assad Regime's Final WMD Gambit Plays to Israel, U.S. Fears

(16) Comments | Posted July 25, 2012 | 4:25 PM

Syria is on the verge of implosion as the military dictatorship put together by the late Hafez al Assad struggles to deal with defections, emboldened rebels, and blow-delivering assassinations of senior officials.

Last week when rebels infiltrated the capital, surprising both the military and the residents living there,...

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Egypt Now Needs Activism 2.0

(2) Comments | Posted June 15, 2012 | 3:53 PM

The decision by Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court to dissolve the first democratically elected parliament and validate a former regime minister's run for the top job -- just days ahead of the second round of presidential elections -- should come as no surprise.

For weeks, Egyptians had complained that the People's...

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Egyptians Hope Election Will Save Their Country From the Brink

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2012 | 7:25 PM

Tens of millions of Egyptians will head to the polls Wednesday to vote for the candidate they hope will move the country from a state of transition to one that is stable and ruled by a civilian government.

But their hopes come during very volatile times for the country.

Nearly...

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Something Remarkable Is Happening in Egypt

(32) Comments | Posted November 25, 2011 | 5:05 PM

While Egyptian political parties attempt to gain an edge in the growing vacuum of governance since the resignation of the interim cabinet, it is the people of Tahrir Square who are outmanoeuvring them to win the hearts and minds of the rest of the country.

There are four stories to...

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If Only Bin Laden Had Been Killed 13 Years Ago

(79) Comments | Posted May 2, 2011 | 2:01 AM

The killing of bin Laden at the hands of U.S. forces is likely to be a cathartic moment for the world -- almost as if a war has come to an end -- but his termination comes much too late.

And the war is not truly over until the real...

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How to Deal with Egypt -- the West's Dilemma

(7) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 8:16 PM

Many Egyptians feel betrayed that the Obama administration, for one, has not moved fast enough to support the fledgling grassroots pro-democracy movement.

By calling for Mubarak's ouster, and persevering in the face of tear gas, water cannons, baton beatings, and a hail of Molotov petrol-bombs young Egyptian men and women...

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Arab Earthquake: Egypt Is the Region's Turning Point

(294) Comments | Posted January 27, 2011 | 7:02 PM

While media analysts debate whether social media is fueling revolt in the Middle East and North Africa or whether the US has helped keep regional dictatorships in power, one thing is very clear: The Arab masses are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

From Tunisia spread a renewed...

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Tunisia's Revolution Was Twitterized

(85) Comments | Posted January 14, 2011 | 11:55 AM

In what could be a sign of how social media is reshaping politics in the Middle East and North Africa, Tunisian protesters turned to Twitter to broadcast information on their popular revolt against the government's economic and media policies.

Videos of street clashes in Tunisian towns were broadcast on YouTube...

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Defeat in Iraq: Muqtada's Return

(30) Comments | Posted January 5, 2011 | 5:38 PM

The return of Muqtada Al-Sadr, a junior Shia cleric and head of the Mehdi Army militia, from his refuge in Iran to a prominent role in Iraqi politics is not only a sad testimony to the sham democracy in Iraq but also serves a humiliating end to America's adventure there.

...
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Middle East in 2011: Social Media to Take on Governments

(3) Comments | Posted December 31, 2010 | 12:08 PM

It has been a roller-coaster decade for the media in the Middle East and North Africa -- many who have turned to the Internet to write about human rights and corruption find themselves facing increasingly restrictive measures by the authorities.

The meteoric rise of Twitter and Facebook as global communications...

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Egypt's Deadly Roads

(8) Comments | Posted December 26, 2010 | 7:01 PM

Another traffic accident in Egypt has claimed the lives of a number of tourists, but this is hardly the first such incident this year and comes as concern grows about the country's dangerous driving culture.

On November 20, eight tourists from Russia, Ukraine and Belgium were killed in...

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Red Sea Sharks Made in Israel?

(15) Comments | Posted December 6, 2010 | 3:36 AM

A German tourist was mauled to death by a shark off Egypt's Red Sea coast Sunday, but if popular rumors on the street are to be believed, it was the Israelis who did it.

The attack came days after authorities claimed they had hunted and killed a shark believed to...

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What Did the Arabs Really Win in the 1973 War With Israel?

(16) Comments | Posted October 5, 2010 | 3:29 PM

To the Arabs, the "victories" of the October 1973 (Tenth of Ramadan) War proved that Israel was not invincible. To the Israelis, the Yom Kippur War proved that even when taken by nominal surprise, its military can strike back with tactical superiority.

But in the 37 years since, the Arab...

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Why I Oppose the New York Park51 Initiative

(30) Comments | Posted September 12, 2010 | 11:55 AM

I cannot in good faith and conscience support the building of a $100 million Islamic center in New York City.

The bottom line for me is not about whether Muslims have a right to build an Islamic anything two blocks distance from Ground Zero.

The argument about proximity is...

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Obama's "No, We Won't" Moment in Iraq

(17) Comments | Posted August 30, 2010 | 9:23 PM

The US political and military establishments have made numerous grave errors in judgment when it comes to Iraq policy, foremost of which is the choice to invade and occupy the oil-rich nation.

However, in hoping to save face with a history that will not forgive the blundering in Iraq, the...

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The Farce of Middle East Peace Talks

(41) Comments | Posted August 21, 2010 | 4:19 AM

For those with a keen interest in contemporary Middle East history, there's a new spectacle coming to a conflict zone near you.

On September 2nd, the production company that brought you Oslo, Wye River, Camp David and Annapolis will release a brand new blockbuster sequel to the so-called Middle East...

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Arabs Believe Obama is Powerless in the Middle East

(7) Comments | Posted June 4, 2010 | 2:24 PM

The unprecedented enthusiasm in the Arab and Muslim World which greeted Barack Obama's election win nearly 20 months ago has been replaced with disappointment and anger.

Millions of Arabs and Muslims applauded when Barack Obama addressed the Muslim World in Cairo on June 4 last year, and cheered...

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