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Neil Hicks
Neil Hicks is the International Policy Adviser for Human Rights First, based in New York. He has worked on human rights issues for more than 25 years, publishing numerous scholarly articles, newspaper pieces and authoring human rights reports. He focuses on human rights issues in the Middle East and on Russia and the former Soviet Union

Entries by Neil Hicks

Rebuilding the U.S.-Egypt Bilateral Relationship

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 10:24 AM

There is one thing I agree with in Steven A. Cook's recent advice piece on How to Get Egypt's Generals Back on Our Side: the United States must be prepared to spend a lot more than the current $1.3 billion in annual assistance to demonstrate its commitment to...

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Egypt's Entry Visa Canard

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2014 | 1:21 PM

The Egyptian government has put out mixed explanations as to why it denied entry to prominent scholar and analyst Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who had been invited to attend a conference organized by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs. An organization with close...

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Don't Blame New Freedoms for Violent Religious Extremism

(4) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 4:42 PM

Dictatorships do a great deal more to create and maintain violent religious extremism than liberalization has done or will ever do, contrary to the headline on David Kirkpatrick's New York Times report from Tunisia claiming that "new freedoms in Tunisia drive support for ISIS."

It's an uncomfortable fact...

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President's Strategy for Confronting Violent Extremism Is Unconvincing

(71) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 9:34 AM

President Obama's remarks to the United Nations General Assembly singled out "the cancer of violent extremism" in many parts of Muslim world as the principal global threat. But he failed to call out governments that have long contributed to the problem, and his strategy involved very little action by the...

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The Beleaguered Tunisian Model

(3) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 5:58 PM

If the United States really wants to see human rights and democracy take root and flourish in the Arab region there is at least one thing it can do to advance that objective: ensure that Tunisia's transition to democracy succeeds.

President Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia is in Washington for the...

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Kerry's Remarks in Cairo Further Downgrade Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy

(2) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 9:54 PM

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in Cairo following his meetings with Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry and Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Although bi-ateral ties had been strained by the military removal of the former elected President, Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and by the widespread violations of...

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Egypt: How to Fix an Election

(3) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 7:45 PM

In many ways, the upcoming Egyptian presidential elections, which will take place on May 26-27, are an object lesson in how to fix an election while presenting a façade that everything is free and fair. The leading candidate and his supporters acted quickly -- months in advance of polling day...

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Supporting Repressive Governments Does Not Enhance Security

(0) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 5:18 PM

After watching authoritarian regimes in the Arab region crumble over the last few years, often leaving terrible problems and great instability in their wake, it was disappointing to listen to ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Adam Smith talking about the U.S. government "supporting a government that...

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Egypt's Stability Delusion

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 4:27 PM

Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi traveled to Saudi Arabia this week and on Wednesday assured the defense minister, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdel-Aziz, that Egypt was enjoying "growing stability." It is difficult to understand what he was referring to.

Contrary to the prime minister's assurances, the terrible...

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Egyptian Protests Should Shake US Out of Dangerous Complacency

(2) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 10:11 AM

Startling events unfolded this week in Egypt. First, millions of protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Then the army put him on notice: sort out the mess within 48 hours or face the imposition of the military's own roadmap for Egypt's future....

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Harassing Bassem Youssef, Fueling Societal Divisions

(1) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 7:50 PM

The harassment of Egyptian comedy talk-show host Bassem Youssef has caught the attention of people across the Arab world, many of whom watch his popular show on satellite television or catch the most hilarious excerpts on YouTube.

It is one of those events that perfectly encapsulates the misgivings that many...

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On Aid to Egypt

(3) Comments | Posted March 14, 2013 | 5:44 PM

Charles Krauthammer this week grudgingly came out in support of continuing U.S. financial aid, despite the many disconcerting human rights developments in President Morsi's Egypt. However, he faulted Secretary Kerry for overemphasizing the economic aspect of our bilateral relationship with Egypt, rather than explicitly tying the $250 million of foreign...

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Morsi's Illusory Power Grab

(2) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 4:30 PM

Political conflict is escalating in Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square and tens of thousands more protested in cities throughout Egypt to denounce President Morsi and his ill-judged decree granting himself wide-ranging unchecked powers last Tuesday. It is worth taking a step back to try...

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Five Things to Look for in the Egyptian Presidential Elections

(1) Comments | Posted May 22, 2012 | 8:27 PM

Egyptians will go to the polls tomorrow to vote in their first-ever competitive presidential election. The process may require a run-off vote next month, but whoever wins will have legitimacy in a contest in which tens of millions of voters will choose from a broad range of candidates. The new...

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Egypt's Presidential Elections: A Moment for the U.S. Government to Lead on Human Rights

(2) Comments | Posted May 9, 2012 | 12:14 PM

Beyond all the strange and often disturbing news coming out of Egypt, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that Egypt's second-ever contested presidential election will take place three weeks from now on May 23 and 24, with the possibility of a run-off on June 16 -...

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Don't Return to Business as Usual in Egypt: Link Foreign Aid to Democratic Progress in Egypt

(35) Comments | Posted March 18, 2012 | 11:30 AM

The Obama administration is facing one of the biggest tests of its commitment to promoting democracy and human rights in the Arab world since the uprisings of the Arab Spring, over one year ago.

The administration must decide, pursuant to the 2012 appropriations law, whether the Secretary of State will...

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Egyptian Elections: Five Reasons to Stick With the Process

(2) Comments | Posted December 2, 2011 | 3:04 PM

Political parties with clear Islamic identities appear to be gaining a majority in preliminary results from Egypt's first round of parliamentary elections: the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party has around 40% of the vote and a further 25% went to the more extreme Salafi, An-Nour party. While the Brotherhood...

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Not Giving Egypt's Military Junta What It Wants

(8) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 6:01 PM

When millions of Egyptians took to the streets in January and ousted their thirty-year president, they thought that they were taking a decisive step to move the country away from the military-backed dictatorship they had endured for the last 60 years. The terrible violence last Sunday that claimed...

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President Obama at the U.N.

(10) Comments | Posted September 20, 2011 | 12:35 PM

President Obama approaches his third address to the United Nations General Assembly seemingly boxed in by the failure to make progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. While many will be waiting to see what the President will propose to reinvigorate the peace process, the Israeli-Palestinian issue should not divert attention...

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Focusing on the Wrong Islamist Threat in Egypt

(1) Comments | Posted August 2, 2011 | 6:06 PM

Since I posted my last piece, written before the massive show of force by Islamist groups in Tahrir Square on July 29, several people have asked me if I would now like to reconsider my position.

It's a good...

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