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Shadi Hamid
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Blog Entries by Shadi Hamid

Tunisia: The First Arab Democratic Revolution?

Posted January 15, 2011 | 11:41:12 (EST)

Yesterday, the Tunisian people toppled their leader, President Ben Ali, in a historic first for the Arab world. This is still a would-be revolution, not yet a successful one. A revolution entails a change in regime, not just in leadership. Power, today, is still in the hands of those associated...

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Dispatches from Today's Elections in Egypt

Posted November 28, 2010 | 10:27:46 (EST)

I'm in Cairo covering today's elections. I spent the day going from one polling station to another talking mostly to Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supporters and campaign workers. I'm not sure what to say. I apologize if I gave some people the impression that these elections were elections, in any real...

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Egypt Is Holding Elections: Will They Matter?

Posted November 27, 2010 | 14:27:37 (EST)

Tomorrow Egypt will hold hotly contested (but blatantly unfree) parliamentary elections. Policymakers and think tank analysts in Washington are paying close attention. Egypt, long the world's second largest recipient of U.S. aid, is the most populous Arab country and, unlike most its neighbors, has a peace treaty with...

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Why Are Liberals so Angry With President Obama?

Posted June 24, 2010 | 09:39:02 (EST)

A new conventional wisdom is emerging: more and more liberals seem to be disillusioned with President Obama when they should actually be grateful, presumably because of all the wonderful landmark legislation he's passed (stimulus, healthcare, etc.) Why, asks the New Republic's Jon Chait, are liberals angry at a...

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Will Passing Health Care Reform Affect U.S. Foreign Policy?

Posted March 21, 2010 | 16:24:46 (EST)

If the health care bill passes -- not in the mood to jinx such things -- what effect, if any, will it have on US policy in the Middle East? Most Arabs don't care about US health care reform, but Arab officials, opinion makers, and media elites are certainly aware...

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Are Congressional Democrats Irrational?

Posted February 3, 2010 | 13:12:09 (EST)

I spend a good chunk of my time studying, researching, contemplating, wondering about, and talking to Islamists (the nonviolent kind). They usually don't really surprise me (that much), though they certainly do their share of stupid things. And when they do something I find objectionable, I can usually understand why...

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Obama and the Arab World: The Honeymoon Is Really Over Now

Posted January 22, 2010 | 13:59:55 (EST)

There's no doubt that there's been growing Arab disappointment with President Obama, but I'm beginning to sense the disappointment - both understandable and expected - turning into something altogether more worrying. Part of the problem is that many Arabs, including even some Islamists, believed in Obama...

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The End of Al-Qaeda

Posted January 6, 2010 | 08:52:07 (EST)

Al-Qaeda is spent as an ideological force in the Arab and Muslim world, so we might as well come out and say it, and, hopefully, act like it too. It's not so much that al-Qaeda is irrelevant -- it isn't -- but, rather, that it is, and has increasingly become,...

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Open Letter to President Obama on the Need to Support Democracy in the Middle East

Posted March 12, 2009 | 14:01:33 (EST)

Earlier this week, a group of more than 100 experts and scholars released an open letter to President Obama, urging him to make support for democracy in the Middle East a top priority.

A diverse spectrum of names signed on and lent their support to the initiative, including...

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After the Al-Arabiya Interview, What Obama Must Now Do in the Middle East

Posted January 29, 2009 | 12:36:58 (EST)

On Monday, President Obama, for his first major interview, spoke to the second largest Arabic satellite channel in the world. His comments to Hisham Melhem were impressive for both their honesty and restraint. But did this important gesture to the Muslim world come too soon? Heather Hurlburt, at...

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Why Did Obama Choose Al-Arabiya for His First Major Interview?

Posted January 28, 2009 | 11:46:57 (EST)

On January 26, President Obama addressed the Arab and Muslim world directly, in an interview with Hisham Melhem on Al-Arabiya. Needless to say, it was great. On January 12, there was a panel discussion in DC organized by the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) - which...

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"What to Do About Hamas?" Three Options, None of Them Very Good

Posted January 9, 2009 | 13:19:16 (EST)

Thomas Friedman writes that "America's goal has to be a settlement in Gaza that eliminates the threat of Hamas rockets and opens Gaza economically to the world, under credible international supervision." Easier said than done. A difficult question for the US, Israel, and the international community is "what to...

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What Was Hamas Thinking? Understanding the Events in Gaza

Posted December 28, 2008 | 14:45:15 (EST)

Beyond the headlines, and regardless of who's to blame for what, there's the question of why Hamas chose to continue and intensify its rocket attacks against Israel in recent weeks. It would seem that Hamas's actions were both stupid and irrational from a strategic standpoint. "What the hell were...

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Is "Ideology" Bad When it Comes to Foreign Policy?

Posted December 17, 2008 | 18:29:45 (EST)

In the realm of foreign policy, "Ideology" is getting a bad name. "Pragmatism" is, apparently, all the rage. Problem is we aren't being careful with our terms. (For a primer on the debate, see Chris Hayes' meditation on the subject, as well as this very interesting and provocative

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