Dajani: Morsi Beyond the Islamist Identity

Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi writes in a guest column for Levantine Routes

For the next decade, think tanks in the United States and Europe will be analyzing why an Islamist won the Egyptian presidential elections.  To save them the trouble, I will give them the simple answer:  the Egyptian voters did not vote for Mohammed Morsi as an individual or for his election platform.  They did not watch his interviews to see where he stands on the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, women, Christians, etc. Continue reading “Dajani: Morsi Beyond the Islamist Identity”

Arab Nationalism

The End of Pan-Arabism Redux

Published in the Huffington Post on Feb. 22, 2012.

In his 1999 book, The Dream Palace of the Arabs, Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami examines how Arab nationalism — a secular concept which advocates Arab unity via language and culture — not religion — went into decline following the 1967 War, the 1973 War and the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. In the 1950s and ’60s, the popular, charismatic and gifted orator Gamal Abdel Nasser, guided Arab nationalism. He served as the undisputed leader of the Arab world and inspired a generation of Arabs to believe that unity could be an attainable vision.

After Nasser’s death in 1970, Arabism suffered a major setback, and went into decline. Several self-proclaimed Arab nationalists surfaced including Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Saddam Hussein of Iraq. All vied to be Nasser’s successor as spokesperson for the Arab people, but failed miserably by relying primarily on brute force and oppression. Continue reading “The End of Pan-Arabism Redux”


How Will Egyptian Islamists Rule?

Published in the Huffington Post on Jan. 3, 2012.

Polling data in Egypt suggests that Islamist parties will gain a majority of seats in Egypt’s future parliament. While it is too soon to predict whether an Islamist government in Egypt can coexist with democracy, and whether it can adopt a truly “Egypt-first” approach which focuses on domestic concerns above foreign and external issues, recent developments raise concerns regarding Egypt’s future. Continue reading “How Will Egyptian Islamists Rule?”

Egypt, Israel

Egypt’s Islamists and Israel

In November 2011, the first parliamentary election was held in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak’s abdication.  Egyptians began voting for the National Assembly (lower house) in three phases.  The first phase allocated a majority of votes to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and al-Nour, the more fundamentalist Salafist party.  At the end of December, the second round of parliamentary elections concluded with another plurality for Islamist parties.  The final round of voting is scheduled for tomorrow, with Islamists anticipating similar gains. Continue reading “Egypt’s Islamists and Israel”