Inside Sinai, where al-Qaeda roam free

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 19, 2012

For over a hundred miles between the heavily guarded Suez Canal Bridge and the main town in northern Sinai, El Arish, the road is deserted at night. No-one is stopping cars or checking documents at the roadblocks and the guard posts are empty.

Only on the final approach to El Arish can the first signs of a military build-up be seen.


Egyptian Grand Mufti visits Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, April 18, 2012

A senior Egyptian cleric has made a rare visit to Jerusalem for the opening of a new Islamic centre in the city.

Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, spent two hours in the city and visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray. He was joined on the trip by a Jordanian official representing King Abdullah on religious matters.


Liberals left for dust as Egypt goes Islamist

By John Bradley, April 4, 2012

One cannot but marvel at the deft political manoeuvring of Egypt's Islamists over the past year, as they distanced themselves from violence on the ground against their liberal opponents while orchestrating an action replay of the 1979 Iranian revolution.


Israel watches as Muslim Brotherhood plan for power in Egypt

By Jennifer Lipman, April 2, 2012

Israeli politicians have remained tight-lipped on what it would mean for the country if Egypt were to have a leader from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Despite earlier pledges not to field a candidate for the Egyptian presidency, the Islamist party – banned under the leadership of Hosni Mubarak – has announced that its deputy leader will be seeking the role.


The Syrian Assad who likes Jews and Israel

By Simon Round, March 29, 2012

The first cousin of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has welcomed the possibility of a future democratic Syria making peace with Israel.

Ribal al-Assad, 36, whose father is the exiled former vice-president Rifaat al-Assad, said in an interview with the JC that most Syrians were interested primarily in peace and prosperity.


Islamist MPs take the reins in Cairo

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 26, 2012

The new, democratically elected Egyptian Parliament convened for the first time on Monday. Seventy per cent of the MPs are members of Islamist parties.

But disputes were already apparent at the swearing-in ceremony of the 508 MPs. Many of the Islamists added statements of allegiance to Islam to their oaths, while some members of liberal parties referred to the ethos of the revolution.


Human Rights Watch gets Egypt all wrong

By Robin Shepherd, January 26, 2012

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just released its World Report 2012, in which it warns western governments not to ignore the popular will in the Arab world just because that has resulted in a massive victory for political Islam.

HRW is aware of the potential dangers for minority rights as well as of the possibility of a lurch back to authoritarianism but its thinking betrays a profound sense of co


How UK feared and fawned over Mubarak

By Bernard Josephs, December 29, 2011

A frank Foreign Office assessment of Hosni Mubarak appears in a 1980 document just released by the National Archive.

Mr Mubarak, then Egypt's vice president, is described as a "friendly and cheerful" personality but the Foreign Office warned that his "affable exterior concealed a degree of ruthlessness".

Mr Mubarak was considered by British officials to be the most likely successor to Presi


The Egyptian revolution is dead

By John R Bradley, December 22, 2011

When Israel's new ambassador to Cairo, Yaakov Amitai, arrived in the land of the pharaohs last week, he was not welcomed by an official delegation.


Israel envoy back in Egypt embassy

By Jennifer Lipman, December 12, 2011

The new Israeli ambassador to Egypt has started work in the country three months after his predecessor was forced out during a riot.

After a violent mob stormed the embassy in Cairo in early September, Israeli and Egyptian commandoes carried out an emergency operation to evacuate the embassy and fly the then-ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon and his family to safety.