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Analysis & Commentary - Oren Kessler

Oren Kessler 's Latest Articles

3rd April 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Trump Offers Sisi Praise, but Unclear What Else

Oren Kessler

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Washington on Monday for his first-ever White House meeting, his first meeting with President Donald Trump since the November election and the first such visit by an Egyptian head of state in nearly eight years. more...

3rd April 2017 – Foreign Affairs

Russia’s Charm Offensive in North Africa

Oren Kessler , Boris Zilberman

With the world’s attention focused on the question of Russian influence in the United States and the European Union, the Kremlin is quietly making inroads in another region critical to both the United States and Europe: the five North African states of the southern Mediterranean shore. more...

24th March 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Mubarak Freed, Egypt Shrugs

Oren Kessler

Hosni Mubarak was freed Friday from a military hospital in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, six years after massive crowds ousted him in the seminal episode of the Arab Spring. more...

12th February 2017 – Foreign Affairs

Egypt Picks Sides in the Syrian War

Oren Kessler

On February 1, a military transport plane left a Russian airbase in Latakia, Syria, landed at an airfield near Egypt’s border with Libya, then returned to Syria. For months there had been unconfirmed reports that Cairo had sent forces to assist the Syrian regime in the country’s civil war and at first glance the flight appeared to have corroborated those suspicions. more...

23rd December 2016 – The Hill

Why did Egypt risk ties to Israel and Trump with UN resolution?

Oren Kessler

Egypt on Wednesday night circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution calling upon Israel to "immediately and completely" cease all construction in West Bank settlements and in East Jerusalem. The next day, Egypt announced it had postponed the move, after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke out against it after reportedly coming under Israeli pressure to do so. more...

29th November 2016 – Foreign Affairs

Egypt’s Unlikely Ardor for Trump

Oren Kessler

More than three weeks after the election, the American public remains divided over Donald Trump’s surprise victory. Six thousand miles away, however, one U.S. ally has demonstrated a far more unified response. more...

21st October 2016 – The Wall Street Journal

The Truth About Egypt’s Revolution

Oren Kessler

The usual account of Egypt’s revolution goes like this: In February 2011, Hosni Mubarak resigned after 18 days of protests led by the tweeting revolutionaries of Tahrir Square, ending his nearly 30-year presidency. more...

19th October 2016 – Commentary Magazine

Rizvi’s Reformation

Oren Kessler

The Atheist Muslim opens with snow in Saudi Arabia. The author, Ali Rizvi, is in fifth grade at the American school in Riyadh, where students are folding glittery snowflakes out of construction paper to decorate the halls for winter. more...

5th August 2016 – The Hill

The Israel-Egypt partnership deepens

Oren Kessler

Egypt last week marked Revolution Day, the day commemorating the 1952 Free Officers' revolt that toppled the the playboy King Farouk. Next door in Israel, the Egyptian embassy threw a party. more...

22nd July 2016 – The Hill

By blocking UN vote, Egypt sticks finger in Turkey’s eye

Oren Kessler

Egypt blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution this past Saturday that would have expressed support for Turkey's government after the coup attempt launched against it the day before. Cairo's move is the latest, but most brazen indication yet that it has little intention of reconciling with Ankara — neither before the coup attempt nor after. more...

30th June 2016 – U.S. News and World Report

No Neutral in the Egypt-Qatar Quarrel

Oren Kessler , David Andrew Weinberg

An Egyptian court this month sentenced former President Mohamed Morsi to life in prison, and ordered the death penalty for two Al Jazeera journalists and four others for leaking state secrets to Qatar. more...

21st June 2016 – Foreign Affairs

Hamas and Egypt Make Amends?

Oren Kessler , Grant Rumley

A steady stream of reports in recent weeks has suggested that Egypt is burying the hatchet with Hamas. The Washington Post saw an “unlikely alliance” between the two, Al-Monitor floated the prospect of “reconciliation,” and Haaretz suggested that Cairo is offering the group “another chance.” more...

17th May 2016 – Foreign Affairs

ISIS Targets Egypt

Oren Kessler

Earlier this month, the Islamic State (ISIS) launched a massive media campaign in support of the insurgency in Sinai. Officials from 14 of its so-called provinces in Iraq, Libya, and Syria released videos promoting an Egyptian affiliate group, Sinai Province. The videos feature typical ISIS themes, such as condemnations of apostate Arab and Western governments, more...

13th April 2016 – The Hill

Egypt hands strategic Red Sea islands to Saudis, and Israel doesn’t object

Oren Kessler

Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement Saturday for Cairo to return control of two uninhabited but strategic Red Sea islands to the kingdom. The islands — Tiran and Sanafir — lie in the Straits of Tiran, a key waterway linking the Red Sea with Israeli, Jordanian and Egyptian ports in the Gulf of Aqaba. more...

7th April 2016 – FDD Policy Brief

U.S. mulls pulling Sinai peacekeeping force

Oren Kessler

The United States is considering pulling its roughly 700 troops out of a base its forces have occupied for three decades in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, CNN reported Tuesday. more...

13th February 2016 – The National Interest

The Middle East’s Conflicts Are About Religion

Oren Kessler

A meme is gaining traction within American government and media, and it goes like this: The conflicts of the Middle East aren’t about religion. Jihadist violence? Garden-variety criminality, the president says. more...

22nd January 2016 – The Hill

Dissent likely to be muted on Egyptian revolution’s fifth anniversary

Oren Kessler

Monday is the fifth anniversary of Egypt's Jan. 25 revolution, but you'd be forgiven for not noticing. more...

28th December 2015 –

Israel Bolsters Its Sinai Border Amid ISIS Threats

Oren Kessler

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio message this weekend threatening Israel with a devastating attack. more...

14th December 2015 – The Hill

Freed Prisoner’s Plight Underscores Egypt’s Security Failings

Oren Kessler

Egypt and Israel completed a prisoner swap on Thursday that included the release of an Israeli Bedouin whom Cairo had held for 15 years on unsubstantiated espionage charges. Cairo's treatment of Ouda Tarabin, 34, is representative of two preoccupations still plaguing the Egyptian state and keeping it from providing for its citizens' security: one with Israel and another with Bedouins generally. more...

2nd December 2015 – The Hill

Britain’s Corbyn Is No Laughing Matter

Oren Kessler

"Few people outside Britain have ever heard of Jeremy Corbyn," the British journalist Nick Cohen wrote in July, dubbing the member of Parliament (MP) the "long-shot" candidate to lead the Labour Party. Half a year later, Corbyn is Labour chairman, and still, few outside his home country know his name. They should. more...