Egyptian president ‘to change law to allow faster executions’ Abdel Fatah al-Sisi – speaking at funeral of assassinated lead prosecutor – indicates he will cut the lengthy appeals process for those on death row

Let’s all say it together – Egyptian “President” Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is a DICTATOR.

Need proof? Let’s move beyond the blood lust bound up in el-Sisi’s call for faster executions in Egypt… because what the world needs now is executions that have even less appeals and review… and consider this gem of a paragraph:

“According to the current process, a death sentence can only be enforced after lengthy appeals. But as Egypt has been without a sitting parliament for two years, Sisi – as the country’s sole elected official – can issue laws by decree. As a result, he may technically be able to change the speed at which executions can be completed. Legal experts believe he is already enacting authoritarian laws at a rate not seen in Egypt for 60 years.”

And less we forget, the US is entirely complicit in this. The Obama administration spoke out against the rule of Hosni Mubarak as Egyptians took to the streets during the Arab Spring protests to oppose decades of military rule in Egypt. Mohammed Morsi was elected President, overreached and was deposed by the military led by el-Sisi. Sisi’s “election” and his immediate turn to despotism was essentially blessed by the Obama administration when they agreed to continue aid to Egypt after Morsi’s overthrow and el-Sisi’s sham election.

So, once again, the foreign policy of the US has chosen perceived immediate stability over the somewhat more bumpy and unpredictable evolution of democracy in the Middle East. It’s not the first time we’ve done this… it’s sort of our thing at this point… we’re pro’s out it.

But what absolutely drives me nutty is when we sit around and naively ask questions like “why can’t democracy work in the Middle East?” or “why do “they” hate us”? The reasons are clear folks… it’s us… it’s the choices our government makes… and its the dictators we embrace rather than sanction.

If we want to see democracy work in the Middle East, it means engaging with the government of Mohammed Morsi or the Hamas-led government in Palestine. Just because we engage leaderships with whom we have serious and substantial objections to and issues with does not mean we approve of them. We, the United States, needs to understand that democracy doesn’t happen over night, that sometimes parties we don’t like win elections, and that over time organic democracy, with all its warts, bumps and bruises, is a far better product than the immediate stability provided by dictators because it is those dictatorships that sow the seeds of extremism and fanaticism that ultimately cause far more upheaval.

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October 18th, 2015

Mapping the Dead in the Latest Israeli-Palestinian Violence

Basma Atassi at Al-Jazeera has put together a great storymap that explores the latest violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Complete with pictures, text and place location, this resource allows you to get a good sense of where, when and how the violence is occurring. Definitely worth a look.

October 16th, 2015

Netanyahu, Context & Responsibility

At the center of this current iteration of violence in Israel and Palestine stands the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has reacted to this violence as if he was surprised that Palestinians would resort to violence when for decades he has done everything within his power to thwart the establishment and growth of a responsible Palestinian civil society, expanded settlements with the explicit aim of crippling an emerging Palestinian state, and undermining the responsible leadership of Mahmoud Abbas at every possible opportunity.

October 8th, 2015

Abbas, Netanyahu and Responsible Leadership

Abbas is demonstrating his commitment to deescalating tensions and calming the violence that is a direct result of Netanyahu’s persistent efforts to whip Israeli society into a panicked frenzy about an existential threat lurking behind every corner.

June 30th, 2015

Our Dictator in Cairo – Abdel Fatah el-Sisi

So, once again, the foreign policy of the US has chosen perceived immediate stability over the somewhat more bumpy and unpredictable evolution of democracy in the Middle East. It’s not the first time we’ve done this… it’s sort of our thing at this point… we’re pro’s out it.

June 22nd, 2015

The Many Victims at Mother Emmanuel

The problem with Gosnell and others who make these arguments is that they believe intentionality serves as some magical “Get out of Jail Free” card that absolves perpetrators of the violence they commit. Further, and in many ways far more problematic, is the realization that Gosnell and others only want to use this logical canard to absolve themselves or other like them. No such compassion regarding intentionality and the multiplicity of victims derived from violence will ever be used with the families of the 9-11 hijackers. In the end, the fundamental mistake that Gosnell and others make over and over again is that they focus on issues of intentionality rather than on issues of responsibility.

March 4th, 2015

Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Congress

There are two things to never forget when considering Netanyahu’s views of regional threats. First, he is desperately seeking his “Churchill moment”. Second, he has a record of being blinded by his own biases and is never, ever a sober analyst of a situation

February 16th, 2015

Cursed Be The Peacemakers?

This video, produced by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, has been released as part of the current Israeli political contest where the extreme right wing of Israel is attempting to maintain the rightist complexion of the Israeli government. For me, the truly offensive aspect of this video is how it makes the case that working for peace between Israelis and Palestinians or defending Palestinian and Israeli human rights somehow makes you a threat to the country.

February 14th, 2015

The Danger of Molly White’s Islamophobia

Rep. White is the new poster child for the anti-Muslim bigotry, Islamic hatred and Islamophobia that is so deeply embedded in American society that it can hide in plain sight.

July 15th, 2014

In Focus: The Gaza Strip

As Israeli bombs are dropped throughout the Gaza Strip and Hamas missiles are launched into Israel, the media coverage has focused on discussing Gaza as a known yet ill-defined entity. We are made aware of roughly where it is (next to Israel), who lives there (Hamas) and what happens there (rockets are made and launched). But this reductionist view of Gaza doesn’t provide any insights into the common, everyday lived experience of the 1.8 million Palestinians who live in the 360 sq. km that makes up the Gaza Strip.

July 14th, 2014

Middle East News Review #28

The Middle East was plagued with news of violence this week. In Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Libya, episodes of violence resulted in death and destruction. Iran continued its negotiations with the US and EU this week in the hopes of reaching an agreement over the country’s nuclear program and removing the economic sanctions that have crippled its economy. In Iraq, violence between the militant group ISIS and the Baghdad government reached new heights as 29 people were found massacred in an apartment and Human Rights Watch condemned the government for mass executions carried out earlier this year. The direct physical violence in Iraq was mirrored this week with political turmoil as the government of Nouri al-Maliki erupted into conflict with the semi-autonomous Kurdish government.