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Omar Ashour

For Omar Ashour's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Dec 6, 2012

Egypt's democratic dictator?

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first-ever elected civilian president, recently granted himself sweeping temporary powers in order, he claims, to attain the objectives of the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. But the decrees incited strong opposition from many of the revolutionary forces that helped to ...

Sep 20, 2012

Coming to grips with Libya's jihadists

“They are armed and I am not going to fight a losing battle and kill my men over a demolished shrine,” said Fawzi Abd al-’Aali, the former Libyan interior minister, before he “resigned” last August. He was referring to the armed Salafi groups that ...

Aug 11, 2012

Egypt's new old government

Egypt’s first-ever freely elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, has appointed his first Cabinet, and guess what? It is crammed with officials from the old regime. Morsi’s government clearly reflects the balance of power between the president and the Supreme Council of the ...

Jul 23, 2012

Libyan election another Arab Spring paradox

“We certainly did not expect the results, but … our future is certainly better than our present and our past,” said Sami al-Saadi, the former ideologue of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the founder of the political party al-Umma al-Wasat, which finished third ...

May 30, 2012

Who will triumph in Egypt?

Everything about Egypt’s revolution has been unexpected, and the first-round results in the country’s first-ever competitive presidential election are no different. The rise of former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Gen. Ahmed Shafiq, who will enter the presidential runoff alongside the Muslim Brothers ...

Feb 2, 2012

What does Egypt's military leadership want?

“Whatever the majority in the People’s Assembly, they are very welcome, because they won’t have the ability to impose anything that the people don’t want.” Thus declared Gen. Mukhtar al-Mulla, a member of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Al-Mulla’s message ...

Jan 9, 2012

Salafi challenge to an Egypt ruled without God

“We want democracy, but one constrained by God’s laws. Ruling without God’s laws is infidelity,” Yasser Burhami, the second leading figure in the Salafi Call Society (SCS) and its most charismatic leader, recently said. The unexpected rise of the Salafis in Egypt’s parliamentary election ...

Nov 24, 2011

Lack of leadership hobbles Egypt's revolution

The man who taught me to sacrifice my heart for Egypt is dead,” said Vivian Magdi, mourning her fiancé. Michael Mosad was killed in the Maspiro area Oct. 9, when an armored vehicle hit him during a protest called to condemn an attack on ...

Aug 10, 2011

Hosni Mubarak's last laugh?

August 3, 2011, will be remembered as a historic day in Egypt. Former President Hosni Mubarak was put on public trial, together with his two sons and his ex-interior minister, General Habib el-Adly. The repercussions for Egypt, indeed for the entire Arab world, will ...