Blog entries from: MEI Editor's Blog

A Blog by the Editor of the Middle East Journal

1 to 10 of 299

April 16 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Wed Apr 16 2014, 23:01:00

Algerians go to the polls tomorrow. There will be six candidates on the ballot, five men and a woman, of varying ideological orientations and ages. Then they will elect an ailing 77-year-old man who made no public campaign speeches.

But you knew that already.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Wed Apr 16 2014, 13:52:00

We often discuss Arabic dialects here, and here are a couple of additions:

A while back I linked to an article on how an Israeli researcher had claimed Cairo's jewelry merchants used a secret language that included Hebrew words. That same scholar has also produced a more thorough study of the dialect of Egypt's (now nearly gone) Jewish community:From the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo: Gabriel Rosenbaum, "The Arabic Dialect of Jews in Modern Egypt."

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April 15 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Apr 15 2014, 21:52:00

This is getting attention from Egyptians: a member of the Tamarod Movement that launched the June 30 protests appears to acknowledge that the movement was bring manipulated by the Army.

If true, I doubt if this will have much effect on the overall enthusiasm for Sisi, and it may be typical Middle Eastern conspiracy-mongering, but it adds a certain irony to all the protest e-mails I received last summer insisting it was "not a coup."

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From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Apr 15 2014, 19:15:00

Dr. Reuven Pedatzur, national security correspondent and commentator at Ha'aretz and a lecturer at several academic institutions, has died in an accident after stopping his motorcycle on the coast highway.

A Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University, in addition to his media commentary Prof. Pedatzur had published numerous academic articles, including in The Middle East Journal.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Apr 15 2014, 17:47:00

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan has been relieved of his post as Directoe of Saudi General Intelligence, the Kingdom announced today. The announcement of the Royal Order indicated that Bandar had been relieved "at his request" and that General Yusuf bin 'Ali al-Idrisi would act as head of General Intelligence.

The move follows reports in February that responsibility for Syrian affairs had been transferred from Bandar to Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef.

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April 14 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Apr 14 2014, 21:29:00

Even former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had welcomed Richard N. Frye's request to be buried in his beloved Isfahan, and had given Frye a home there. But the hardliners in Iran, whose opposition I noted a few day ago, have stepped up their attacks on the idea of burying Frye on Iranian soil. (Also see here.)

Probably no Weterner (and certainly no American) has done more to promote knowledge and understanding of Iranian culture and society in the West, yet now the mortal remains of the great Harvard expert who died recently at the age of 94, have become political football in Iran, a stand-in I suspect for the nuclear talks with the US and those who seek to scuttle them. (To their credit, serious scholars in Iran are supporting the burial).

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From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Apr 14 2014, 12:35:00

Passover begins at sundown today, and since Jewis readers will be otherwise occupied then,let me wish them best wishes in advvance on this night that is different from all other nights.

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April 12 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Sat Apr 12 2014, 23:41:00

Patrick Seale (

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April 11 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Apr 11 2014, 19:11:00

Deputy US Secretary of State William Burns is retiring from the Foreign Service this year. His career has been a distinguished and varied one, but no small part of it dealt with the Middle East. Although the linked article does not mention it, he served as Ambassador to Jordan (where I crossed paths with him a time or two), and also (which is mentioned) as Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs. He also was Ambassador to Russia, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and mos recently was Under Secretary, only the second career Foreign Service Officer to hold that post; most recently he handled the backchannel contacts through Oman that led to the US-Iran nuclear talks. Bill Burns has had a distinguished career, though many Americans won't no his name, and he will be missed. I ...

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