Blog entries from: MEI Editor's Blog

A Blog by the Editor of the Middle East Journal

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November 26 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Wed Nov 26 2014, 23:43:00

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, beginning a long four-day holiday weekend. As usual on holidays I won't be doing routine blogging, unless circumstances demand it.  (The big Islamist demonstration in Egypt Friday could prove to be a flashpoint.) Otherwise, I'll be back Monday.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Wed Nov 26 2014, 20:25:00

Having started the day with the news of the death of Sabah at age 87, it seems only appropriate to check in with the current generation of celebrity superstar Lebanese divas. Haifa Wehbe has been in the news at least three different ways in the past week or so.

Egypt's State Radio announced that  her songs will no longer receive airtime on State Radio because she is "unlicensed," invoking a 1934 law requiring singers to undergo a voice test. Resurrecting  this old rule may be an attempt to provide cover for the banning the day before of the music of Hamza Namira, who is a critic of the regime. The ban applies only to State Radio, not Private stations.

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November 25 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Nov 25 2014, 08:57:00

The Vatican, yesterday. Leaving aside how this will make Muslim Brotherhood heads explode, note that Pope Francis chose his name after Saint Francis of Assisi. Wait: Assisi?

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From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Nov 25 2014, 08:33:00

If Beji Caid Essebsi, who got 42% of the vote to Moncef Marouki's 34% in the first round in Tunisia, wins the December runoff, older folk like me may need better glasses when reading small print in Arabic newspapers.


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November 24 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Nov 24 2014, 15:35:00

Early indications suggest that thr results of yesterday's Tunisian Presidential election will see Beji Caid Essebsi of Nidaa Tounes and Moncef Marzouki will face each other in a runoff next month.

There were 27 candidates on the ballot (though five of these had withdrawn after the ballots were printed). Essebsi's Nidaa Tounes Party won the largest number of seats in last month's Parliamentary elections; Marzouki is the outgoing incumbent President of the transitional period.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Nov 24 2014, 09:11:00

Last weej Egypt's Middle East News Agency (MENA, the official state news agency) quoted Egypt's Investment Minister as saying  "there are  discussions going on" with Disney about building a theme park in Egypt.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Nov 24 2014, 08:18:00

Umm al-Dunya ("the Mother of the World," a proverbial name for Egypt), shedding a tear, and clad  of course in the colors of the Egyptian flag,  caresses ex-General Sisi (still in uniform though), and says "Thank you, you who returned my life and dignity to me." I think this came from Al-Yawm al-Sabi', an independent (but very pro-Sisi) daily (despite its name "Saturday"; it started as a weekly).

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November 21 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Nov 21 2014, 22:19:00

A couple of weeks back  I discussed the British landings in Mesopotamia and the "First Fights on the Road to Basra, November 6-12, 1914."  It's time for an update. On this day and the next two a century ago British and Indian force occupied Basra.

After General Walter Delamain and the 16th Brigade of the 6th (Poona) Division of Indian Expeditionary Force "D" had secured their landings at Fao, Abadan and Muhammara, he was reinforced by the arrival of the another brigade, the 18th, and the Divisional HQ. General Sir Arthur Barrett, Commander of the 6th Division,  took command. Barrett arrived with orders to take Basra.

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