Fursa Sa'ida فرصة سعيدة

Literally "Happy chance," but it means "Nice to meet you" in Arabic. (I chose the name when I was living in Egypt.)

If you're looking for substance, there's a handy link called "Analysis" right down below, which I invite you to check out. The rest is shorter thoughts, humor, caps lock, and the occasional personal post. Ask me anything you like.

FYI, I co-blog a lot of pop culture, fangirly things with my dear CT over at 22drunkb. If you enjoy hilarity and flailing, head that way. ________

Tagged politics:

Iraqi Poet احمد مطر Ahmed Matar

Yesterday, I phoned hope and said: 
Is it possible to extract a perfume from Fesikh and Onion?
He said: Yes
I said: and is it possible to light fire from water/wetness?
He said: Yes
I said: and can honey be extracted from Colocynth (bitter apple)? and He Said: Yes
I said: and is it possible to place the Earth in Saturn’s pocket? 
He said: Yes, certainly, of course everything is possible 
I said: then surely, our Arab leaders/rulers will one day feel ashamed? 
and hope said: spit in my face if that ever happened. 

(via isqineeha)

Jan 03
أمس اتصلت بالأمل
قلت له: هل ممكن
أن يخرج العطر من الفسيخ والبصل ؟
قال: أجل
قلت: وهل يمكن
أن تشعَل النار بالبلل ؟
قال: أجل
قلت: وهل من الحنظل يمكن تقطير العسل ؟
قال: نعم
قلت: وهل يمكن
وضع الأرض في جيب زحل ؟
قال: نعم ، بلى ، أجل
فكل شيء محتمل
فقلت: إذن حكامنا العرب سيشعرون يوما بالخجل ؟
قال: ابصق على وجهي إذا هذا حصل

occupiedmuslim:

oswaldofguadalupe:

The Twitter Mandela Hall Of Shame

AH SHYXAA HAHAHA SHOTS FIRED AND FIRED WELL

Dec 07

trms:

And the Iranian President just retweeted Secretary of State John Kerry. Welcome to Twitter diplomacy in 2013. (via @alexjgoldstein) More on the MaddowBlog.

Nov 24
trms:

And the Iranian President just retweeted Secretary of State John Kerry. Welcome to Twitter diplomacy in 2013. (via @alexjgoldstein) More on the MaddowBlog.

majdalshams:

the relationship between religion and state in Saudi Arabia is very complex and very dynamic in the sense that it went through numerous changes and can’t be simplified or reduced to wahabism (which should be called revivalism of Tawhid because that’s what shiekh Abdel Wahab tried to do and it would still fall under the Hanabali umbrella too). Both Abdel-Wahab and Al-Saud realized that reviving Tawhid and expansion goals could not be achieved without the other; thus, a marriage between the two was form which guarantees the control of religious life for Abdel-Wahab and governance power to Al-Suad where religion legitimizes Al-Saud’s rule while it protects the efforts to revitalize Tawhid. But Saudi Arabia soon realized the deficiencies of revivalism of Tawhid as a state policy since it’s creates an unrealistic frame for Al-Saud to deal with complex geopolitics. So Saudi rulers opted for more secular approach for foreign policy and security issues while putting revivalism of Tawhid agenda to the side in favor for modernizing Saudi Arabia. the 1979 seizure of the Holly Mosque in Macca which was a response to the overwhelming westernization of Saudi Arabia promoted the kingdom to implement a much more conservative laws and state policy as means to guarantee the continuous support of the religious institute to legitimize Al-Suad’s rule. The iraqi invasion of Kuwait would further prove that revivalism of Tawhid isn’t a realistic scope to let foreign policy be that particular vision of Islam; thus, Al-Saud adopted, once again, a much more secular approach in regards to foreign policies which created a disdain on the side of conservative Muslims towards Saudi Arabia which continues to this day. Revivalism of Tawhid has very limited influence on the Saudi Arabian government and in its foreign policies even though it still lends legitimacy to Al-Saud’s rule. 

You are completely free not to answer if you don’t feel like it, but I just want to ask: would you also say that the government’s domestic policies are far more secular than the revivalism would suggest, as well as its foreign policy? I’m asking not at all to derail to the “Saudi is the worst” discourse, I just want to figure out exactly where my misconceptions do and don’t lie. My understanding has been that the domestic policies tend to be more religiously oriented and conservative, in part to keep the religious elements of the state’s authority happy, while foreign policy has been more secular for the sake of basic effectiveness, as you said. 

Nov 24
Nov 24

redphilistine:

majdalshams:

redphilistine:

I’m sorry but what do you mean exactly by wahabi reactionism?

i mean that wahhabism is an extremist sectarian movement that the saudi regime has utilized through its oil wealth as a vehicle for its own political influence throughout the middle east and beyond.

I personally have huge problem calling Saudi Arabia’s usage of religion as wahabi because it paints this very western influenced image which incites that Saudi’s politics are at the service of a religious cause when its not (that’s why I asked for an explanation). also, using wahabi erases the secular based ideology/goals that Saudi Arabia adopted since 1930s which were heavily influenced by territorial expansion and ensuring security of the territory. I would argue that there’s a clear schism that’s been forming for a while now between ultra-conservative 7anabilas since king Abdallah is much more willing and open to employ secular foreign policies. 

tbc i didn’t say that religion is the only driving factor behind the regime’s policies, foreign or otherwise. the phrase i used is wahhabi reactionism, by which i mean political reactionism of a wahhabi flavor.

i think that’s fair and accurate. the symbiotic relationship between the regime and the ultra-conservative clerical class, most especially since the 1970s, can’t just be ignored.

Nov 24
Nov 24

The real force behind Egypt’s ‘revolution of the state’, which I will probably be mining for weeks

I’m inclined to think both of these things are true, tbh. As this article makes very clear, there is a decades-long history of total opposition, hatred, and mistrust between the Ikhwan and the Interior Ministry (i.e. the police and security forces). I wrote once, in the aftermath of the Raba’a massacre:

[…I]n terms of the police’s experience, it makes some sense. All of these guys came up under Mubarak. They came up in a system of routine police brutality. Not on this level, and not, I think, so publicly, but it’s not like it was secret either. The Ikhwan show up and get into power, and for the police it’s literally turning the world upside down. The exact same guys they’ve spent their careers arresting and beating and generally keeping down are suddenly in charge. The guys they’ve been indoctrinated to see as enemies of Egypt and madmen. Of course they stopped doing their jobs under Morsi. Of course they’ve enthusiastically gotten back in the game with Sisi. 

The Ikhwan, meanwhile, have spent their lives being hunted, beaten, arrested, tortured, and imprisoned by the police. There was never any chance the two groups were going to suddenly play nice once Morsi became president.

It seems very likely to me that Morsi & co. had plans to weaken the Ministry, and it seems very likely to me that the Ministry never even came close to accepting Morsi’s rule and sought to undermine him from the start. While each side’s actions certainly didn’t help in terms of gaining trust from the other (lulz, pipe dream), I really highly doubt it wouldn’t have gone the same way no matter what. These two groups are basically mortal enemies, which is why the key was who could get and keep the army on their side; the army is the tiebreaker, so to speak.

Initially, the Ikhwan and the army had a fairly comfortable working relationship (I’m saying, initially after the election, not initially in Egypt’s history—for more on that, read this and start at “To look a little at the Ikhwan’s part in the history we just went over”). Much of what this article shows is how the Ministry managed to get the Army on its side instead. What’s also important to remember is that Morsi fundamentally miscalculated which actors were important. He seems to have thought that he had the army more or less under control and that the Interior Ministry was irrelevant, and focused far too much on liberal discontent, small-time political rivals, foreign policy, and (consistently bungled) small domestic measures. He should have kept a better eye on the Ministry, and even more important, he shouldn’t have taken his relationship with the army for granted. (This is all how it looks to me; there’s not enough information on inside baseball in his tenure going around yet to really know, so it’s just how I see it.)

But he did, and the Ministry managed to bring the army around to their way of thinking. Morsi’s general incompetence and misguided rhetoric played a part in that, I’m sure, but the real battleground was for the army’s loyalty, and he screwed the pooch on that one.

Oct 14

Interior Ministry officials believed that the Brotherhood planned to restructure the ministry, one state security officer said. Concerned officials discussed the issue in a private meeting in the parliament. One option was the cancellation of the police academy. Many saw that as a threat to their institution and careers.

"The news became known to young officers. This action is against the interest of the officers. He was fighting their future," said the state security officer.

Muslim Brotherhood officials have denied plotting against the Interior Ministry and say there were no plans to dismantle the police academy. They have previously accused Interior Ministry officials of working to undermine the government, refusing to protect Brotherhood leaders, and trying to turn the public against the group’s rule.

"We cooperated with the Interior Ministry all along. We never had plans to undermine it or the police academy. It was the Interior Ministry that refused to work with us," said Brotherhood official Kamal Fahim. "All along they resisted us and tried to turn Egyptians against us."

Politicians talk a lot of smack about Wall Street, but tbh, they don’t give a fuck.

lolmythesis:

Political Science, Williams College

Fursa Sa'ida فرصة سعيدة

Posted on Friday January 3rd 2014 at 10:51pm. Its tags are listed below.

أمس اتصلت بالأمل
قلت له: هل ممكن
أن يخرج العطر من الفسيخ والبصل ؟
قال: أجل
قلت: وهل يمكن
أن تشعَل النار بالبلل ؟
قال: أجل
قلت: وهل من الحنظل يمكن تقطير العسل ؟
قال: نعم
قلت: وهل يمكن
وضع الأرض في جيب زحل ؟
قال: نعم ، بلى ، أجل
فكل شيء محتمل
فقلت: إذن حكامنا العرب سيشعرون يوما بالخجل ؟
قال: ابصق على وجهي إذا هذا حصل

Iraqi Poet احمد مطر Ahmed Matar

Yesterday, I phoned hope and said: 
Is it possible to extract a perfume from Fesikh and Onion?
He said: Yes
I said: and is it possible to light fire from water/wetness?
He said: Yes
I said: and can honey be extracted from Colocynth (bitter apple)? and He Said: Yes
I said: and is it possible to place the Earth in Saturn’s pocket? 
He said: Yes, certainly, of course everything is possible 
I said: then surely, our Arab leaders/rulers will one day feel ashamed? 
and hope said: spit in my face if that ever happened. 

(via isqineeha)

occupiedmuslim:

oswaldofguadalupe:

The Twitter Mandela Hall Of Shame

AH SHYXAA HAHAHA SHOTS FIRED AND FIRED WELL

trms:

And the Iranian President just retweeted Secretary of State John Kerry. Welcome to Twitter diplomacy in 2013. (via @alexjgoldstein) More on the MaddowBlog.
trms:

And the Iranian President just retweeted Secretary of State John Kerry. Welcome to Twitter diplomacy in 2013. (via @alexjgoldstein) More on the MaddowBlog.

trms:

And the Iranian President just retweeted Secretary of State John Kerry. Welcome to Twitter diplomacy in 2013. (via @alexjgoldstein) More on the MaddowBlog.

Fursa Sa'ida فرصة سعيدة

Posted on Sunday November 24th 2013 at 08:27pm. Its tags are listed below.

http://fursasaida.tumblr.com/post/68012678271/majdalshams-the-relationship-between-religion

majdalshams:

majdalshams:

the relationship between religion and state in Saudi Arabia is very complex and very dynamic in the sense that it went through numerous changes and can’t be simplified or reduced to wahabism (which should be called revivalism of Tawhid because that’s what shiekh Abdel Wahab…

domestic polices are definitely more religiously motivated and based on conservative approach to Islam, you’re definitely right on this one, but it wasn’t always the case. before the 80s, domestic policies were more inline with secular vision of what Saudi Arabia ought to be and the state went out of its way to bring in advanced technology and reforms to the country which upset a lot of the conservatives-revivalist who saw those new technology as bid’ah (idek how is that even justifiable through Sharia) but they made sure to criticize they technology/reforms but not the state. after the seizure of the Ka’abah in 1979, really damaged the legitimacy of the Saudi state as the protector/representation of Islam and the only way that the Saudi government ensured the support of the religious institute to keep their legitimacy was through introducing a much more conservative laws. the Saudi governments gets away with its secular foreign policies as long they implement conservatives domestic policies. 

Okay, right. That makes a lot of sense. My mom actually lived in Saudi for a year and a half in the 70s (her first husband was involved in setting up the banking system, apparently?) and she’s talked several times about how different it was in terms of infrastructure and tech. Thank you!

Posted on Sunday November 24th 2013 at 07:47pm. Its tags are listed below.

majdalshams:

the relationship between religion and state in Saudi Arabia is very complex and very dynamic in the sense that it went through numerous changes and can’t be simplified or reduced to wahabism (which should be called revivalism of Tawhid because that’s what shiekh Abdel Wahab tried to do and it would still fall under the Hanabali umbrella too). Both Abdel-Wahab and Al-Saud realized that reviving Tawhid and expansion goals could not be achieved without the other; thus, a marriage between the two was form which guarantees the control of religious life for Abdel-Wahab and governance power to Al-Suad where religion legitimizes Al-Saud’s rule while it protects the efforts to revitalize Tawhid. But Saudi Arabia soon realized the deficiencies of revivalism of Tawhid as a state policy since it’s creates an unrealistic frame for Al-Saud to deal with complex geopolitics. So Saudi rulers opted for more secular approach for foreign policy and security issues while putting revivalism of Tawhid agenda to the side in favor for modernizing Saudi Arabia. the 1979 seizure of the Holly Mosque in Macca which was a response to the overwhelming westernization of Saudi Arabia promoted the kingdom to implement a much more conservative laws and state policy as means to guarantee the continuous support of the religious institute to legitimize Al-Suad’s rule. The iraqi invasion of Kuwait would further prove that revivalism of Tawhid isn’t a realistic scope to let foreign policy be that particular vision of Islam; thus, Al-Saud adopted, once again, a much more secular approach in regards to foreign policies which created a disdain on the side of conservative Muslims towards Saudi Arabia which continues to this day. Revivalism of Tawhid has very limited influence on the Saudi Arabian government and in its foreign policies even though it still lends legitimacy to Al-Saud’s rule. 

You are completely free not to answer if you don’t feel like it, but I just want to ask: would you also say that the government’s domestic policies are far more secular than the revivalism would suggest, as well as its foreign policy? I’m asking not at all to derail to the “Saudi is the worst” discourse, I just want to figure out exactly where my misconceptions do and don’t lie. My understanding has been that the domestic policies tend to be more religiously oriented and conservative, in part to keep the religious elements of the state’s authority happy, while foreign policy has been more secular for the sake of basic effectiveness, as you said. 

Posted on Sunday November 24th 2013 at 07:26pm. Its tags are listed below.

redphilistine:

majdalshams:

redphilistine:

I’m sorry but what do you mean exactly by wahabi reactionism?

i mean that wahhabism is an extremist sectarian movement that the saudi regime has utilized through its oil wealth as a vehicle for its own political influence throughout the middle east and beyond.

I personally have huge problem calling Saudi Arabia’s usage of religion as wahabi because it paints this very western influenced image which incites that Saudi’s politics are at the service of a religious cause when its not (that’s why I asked for an explanation). also, using wahabi erases the secular based ideology/goals that Saudi Arabia adopted since 1930s which were heavily influenced by territorial expansion and ensuring security of the territory. I would argue that there’s a clear schism that’s been forming for a while now between ultra-conservative 7anabilas since king Abdallah is much more willing and open to employ secular foreign policies. 

tbc i didn’t say that religion is the only driving factor behind the regime’s policies, foreign or otherwise. the phrase i used is wahhabi reactionism, by which i mean political reactionism of a wahhabi flavor.

i think that’s fair and accurate. the symbiotic relationship between the regime and the ultra-conservative clerical class, most especially since the 1970s, can’t just be ignored.

Fursa Sa'ida فرصة سعيدة

Posted on Monday October 14th 2013 at 07:45pm. Its tags are listed below.

Interior Ministry officials believed that the Brotherhood planned to restructure the ministry, one state security officer said. Concerned officials discussed the issue in a private meeting in the parliament. One option was the cancellation of the police academy. Many saw that as a threat to their institution and careers.

"The news became known to young officers. This action is against the interest of the officers. He was fighting their future," said the state security officer.

Muslim Brotherhood officials have denied plotting against the Interior Ministry and say there were no plans to dismantle the police academy. They have previously accused Interior Ministry officials of working to undermine the government, refusing to protect Brotherhood leaders, and trying to turn the public against the group’s rule.

"We cooperated with the Interior Ministry all along. We never had plans to undermine it or the police academy. It was the Interior Ministry that refused to work with us," said Brotherhood official Kamal Fahim. "All along they resisted us and tried to turn Egyptians against us."

The real force behind Egypt’s ‘revolution of the state’, which I will probably be mining for weeks

I’m inclined to think both of these things are true, tbh. As this article makes very clear, there is a decades-long history of total opposition, hatred, and mistrust between the Ikhwan and the Interior Ministry (i.e. the police and security forces). I wrote once, in the aftermath of the Raba’a massacre:

[…I]n terms of the police’s experience, it makes some sense. All of these guys came up under Mubarak. They came up in a system of routine police brutality. Not on this level, and not, I think, so publicly, but it’s not like it was secret either. The Ikhwan show up and get into power, and for the police it’s literally turning the world upside down. The exact same guys they’ve spent their careers arresting and beating and generally keeping down are suddenly in charge. The guys they’ve been indoctrinated to see as enemies of Egypt and madmen. Of course they stopped doing their jobs under Morsi. Of course they’ve enthusiastically gotten back in the game with Sisi. 

The Ikhwan, meanwhile, have spent their lives being hunted, beaten, arrested, tortured, and imprisoned by the police. There was never any chance the two groups were going to suddenly play nice once Morsi became president.

It seems very likely to me that Morsi & co. had plans to weaken the Ministry, and it seems very likely to me that the Ministry never even came close to accepting Morsi’s rule and sought to undermine him from the start. While each side’s actions certainly didn’t help in terms of gaining trust from the other (lulz, pipe dream), I really highly doubt it wouldn’t have gone the same way no matter what. These two groups are basically mortal enemies, which is why the key was who could get and keep the army on their side; the army is the tiebreaker, so to speak.

Initially, the Ikhwan and the army had a fairly comfortable working relationship (I’m saying, initially after the election, not initially in Egypt’s history—for more on that, read this and start at “To look a little at the Ikhwan’s part in the history we just went over”). Much of what this article shows is how the Ministry managed to get the Army on its side instead. What’s also important to remember is that Morsi fundamentally miscalculated which actors were important. He seems to have thought that he had the army more or less under control and that the Interior Ministry was irrelevant, and focused far too much on liberal discontent, small-time political rivals, foreign policy, and (consistently bungled) small domestic measures. He should have kept a better eye on the Ministry, and even more important, he shouldn’t have taken his relationship with the army for granted. (This is all how it looks to me; there’s not enough information on inside baseball in his tenure going around yet to really know, so it’s just how I see it.)

But he did, and the Ministry managed to bring the army around to their way of thinking. Morsi’s general incompetence and misguided rhetoric played a part in that, I’m sure, but the real battleground was for the army’s loyalty, and he screwed the pooch on that one.

Fursa Sa'ida فرصة سعيدة

Posted on Thursday October 10th 2013 at 05:00pm. Its tags are listed below.

What Happened to Egypt’s Liberals After the Coup?

This is good. This is very good. It explains a lot about why the “liberals” have basically rolled over for the army and how the anti-Morsi coup came about. There’s way, way too much for me to go through it all—this post would be ten years long—but I’ll try to pare down to some highlights.

The turning point came on August 14, when the military and security forces brutally cleared the two mass sit-ins in Cairo that formed the epicenter of support for the ousted president. Hundreds of people were killed in what Human Rights Watch describes as “the most serious incident of mass unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history.”

The National Salvation Front leadership, which includes former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabahi and Amr Moussa, put out a statement applauding the raids. Two days later, Dawoud—who describes himself as a “leftist, not a liberal”—resigned as the group’s spokesperson.

“We wanted a political deal, we wanted Morsi removed, but we didn’t want to suppress [the Muslim Brotherhood] or kill them or consider them an outlawed organization,” he says, sitting on a heavily cracked black leather couch in the offices of Al-Ahram Weekly, the state-owned English-language publication where he has worked as a journalist since 1996. After resigning, he says, “even some close friends called me a Brotherhood sympathizer, a secret cell, a traitor and a US agent.”

This is a huge part of the problem. Too many politicians in Egypt don’t see much room for any kind of middle path, nuanced position. Politics in Egypt is still mostly perceived as a winner-take-all, zero-sum system. You can see the same here: “the flock of non-Islamist political parties and figures routinely lumped together as “liberals,” despite the fact that many of them have rejected any notion of political pluralism, a defining characteristic of liberalism.” This perspective is a big part of what killed Morsi’s presidency (the Ikhwan acted this way far too much, destroying any chance for building allies or addressing people’s fears that the country was on its way to theocracy) and it’s a major block to progress after the country’s next elections.

(Yes, I think there will be elections. The army already did this once and they don’t like being in the spotlight of government. How meaningful those elections will be is a different matter.)

Read More

On the surface, Israeli apologists might argue that the heightened emphasis on Iran is an existential issue due to the fear that Iran is on the verge of developing a nuclear bomb, an assertion the Iranians flatly reject. The new Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, mocked Netanyahu, noting that Israelis have been claiming for 22 years that Iran is six months away from developing nuclear military capabilities.

A more logical explanation is that the obsession of Israeli leaders with Iran is a clever attempt at diverting attention from the Palestinian issue, where negotiations are not moving and where his right-wing government is reluctant to make any serious concessions.

Despite Netanyahu’s claim that all six prime ministers since the Oslo Accords as well as himself are willing to make “painful concessions,” the reality on the ground is quite different. The fact that the number of settlers has doubled since the Oslo Accords were signed is the most obvious sign that Israeli leaders actions speak much louder than their own words.