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The situation in Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egypt continues to worsen. Egypt has become an economic basket case, with its hard currency reserves depleted, its tourism industry largely defunct, and its food supplies shrinking, potentially threatening its entire population with starvation. Meanwhile, the increasingly totalitarian Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood government, led by President Mohammed Morsi, largely ignores these deep-seated problems to instead focus on violently cracking down on Egyptian political dissenters, secular Muslims, women, and Coptic Christians, prosecuting independent press figures and comedians for blasphemy against the government, and demonizing Jews. But none of this bad behavior has caused the United States to rethink its approach of providing an annual subsidy of 1.5 billion dollars in American aid, about 80% of which is directed towards the Egyptian military. Even when President Morsi repeatedly calls for the re lease of the Blind Sheikh, a terrorist responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center who is now in prison in the U.S., nothing seems to change.
What can, and should, the U.S. do about Egypt? On May 24th, EMET will convene an expert panel to debate and answer this question. Our panel will include:
David Goldman: David Goldman is a noted demographer and author and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He joined PJ Media in August 2011 after nearly 10 years of essaying as the Pseudonymous “Spengler” at Asia Times Online and two years of editing and writing at First Things. He’s the author of How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too). Mr. Goldman’s career has been split between the financial and cultural worlds, and gives him a unique perspective. He has written extensively on cultural and religious matters, and held senior jobs on Wall Street, including as the global head of bond research at Bank of America. David Goldman has been tracking the economic deterioration and financial mismanagement of Egypt in his writings for several years, utilizing his experience as an economist and demographer. This is his second appearance at an EMET seminar concerning Egypt; he previously discussed the economic problems facing the Egyptian regime.
Raymond Stock: Raymond Stock is currently a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at Middle East Forum. He is a former Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Drew University (2010-11) and Guggenheim Fellow (2007), who lived in Cairo for 20 years (1990-2010). He has a BA in Mass Media/Foreign Affairs from Grand Valley State University (1980), and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan (1983). With a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania (2008), he has published widely on the Middle East in such periodicals as The Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and the Middle East Quarterly. His translations from Arabic fiction have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, London Magazine, and other venues; he has further translated seven books by Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature Naguib Ma hfouz. Professor Stock was denied entry and deported by the regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on a return visit in December 2010, apparently due to his 2009 article criticizing then-Culture Minister Farouk Hosni’s bid to head UNESCO in Foreign Policy Magazine. This is his second appearance at an EMET seminar concerning Egypt; he previously discussed the Muslim Brotherhood’s recent efforts to develop a nuclear bomb.
Cynthia Farahat: Cynthia Farahat is a well-known civil rights activist from Egypt and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. She was formerly the Advocacy Director for Coptic Solidarity. She was the co-founder of the Masr el-Om Party, later called the Liberal Egyptian Party (2003-2009), which was a secular, liberal, and democratic political party in Egypt. From 2008-2009, she was program coordinator and program officer at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty in Cairo, a multi-national free market think tank. She has published in National Review, Middle East Quarterly, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and in other publications in both English and Arabic. In December 2011, Ms. Farahat testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the US House of Representatives on the roots of the persecution of the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt. In 2012, Ms. Farahat was h onored by EMET with a Rays of Light award for her democratic and human rights activism in the Middle East.