The fallacy of claiming the Islamic State is a bigger threat to world order than Cold War communism. (Debate) 


The Sydney University Politics Society
have organised a debate titled:
The Islamic State is a bigger thrrefugees from ISISeat to world order than Cold War communism.

Although I disagree with the premise of the debate, I agreed to take part in it. I will be in the negative and therefore my position will be, basically, that ISIS is a dangerous security threat, but they are no Soviet Union. The talk will be more nuanced than that :).

Time: 5pm
Date: 2 June 2015
Venue: The Refectory, Quadrangle, University of Sydney

Facebook event page


The Strategic Implications of ISIS (Lecture)


My talk will examine the strategic threat of ISIS on Syria,
Saudi-Iran relations, West-Iran relations, Arab uprisings,
strategic implications in the Middle EastIraqi Kurdistan and the dangerous precedent set by having a new ideology injected into the world of affairs. It will also look at how the regional discourse is being reshaped to roll back the appeal and narrative of ISIS.

Time: 5pm
Date: 21 May 2015
Venue: Simmonds Lecture Theatre, G01, General Purpose Building, University of Western Australia.
See Facebook event for updates.
Organised by the UWA International Relations Society.



Despotism and the unmaking of the Egyptian Citizen (conference paper)


I will be giving a presentation this Friday titled “Despotism and the Unmaking of the Egyptian Citizen” at the New Law School, seminar room 342. University of Sydney. At 1.15pm – 2.45pm.
This is part of a panel that includes Lucia Sorbera (presenting Gender, Politics,and Political Legitimacy in Egypt), Sara Verdi (On Memorialisation, AUC) and Walid El Khachab (Popular culture and Reclaiming the public space: Resistance in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, York University). Chaired by May Telmissany (University of Ottowa).
The conference starts this Thursday at 9.15am, and ends on Friday evening. Details on the conference can be viewed here:

Conference program (PDF): Conference Program – April 9-10 2015


How New Beginnings Are Made – From Hannah Arendt to Alain Badiou (Lecture)


Arendt Badiou

click here for the Facebook event.

في السابعة من مساء الخميس 2 أبريل يقدم لكم عمرو علي محاضرة بعنوان (صناعة البدايات من حنا آرنت إلى آلان باديو). تتناول هذه المحاضرة ظاهرة البدايات الجديدة وكيفية حدوثها في العالم، والآليات التي تعزز خلخلة – إن لم يكن اقتلاع – الإطار السياسي والاجتماعي الذي يعرقل التدفق “المتوقع” للتاريخ ويتيح لأشياءٍ جديدة أن ترى النور، والأحداث في المجال العام- وفي أوجها الثورة – التي تخلق مزجًا جديدًا غير متوقع في عالم السياسة. عمرو علي باحث دكتوراه في جامعة سيدني بأستراليا وزميل زائر في مركز برلين للعلوم الاجتماعية ومحلل لشؤون الشرق الأوسط.


The Agony of Alexandria (Lecture)




The Agony of Alexandria lecture examines the political, economic and socio-cultural tensions running through the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The talk provides an analysis on how the state has politically branded the city for ideological goals, from Nasser’s reprimanding and marginalisation of Alexandria for its long association with royal decadence to Mubarak’s manipulation of the city’s public spaces for reconciliation steps with the West. This, among other factors, undermined the Alexandrians’ sense of civic ownership. Moreover, the post-2011 events are further fracturing the coastal city as decades of centralisation have come to a head resulting in the disruption of the urban fabric, brain drain to the capital, hampering of civil society’s growth, the rise of the real estate mafia and the gradual disintegration of the cultural imaginary. The session will conclude with comprehensive ways in which these trends can arguably be reversed. The working language for this lecture will be in English.


Whither Democracy in Egypt? (lecture)


If you are in Sydney, then please feel free to come to a talk this FridA handcuffed protester sits on the ground at a huge camp in Cairo's Al-Nahdaay 27 Sept 2013 that me and Macquarie University lecturer  Noah Bassil will be presenting on the topic: “Whither Democracy in Egypt?” Noah will be discussing the role and relationships between the Brotherhood, the Egyptian state and the US. My talk will discuss the political trajectory of Egypt’s hindered democratic development and the challenges of reforming the brutal security forces.
Time: 6pm to 7.45pm
Date: 27th September 2013
Location: The Gaelic Club, 64 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills


Redefining Alexandria: The Liberal, Salafi, and Muslim Brotherhood Struggle Over the Public Space (conference abstract)


Conference title: Competing Visions in the Muslim World: Rebuilding States and Reinvigorating Civil Societies
Venue: University of Sydney

Date: 14-16 August 2013

My presentation is at 10.30am, 15/Aug/2013, at the Professorial Board Room, The Quadrangle.

Redefining Alexandria: The Liberal, Salafi, and Muslim  Brotherhood Struggle Over the Public Space (conference abstract)

This study seeks to understand the primacy of politics in the public space and the rise of a revolutionary space in Egypt’s second largest city of Alexandria. The city has experienced a long history of political struggles to brand the city in which the state led the destruction of the political by manipulating people and places and injecting external meaning rather than allowing a self-creation by Alexandrian society. The 2011 Revolution was in part an unintended consequence of that Alexprotestsbranding. The dramatic birth of public space and politics in Alexandria was crystallised during the tumultuous but electrifying 18 days of the 2011 uprising – the net result was the birth of an invigorated political public. Individuals of differing ideological persuasions in the coastal city mustered the courage to interrupt their routine activities and break out of their private lives to assemble and produce a public space where freedom and plurality could materialise. However, this human togetherness would be temporal and would make way for Alexandria’s liberals, Salafists and Brotherhood supporters to battle for “control” of the public space and attempt to marginalise the other.

Alexandria is a paradox given that it has swung from a cosmopolitan city in the first half of the twentieth century to the so-called Islamist bastion in the last few decades, to the extent of acting as the base for a resurgence of modern Salafist movements. The past two years have shown each political actor struggling to define the narratives, myths, and vision of the city. Moreover, the past two months in Egypt’s political trajectory have illustrated the unpredictability factor – the decisive character of human affairs – in polarising society and now further entrenching Islamist actors as they perceive an existential threat in the public space as well as further emboldening liberal actors due to the military coming down on their side.

Alexandria is chosen in large part because it is a political laboratory in how a city deals with a fraught process in which a series of contradictory events have happened, far from over, that have only served to illustrate the fragile space of appearance that is dependent and recreated when citizens are together. Yet just as disappointment, sense of injustice, nostalgia, disenchantment, power struggles, are the poisonous fruits of the birth of public space; there comes with it also disintegrative tendencies that can set in with the birth of public space and the events of June and July, Egypt’s people-driven coup, can also have a renewal of another possible beginning.