"Without a doubt, the government's proposed ban threatens to curtail civil society, and by extension, democracy in Egypt. As my co-authors and I discuss in Pathways to Freedom, a healthy, vibrant civil society is a critical ingredient in democracy. A cacophony of voices and demonstrations might make Egyptian politics messier, but after decades of 'tidy' dictatorial rule, an independent and outspoken civil society is just what the country needs to transition to a more inclusive political system," writes CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman.
"Mr. Obama reinforced his intention to narrow his regional diplomatic focus to the Iranian nuclear deal and an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Some have read this as weakness and retreat, rather than pragmatism. We wish he had put more emphasis on Egypt and Iraq. But his priorities make sense. His task now is to reassure the allies that the United States remains committed to their security," the New York Times writes in an editorial.