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Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa

Issandr El Amrani oversees Crisis Group's North Africa Project. Prior to joining Crisis Group, he was a writer and consultant on Middle Eastern affairs based in Cairo. His reporting and commentary on the region has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He has also advised leading investment firms and NGOs on the region.

He is the founder of The Arabist, one of the longest-running and most-read blogs on Arab politics culture, and the co-founder of Cairo magazine. He is also a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Issandr, who is Moroccan-American, has lived in the region since 2000, mostly in Cairo, and currently resides in Rabat.

Areas of Expertise

  • Islamism & Islamist movements in North Africa
  • Domestic politics of North Africa
  • Geopolitics of the Arab Spring & its aftermath
  • Egyptian domestic politics & foreign policy
  • Egypt & the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • US & EU policies towards the Arab world

Professional Background

  • Independent consultant and journalist 2009-2013
  • North Africa analyst, International Crisis Group, 2007-2009
  • Independent journalist, 2000-2007
  • Co-founder and editor, Cairo
  • Editor, Cairo Times


  • English 
  • French
  • Arabic

In The News

24 Aug 2017
If [the U.S. decision to suspend economic and military aid to Egypt is] intended as a signal to Sisi's regime, it will have limited impact on [his] behaviour. Al Jazeera

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
22 Aug 2017
Morocco has been very successful at driving deep underground any major al-Qaeda or Isis group. Moroccan jihadis have largely gone to fight abroad, rather than stay at home. Financial Times

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
19 Aug 2017
What’s astounding is that an attack like [the one in Barcelona] hasn’t taken place inside Morocco. The New York Times

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
3 Jul 2017
The [Egyptian] government has faced a serious terrorist threat and received some criticism for its handling of it. The country is clearly less secure, but this is also a result of regional trends. Al Jazeera

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
20 Mar 2017
The focus in the last few months has been on Morocco’s entry into the African Union…and now there’s a little urgency in trying to get a government back on its feet. Quartz

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
16 Mar 2017
[The western Sahara issue] is the No. 1 strategic priority at the end of the day for Morocco. It dominates everything in Morocco’s diplomacy. World Politics Review

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa

Latest Updates

Open Letter to Chancellor Merkel

Uncritical engagement with Egypt will not promote European interests, says European Working Group on Egypt ahead of Chancellor Merkel's visit to Cairo.

Oil Zone Fighting Threatens Libya with Economic Collapse

New clashes over Libya’s oilfields could wreck the fragile remains of the country’s economy. Beyond security help, international actors must support compromises on state financing between the opposing factions and help pull Libya back from the brink.

Also available in العربية