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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

3 Feb 2018
[Egypt's President] Sisi's appointment as minister of defence in 2012 was partly predicated on a move to sideline [Retired Egyptian General Sami Hafez]. The Sydney Morning Herald

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
4 Jan 2018
It’s a sign the Qaddafists are mobilizing, trying to have their say [for the first time since 2011]. Libya’s getting more complicated. A breakthrough doesn’t seem imminent. Bloomberg

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
20 Dec 2017
[Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar does not have] sufficient strength or support [to take power in Libya]. He faces particularly strong opposition from (rivals in) the west, especially in Misrata. AFP

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
25 Nov 2017
[ISIL's direct attack on a mosque in Egypt] suggests that they are now completely indiscriminate and don’t care about local sentiment. The National

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
22 Oct 2017
[Terrorist] attack [in Egypt] places the Ministry of Interior under greater scrutiny, because it appears to have been caught off-guard by the abilities of the militants. The National

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
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

Latest Updates

En Tunisie, « le risque d’une dérive autoritaire »

Pour les chercheurs d’ICG, Michaël Ayari et Issandr El-Amrani, le pouvoir tunisien doit parachever la transition démocratique sept ans après la chute de Ben Ali.

Originally published in Le Monde Afrique

On the Politics behind Tunisia’s Protests

Analysis on the politics behind the scenes of the ongoing protests in Tunisia.

Originally published in The Arabist

New Risks in Libya as Khalifa Haftar Dismisses UN-backed Accord

Khalifa Haftar, who rules eastern Libya, has dismissed the two-year-old, UN-backed accord about how the country should be run. Haftar’s regional and international partners should act now to mitigate this new risk of escalation over his apparent ambition to rule Libya on his own.

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