Alaa al Aswany has an article in this morning's New York Times, about the new US President's relationship to the Middle East. Aswany, who I saw speak and met back in December, is the best-selling novelist in the Arab world. The Yacoubian Building is probably the best-selling novel in Egyptian history, and has singularly reshaped Egyptian publishing by creating a new market for popular fiction here. The film version of the novel had the biggest budget and biggest gross in Egyptian history. He is also an increasingly outspoken opposition figure in Egyptian politics, who frequently speaks out against the President.