Archive for February, 2009

Dubai’s Dramatic Drop

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

by Daniel Pipes*

As the Muslim world settled into ever-deeper decline over the past decade, mired in political extremism, religious sickness, economic irrelevance, WMD, anarchy, dictatorship, and civil wars, Dubai stood out as a happy anomaly.

Under the leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai (one of seven polities within the United Arab Emirates) invited peoples from around the world to come make money and they did; about 83 percent of its population of 1.4 million is foreign. The emirate intelligently exploited the energy boom surrounding it and had the ambition not just to globalize but to become a leader at globalization. Dubai became renowned for the world’s only tropical desert ski slope, the world’s only 7-star hotel, and the world’s very highest building, all done with a new-agey twist. (Publicity for the skyscraper, for example, presents it as “an unprecedented example of international cooperation” and “a beacon of progress for the entire world.”)

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Obama on Iraq: Stay the Course

Friday, February 27th, 2009

By Andrew L. Jaffee

“Let me be clear: There is no military solution in Iraq and there never was,” said presidential candidate Barack Obama in September 2007. Eight hours ago, he “announced the withdrawal of most of the 142,000 US troops in Iraq by August 2010… he said some 35,000 to 50,000 soldiers would stay on until the end of 2011 to train and support Iraqi security forces. All troops will be pulled out by 2012.” So now an “immediate withdrawal” means two-to-three years? I’m not complaining by any means because this timetable pretty much ensures mission success. As Pres. George H. W. Bush once said, “Stay the course.”

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Should Judges Control US Immigration Policy?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

New Report Examines Assault on Political Control over Immigration

WASHINGTON (February 25, 2009) – In last week’s decision in the case of 17 Chinese Uighur Muslims held at Guantanamo, a federal appeals court reiterated the exclusive control over immigration by the political branches of government. The court quoted late Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter that immigration matters are “wholly outside the concern and competence of the Judiciary.”

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Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

by Ibn Warraq
Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2007. 556 pp. $29.95.

Reviewed by A.J. Caschetta*

Deconstructing Edward Said

It is now five years after the death of Edward Said, the man who made it cool to hate the West, and the reevaluation of his thought and work is thankfully well underway. Said forged a career out of revisiting the past, “deconstructing” what he found and writing it anew. Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism by Ibn Warraq, founder of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society, reveals just how massive a fabrication Said’s version of history is. The book spells out in great detail Said’s deeply flawed writings and his legacy: the modern academic fetish for examining microscopically the flaws and failings (real and imagined) of the West while simultaneously portraying an ever-peaceful East perpetually victimized by the technologically superior but, of course, morally benighted West. This is the fashionable narrative in the humanities departments of virtually every college and university in America, if not in all of Western academia.

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Bridges TV, a Wife’s Beheading, and Honor Murder

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

by Daniel Pipes*

I have followed Bridges TV in a weblog entry, “Were Investors in ‘Bridges TV’ Misled?” since it opened shop in 2004, critical of its faked demographic figures and its Islamist outlook. One hasn’t heard much about Bridges TV for a while, however, presumably because its once-shimmering prospects declined under the weight of the realities of North American demographics.

But it is about to reappear in the news with a vengeance, and for the most ironic possible reason. The station that Muzzammil (“Mo”) Hassan, 44, founded with the achingly benevolent idea, in the words of a November 2004 biography, to help “non-Muslims overcome the negative images they may have of both Muslims and Islam” has now abundantly enhanced negative images of Muslims and Islam.

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Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?

Friday, February 20th, 2009

by Phyllis Chesler*

When a husband murders a wife or daughter in the United States and Canada, too often law enforcement chalks the matter up to domestic violence. Murder is murder; religion is irrelevant. Honor killings are, however, distinct from wife battering and child abuse. Analysis of more than fifty reported honor killings shows they differ significantly from more common domestic violence.[1] The frequent argument made by Muslim advocacy organizations that honor killings have nothing to do with Islam and that it is discriminatory to differentiate between honor killings and domestic violence is wrong.

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Economy: The End of the World… Again…

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

By Andrew L. Jaffee

I’ve been through five recessions — 1973-1975, 1980, 1981-1982, 1990-1991, and 2001 — and every time, according to the prognosticators of doom, it was the end of the world. The cover story of Business Week on August 13th, 1979 acclaimed, “The Death Of Equities.” Soon after began the greatest stock bull market in history, seeing the Dow Jones Industrial Average go from 776 on August 12, 1982 to 14,164 on October 9, 2007. The world didn’t end. Today, as we suffer through another inevitable downturn, the same type of sky-is-falling thinking prevails. But one major economic indicator says recovery is around the corner:

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Unemployment for Immigrants and the US-Born: Picture Bleak for Less-Educated Black & Hispanic Americans

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

WASHINGTON (February 17, 2009) – The Center for Immigration Studies has prepared a detailed employment breakdown for immigrants and native-born Americans based on December 2008 data, the latest publicly available. (The Department of Labor generally does not separate out unemployment statistics for immigrants and the native-born.) Among US-born blacks and Hispanics without a high school degree, unemployment is 24.7 percent and 16.2 percent respectively — two to three times the national rate.

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Petition: Canada must support US trial of Omar Khadr & reject refugee status for Gitmo ex-detainees

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Attention Residents of Canada,

If you believe that Canada should allow the trial against Omar Khadr, charged with murder, to proceed under United States process in Guantanamo Bay, and that Canada should NOT grant refugee status to former terror-linked detainees of Guantanamo Bay who have no connection to Canada, then you must let Prime Minister Stephen Harper know what you think by signing the petition at this link.

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The 2009 Israeli Elections

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

A briefing by Allen Roth*

Allen Roth is the founder of One Jerusalem, an organization dedicated to “maintaining a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel” and educating government officials around the world about the legitimacy of Israel’s claims to the city. He is also a former senior advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu. On February 12, two days after the Israeli election, Mr. Roth addressed the Middle East Forum via conference call.

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War and Peace – and Deceit – in Islam

Monday, February 16th, 2009

by Raymond Ibrahim*

Editor’s note: Substantial portions of the following essay made up part of Mr. Ibrahim’s written testimony that was presented to Congress on February 12, 2009

Today, in a time of wars and rumors of wars emanating from the Islamic world — from the current conflict in Gaza, to the saber-rattling of nuclear-armed Pakistan and soon-to-be Iran — the need for non-Muslims to better understand Islam’s doctrines and objectives concerning war and peace, and everything in between (treaties, diplomacy), has become pressing. For instance, what does one make of the fact that, after openly and vociferously making it clear time and time again that its ultimate aspiration is to see Israel annihilated, Hamas also pursues “peace treaties,” including various forms of concessions from Israel — and more puzzling, receives them?

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Jewish Students Bullied and Threatened at York University

Monday, February 16th, 2009

By Phyllis Chesler*

On February 11, 2009, aggression against Jewish students at York University in Toronto reached new heights. The subject at hand had nothing to do with the Middle East. A press conference was underway in which student activists were reporting that they had obtained the necessary 5,000 signatures required to peacefully and lawfully impeach the existing student government that had supported the union that had shut down York University for three months.

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Assessing the Obama Mideast team

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

by Steven J. Rosen*

We now have most of the nominees for the key Mideast positions in the Obama White House and the State and Defense departments, including Puneet Talwar and Dan Shapiro at the National Security Council; George Mitchell and his deputy Fred Hof, Dennis Ross, Bill Burns and Jeffrey Feltman at the State Department; Tony Blinken in Vice President Joseph Biden’s office; and Michele Flournoy and Sandy Vershbow at Defense. It is possible to make the first assessment of where Barack Obama is going from what we know about these people.

The Left is not happy with most of Obama’s core Mideast team, with the possible exception of Mitchell. None of the people announced or reliably reported up to now is known to bring a pronounced “Arabist” perspective, nor to be a consistent critic of Israel, nor to be an apologist for Iran, Syria, Hizbullah or Hamas. There is no one with a history of participation in ideological organizations of the Left, as Sandy Berger had with Peace Now before joining the Clinton White House. Semantha Power has been appointed to the NSC’s multilateral institutions office, and has a disturbing record of stridently anti-Israel statements, but the position to which she has been appointed does not normally have a great impact on Mideast policy. For those of us who feared that an inexperienced president so enthusiastically embraced by the left wing of the Democratic Party might fill the roster with its favorites, there is scant evidence so far that our worst fears are being realized.

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Saudi King Appoints Woman: Change or Another Show Tune?

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

By Andrew L. Jaffee

In a surprise move, Saudi Arabian King Abdullah has appointed a woman, Norah al-Faiz, to the post of deputy minister for education, “the most senior role ever held by a female in the kingdom,” according to Al Jazeera. The LA Times effused that Abdullah had, “weakened the hold of Islamic hard-liners today by appointing the first woman to a ministerial post and dismissing a leading fundamentalist cleric and the head of the nation’s powerful religious police.” Change will come about as easily to Saudi Arabia as it did to Iraq — in other words, only after the inevitable unwinding of sectarian, socio-economic, religious, and political dysfunctions. This pathology has been forcibly held frozen in place by the Royal Family. The House of Saud will not usher in change; they will be thrown out by change, having blocked evolution for so long.

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Who Won in Israel’s Elections?

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

by Daniel Pipes*

Tzipi Livni, the head of the Kadima party, can credibly claim victory in the elections on Tuesday because her party won the most seats. Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud party can also claim victory as the head of the largest party in the larger of the two coalitions, the national camp.

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