Archive for December, 2009

Moderate Islam: Western Ally or Western Myth? – A Debate

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

by Daniel Pipes and Wafa Sultan*

Can there be a truly moderate Islam compatible with liberal-democratic notions of human rights and democracy? Is “radical Islam” a modern phenomenon or is Islam itself inherently radical? Such were the questions addressed in a recent debate between Dr. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, and Dr. Wafa Sultan, a Syrian-born American psychiatrist. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal moderated.

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The Palestinian Authority Sets its New Strategy: Tempts Obama Administration with Instant Peace if it Pressures Israel

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

By Barry Rubin

We now have Mahmoud Abbas’s answer regarding short-term Palestinian Authority (PA) strategy. He says that if Israel stops all construction now-in Jerusalem and the 3000 apartments being completed-and accepts in advance the 1967 borders and there will be peace within six months. This is the basic story we’ve been hearing since around 1988: one or more Israeli concessions and everyone will live happily ever after.

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Poll: Pew and Pulpit Disagree on Immigration – Zogby Survey Finds Religious Leaders and Members at Odds

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

WASHINGTON (December 29, 2009) – In contrast to many national religious leaders who are lobbying for increases in immigration, a new Zogby poll of likely voters who belong to the same religious communities finds strong support for reducing overall immigration. Moreover, members strongly disagree with their leaders’ contention that more immigrant workers need to be allowed into the country. Also, most parishioners and congregants prefer more enforcement to cause illegal workers to go home, rather than legalization of illegal immigrants, which most religious leaders prefer. The survey of Catholic, mainline Protestant, born-again Protestant, and Jewish voters used neutral language and was one of the largest polls on immigration ever done.

Among the findings:

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The Lonely, Murderous Sons of Allah: A Psycho-analytic View

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

by Phyllis Chesler

One is the 17th son; the other is the 16th son. Neither are the sons of a first wife. One is an engineer; the other was an engineering student. Both have ancestral roots in Yemen. Both are educated and come from wealthy families.

I am talking about Osama bin Laden — the 17th son among 57 children whose father is Yemeni — and the Christmas Day Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — the 16th and youngest son, whose mother is Yemeni. Both men were born “shamed,” disadvantaged, because their mothers were not “first,” or high-status wives. Continue reading…

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The System “Worked Really Very, Very Smoothly” in Detroit?

Monday, December 28th, 2009

by Daniel Pipes*

The near-success of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, to set off an explosive on Christmas Day should open the American public’s eyes to the sad state of counterterrorism eight years after 9/11.

The incident involved a Nigerian national in Seat 19A — ideally placed over the fuel tanks, atop the wing, and next to the exterior of the aircraft — of Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. As summarized by the Wall Street Journal, it:

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The Obamas Watch But Don’t See the Tragic Fate of Middle East Women: A Four-Picture Allegory

Monday, December 28th, 2009

By Barry Rubin

Turkey used to be a secular state striving for modernization and a place in the Western world. That dream is turning into a nightmare. The AKP regime, despite its pretense of being a center-right, family values, good government party, is moving Turkey toward Islamism. Washington and the West in general doesn’t seem to notice though horrified Turkish secularists and liberals are yelling for help.

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Shameless Islamist Doublespeak Rages On: Hezbollah’s “New” Manifesto in Context

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

by Raymond Ibrahim*

“Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri Accuses Obama of Trying to ‘Enslave’ Arab World.” So reads the headline of a recent Fox News report, which goes on to quote Zawahiri saying things such as “Obama’s policy is nothing but another cycle in the Crusader and Zionist campaign to enslave and humiliate us, and to occupy our land and steal our wealth.”

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For Israel, Good Prospects in 2010

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

By Barry Rubin

In contrast to my rather gloomy assessment of the Obama Administration’s prospects in the Middle East, Israel’s prospects look rather good. This is granted, of course, that the chances for any formal peace (note the word “formal”) with the Arab states or the Palestinians are close to zero. In addition there are two longer-term threats in the form of Iranian nuclear weapons and Islamists one day taking over one or more Arab states.

But let’s enjoy ourselves while we can. It’s also important to remember in the Middle East, optimism does not mean forecasting blue skies but merely ones only lightly overcast.

It’s funny, though, how much better Israel’s situation is then it’s generally perceived. Consider the pluses:

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Some Common Sense in Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Friday, December 25th, 2009

by Daniel Pipes*

Invited recently by the newly formed Pechter Middle East Polls to ask three questions of 1,000 representative Egyptians and 1,000 urban Saudis, the Middle East Forum focused on Iran and Israel, the countries that most polarize the region. The results are illuminating.

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Battling Against the Islamification of the World

Friday, December 25th, 2009

by Phyllis Chesler

The other day, a twenty-year-old woman was sold at an open auction in Badani Bhutto, Pakistan. Her brothers divided up the money. No one condemned this shameless and abominable act.

It is an act that haunts me.

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Political Correctness and Fort Hood

Friday, December 25th, 2009

A briefing by Shannen Rossmiller*

Shannen Rossmiller is a former judge and pioneer of cyber counter-terrorism. Her work has led to the capture of several Al-Qaeda operatives. Regarded an expert on spotting the signs of Islamist radicalization, she contributed to a 2008 Pentagon study — a study which, according to her, was not only ignored due to political correctness, but could have prevented the Fort Hood massacre. On December 15, Ms. Rossmiller addressed the Middle East Forum via conference call.

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For Obama, 2010 in the Middle East Looks More Like the Precipice of Doom than Achievement

Friday, December 25th, 2009

By Barry Rubin

The year 2010 is going to be interesting. Well, all years in the Middle East are interesting; many of them are far too interesting.

For the Obama Administration, I’m going to predict, it will not be a fun year. True, the best face will be put on things. Since it is protected-perhaps next year to a lesser degree — by the media, the administration has a special advantage over its predecessors. Yet there are two huge and two potentially serious problems which it cannot solve.

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Could Jesus Live Safely In Bethlehem Today?

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

by Phyllis Chesler

It is Christmas 2009, and instead of peace on earth and good will towards all, Muslims are busily blowing up churches and Christians all over the Islamic world.

This is an awful reality but it is neither recent nor unexpected. Perhaps what is even more awful is the world’s silence and seeming passivity. We in the West who believe in religious tolerance have not stopped the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries. In the name of political correctness, we have also “tolerated” the often aggressive demands for mosques, public prayer, minarets, and loudspeakers on our own soil even though there is absolutely no reciprocity towards Christianity (or any other non-Muslim religion) in most Arab and Muslim countries. Continue reading…

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Analysis: The Domino Effect

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

By Jonathan Spyer

Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri’s December 19 visit to Damascus is the latest marker in the return of the coercive Syrian presence in Lebanon. It is also an indication of Syria’s successful defiance of the west.

Hariri’s ritual gesture of supplication to Bashar al-Assad in Damascus was the inevitable adjustment of the leader of a small state to a changing regional balance of power. Hariri and his supporters have little reason to take pride in the gesture. But the real responsibility for it lies not in Beirut, but further afield.

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A new world order or the edge of the abyss?

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

By R. A. Sprinkle

The edge of the abyss

Although the decline of the United States has taken place over a period of decades, in retrospect, critical moments provide the dots, which, when connected create on ominous picture of conspiracy. Yes, conspiracy — the “C” word — a word stigmatized to instantly conjure in the mind visages of paranoid schizoids in tin-foil hats with eyes darting to and fro frantically in search of secret enemy agents. There is no ‘man’ behind the curtain — or so they would have everyone believe. And, in a sense, they are right; for the ‘man’ is not behind the curtain, but working openly, convincing onlookers they are seeing something other than what is before them.

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