Archive for January, 2010

Analysis: Lebanon: Conflict Widens to Syria

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

By Jonathan Spyer

In the last week, senior Israeli policymakers made statements of an uncharacteristically bellicose nature regarding Syria.

It is unlikely that these statements were made because of sudden random irritation toward Israel’s hostile northeastern neighbor. Rather, the statements probably constituted part of a message of deterrence to Damascus.

The need to project deterrence itself derives from a series of significant changes currently under way on the ground in Lebanon — reflecting Syria’s ever tighter alignment with Hizbullah and the pro-Iranian regional bloc of which it is a part.

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Obama’s State of the Union Message Tells Us Far More About the State of Obama

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

By Barry Rubin

Significantly, President Barack Obama’s discussion of foreign policy came only at the end of his State of the Union message. Obviously, domestic matters and especially the economy come first. Yet international affairs are not only vital but often have been the issues on which administrations are judged, no matter how unlikely that seemed at the time.

It is apparently considered impolite to point out that Obama has no previous experience and little knowledge of international affairs. And yet that fact affects the fate of the globe every day. The really interesting question is whether the State of the Union message showed any growth in his ability after one year in office.

Sadly, the answer is “no.”

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Immigration Webinar Discusses State and Local Policy: CIS Staffer Hosts Ongoing Law Enforcement Series

Friday, January 29th, 2010

WASHINGTON (January 28, 2010) — The latest government data show that over one-fifth of incarcerated criminals in America are foreign-born. A large share of these individuals may have violated immigration laws and could be subject to deportation. Immigration status may be relevant to investigations of criminal activity, so officers in every police and sheriff’s department need a basic understanding of immigration issues and policies and how they intersect with public safety matters.

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The Obama Administration Learns the Basic Lesson on the Israel-Palestinian Issue

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

By Barry Rubin

In contrast to its refusal to change course on Iran, the Obama administration has learned something about Israel-Palestinian peacemaking, conclusions clearly expressed in the government’s new talking points.

First, President Barack Obama stated recently that his administration had overestimated its ability to get the two sides into meaningful peace talks. Blaming both parties equally, Obama said the problem is that neither Israel nor the Palestinians were ready to take the bold steps necessary to succeed.

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The Gulf States in the Shadow of Iran: Iranian Ambitions

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

by Patrick Knapp*

The Obama administration is caught on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, it has welcomed the Gulf Security Dialogue (GSD) as a chance to further “mutual interests” with Persian Gulf states, but, on the other, it has sought pragmatic engagement with the Islamic Republic–the greatest threat to gulf security. Michael Knights, a Persian Gulf expert at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, noted in September that the “rapid advances” of the military forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were the result of the dialogue. He predicts that they “may eclipse Iranian capabilities in the gulf within ten years.”[1] Yet the GSD’s initiatives are inadequate and need a foreign policy that stresses relationships and ideals. If policy within the gulf is to be dominated by short-term pragmatic demands, it may turn out to have unwanted consequences for other alliances in the region. That in turn could well have a negative impact on the United States.

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The Terrorism Quiz

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

by Phyllis Chesler

Who, really, is behind the epidemic of global terrorism against civilians? Whom should airport security personnel view carefully — respectfully — but very, very carefully?

A friend just sent me the following “laugh until you cry” quiz. One hopes that the folks screening us at airports are given this quiz and are guided accordingly. Perhaps passengers should carry it with them; as they say: “Don’t leave home without it.”

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, young Israeli athletes were kidnapped and massacred by: Continue reading…

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GOLDSTONE’S GAZA REPORT: PART ONE: A FAILURE OF INTELLIGENCE

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

By Richard Landes *

The first part of this two-part article explores the pervasive flaws that mar the UNHRC’s “Gaza Fact-Finding Mission Report.” It focuses on an interlocking combination of problems: 1) its failure to investigate seriously the problem of Hamas embedding its war effort in the midst of civilians in order to draw Israeli fire and then accuse Israel of war crimes; 2) its astonishing credulity concerning all Palestinian claims, contrasted with a corresponding skepticism of all Israeli claims; 3) its harsh judgments on Israelis for war crimes (i.e., deliberate targeting of civilians), contrasted with its resolute agnosticism concerning Hamas intentions. The result is that Goldstone actually participates in Hamas’ strategy and encourages the sacrificing of their own civilians.

[CLICK HERE TO READ PART II]

INTRODUCTION[1]

In response to the Israeli attack on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (December 27-January 18, 2009), several major NGOs and public figures called for an investigation. On April 3, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed a “Fact-Finding Mission.” The mission was made up of four members, including Hina Jilani, Desmond Travers, Christine Chinkin, and at its head, Richard Goldstone, former member of the South African Supreme Court and distinguished international jurist. On the basis of the animus of the founding organization (UNHRC) and the pervasive bias of the members of the team, Israel refused to cooperate with what some observers called “a kangaroo court.”[2] In May 2009, the mission met in Geneva. It later made two visits to Gaza (from June 1-5, 2009 and June 26-July 1, 2009), held further hearings in Geneva (in early July 2009), and eventually presented its findings to the UNHRC (first draft, 575 pages, September 15, 2009; final draft, 430 pages, September 25, 2009).

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Islam and Islamism: Are Extremists Hijackers, “Proper Muslims,” or Contenders in a Civil War?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

By Barry Rubin

One of the most controversial issues today is the relationship of the political doctrine of Islamism (including revolutionary activity and terrorism) and the religion of Islam.

Given the desire of too many people to distort this discussion with slogans, insults, and name-calling, it is a very dangerous one. Yet the importance of the issue requires it be analyzed.

Let’s begin by defining three positions. The dominant, establishment view in the West is that Islam is a religion of peace and has nothing to do with violence, hatred of non-Muslims, mistreatment of women, terrorism, or ambition for political power. Anything bad is said to be a distortion of Islam’s “real” message. As a result, the image offered is one of extremists–who are in effect heretics–trying to “hijack” Islam.

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Failure to Uphold Immigration Laws Leads to the Death of a Deputy Sheriff

Monday, January 25th, 2010

By Ronald W. Mortensen, CIS.org

During the past several months, I have commented on the failure of law enforcement officials to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, thereby giving illegal alien criminals an advantage that they should not have.

Law enforcement officials argue that they have to give illegal aliens a pass for violating immigration laws in order to gain their confidence and support. While this may work in some cases, it also leaves violent, criminal illegal aliens free to go about their business.

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Military Officers To Be Charged In Major Hasan Islamist Terror Murders

Monday, January 25th, 2010

by Andrew Whitehead

The military is considering charges against at least eight officers who “failed to use ‘appropriate judgment and standards’ in overseeing the career of” Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, and that their actions should be investigated immediately.”

Hasan stated, in front of colleagues, that “non-believers were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire”. Remarkably, he made this statement at an hour-long presentation on the Koran in front of dozens of fellow officers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Hasan was supposed to be speaking to medical issues, not the Koran and Islam.

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Lancet Study Blames Palestinian Wife-Beating on Israel

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Does Not Mention Honor Killings, Forced Veiling, Arranged Marriages, etc.

by Phyllis Chesler

It’s official. Britain’s premier medical journal Lancet has been completely Palestinianized. It no longer bears any relationship to the first-rate scientific journal it once was. Perhaps Lancet is no longer a standard-bearer but has become a follower in the global movement in which standards have plunged, biases have soared, and Big Lies now pass for top-of-the-line academic, scientific work.

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The Decline of the Obama Administration: Massachusetts and the Middle East

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

By Barry Rubin

There is an iron rule in modern democratic politics that parties periodically ignore to their peril: if a party goes too far to an extreme–to the left, the right, or any other far-out viewpoint–the voters reject it. This is what’s now happening in the United States. One wonders whether, or when, it will happen in a number of European countries.

In the United States, the most obvious examples is when the Democrats went too far to the left with George McGovern and the Republicans went too far to the right with Barry Goldwater they suffered tremendous defeats. Many other examples can be cited from Europe, Israel, and other countries.

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Tariq Ramadan permitted to enter the U.S.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

by Daniel Pipes*

The Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan was about to take up a position at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 2004 when the U.S. government prevented him from entering the country on the grounds that he had funded two Hamas-related groups. For five years, his exclusion has been debated and tried. Finally, it was reversed today. The Associated Press explains:

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Can Counseling Prevent a Potential Honor Killing? The Rifqa Bary Case

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

by Phyllis Chesler

And so, despite the all the naysayers and second-guessers, the lawyers in the Rifqa Bary case have negotiated a reasonable and potentially life-saving settlement which will allow Rifqa to remain in state custody until she becomes 18 (which will happen in August), at which time she herself will decide whether or not she wishes to be reunited with her family.

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Analysis: Did the Long Arm of Iran Reach the Dead Sea Highway?

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

By Jonathan Spyer

The revelations of possible Iranian involvement in the attack on Israeli diplomats earlier this month in Jordan appear to offer the latest evidence of direct engagement by Teheran in subversion and paramilitary activity across national borders.

The Jordanian investigation is still in its early stages. But the suggestion by sources close to the well-respected Jordanian General Intelligence Department that the explosives used for the attack may have been brought into the kingdom by Iranian diplomats is certainly plausible. It would conform to similar incidents on which the fingerprints of Iran were later unmistakably identified. It would also fit the current pattern of Iranian support for destabilizing its regional enemies.

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