Archive for the 'Iran' Category

Op-Ed: Anti-Semitism, Old and New

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

by Phyllis Chesler

And so, twelve years after I started writing my now out-of-print book, “The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It“; eleven years after I published it in 2003, I am counted as one of the experts on the subject.

My words are joined by those of Irwin Cotler, Hasia Diner, Michel Gurfinkiel, David Mamet, Cynthia Ozick, Alvin Rosenfeld, Charles Small, who are grappling with the question of “Anti-Semitism. Where Does It Come From and Why Does it Persist? What are its New Forms? Will It Ever Go Away?”

Our answers vary. Jews have always been “outsiders and enemies;” Judaism has been viewed as an “antiquated” or as a “corrupting” religion. Anti-Semitism is a way of “externalizing evil,” explaining “economic patterns,” provides a “convenient scapegoat,” is “misdiagnosed in America,” is “complex and contentious,” is a “politically correct disease, “an example of “Holocaust inversion,” of “state-sanctioned hatred,” is due to “Radical political Islam,” and remains “an omnipresent threat.”

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Shifting Mideast Sands Reveal New Alliances

Friday, March 21st, 2014

by Jonathan Spyer*

A number of events in recent weeks cast light on the current intersecting lines of conflict in the Middle East. They reflect a region in flux, in which new bonds are being formed, and old ones torn asunder.

But amid the confusion, a new topography is emerging.

This was the month in which a long-existent split in the Sunni Arab world turned into a gaping fissure. On March 5th, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced that they were withdrawing their ambassadors from the Emirate of Qatar.

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Iran’s Nuclear Buildup and American Irrelevance

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

by Daniel Pipes*

The Menendez-Kirk “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013” (S. 1881) threatens the Iranian regime with additional sanctions and appears to be the only way to counter the Obama administration’s flaccidity vis-à-vis Tehran.

I am skeptical, however, that it can do much good.

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Is the US changing sides in the regional conflict between Iran and its enemies?

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

by Jonathan Spyer*

A report by respected Washington-based journalist Hussein Abdul Hussein in the Kuwaiti Al-Rai newspaper this week revealed details of an indirect US channel with Hezbollah.

The report comes, of course, close on the heels of the interim agreement concluded in Geneva between the P5 + 1 world powers and Iran, allowing the latter to continue to enrich uranium.

News items are also surfacing suggesting a stark split between the US and Saudi Arabia over regional policy in general, and policy toward Syria in particular. Saudi officials are going on the record expressing their alarm at the direction of American policy.

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The aftermath of the Iran-Obama agreement

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

By Gary Gerofsky

One government wanted an agreement with Iran more than Iran itself: The Obama Administration. Iran wanted an agreement on its nuclear program to alleviate sanctions and to open up the floodgates to international business. According to USA TODAY:

… Six world powers reached an interim agreement late Saturday night with Iran on its disputed nuclear program after four days of talks in Geneva.

In the six-month interim deal, Iran agreed to limit nuclear activities in return for relief of up to $7 billion in sanctions that have hurt its economy. …

Money will inevitably flow freely after Iran is welcomed back into the international fold with its nukes intact, with its “death to Israel” foreign policy still in place and with Obama and the international community taking the first step towards welcoming Iran into the nuclear weapons’ club. Obama needed the Iranian deal to cover up its recent domestic and foreign policy failures. By the time Iran and the mullahs start lying about the details, as Obama lied, spun and avoided in the immediate aftermath, it will be too late — a world anxious to not be involved in another conflict in the Middle East will not care if they were delivered lies or truth. Notice how the leader of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Khamenei, did not lower himself by attending the meetings of the “Sextet.” Khamenei’s emissaries had to fly back and forth to update and to get orders from his “highness.” This in itself is an arrogant statement that Khamenei is superior to those scrounging for acceptance by Iran for their “peace” overtures. It is an acknowledgement by the world that they accept Khamenei’s superiority.

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Obama does not understand who Putin is

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Interview with Daniel Pipes by Olga Doleśniak-Harczuk*

1.Will Bashar al-Asad comply with the demands of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons or not? And what will or could the Obama administration do when Asad will not comply?

Although initial reports indicated that Bashshar al-Assad is complying with OPCW demands, I would be surprised if he continues with this because the chemical weapons are crucial to his maintaining power. I expect the Obama administration to attack Syrian government installations without expecting or even wanting this to make much difference in the course of the civil war.

2.Does the U.S. – Russian agreement solve the crisis in Syria or not?

Not at all; it only deals with chemical weapons, not the much larger question of the civil war. Put in numbers: the chemical weapons accounts for just 1 percent of the civil war fatalities until now.

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Middle East and Syria: Obama has forgotten lessons of the recent past

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

by Gary Gerofsky

The Obama administration lies, feigns horror, ignores history (especially recent history), and purposely chooses to make the wrong conclusions. Obama panders to Islamists, nationally and internationally. Mistakes are piling up on other previous mistakes, quickly forgotten, and then repeated with reckless abandon. The theatre of the absurd is taking place before our eyes with implications that have far reaching impact on America for the worse. The Libya and Tunisia debacles have led to Egypt which led to Benghazi which has led to Syria. The common thread is a doctrine that the U.S. president is following to empower Islamists who promise America “democracy” and non-violence. But “Islamist democracy” and “Islamist non-violence” are oxymorons. Obama buys into these contradictions as if they were real possibilities. Following the dictates of Syrian “rebels” and having them direct American policy is like taking advice at face value from those who sent our airliners into the World Trade Center on 9/11. Selective indignation and political correctness have amounted to a complete political and military debacle in the U.S. which also involves and endangers other stakeholders. Every attempt is being made to isolate one act of chemical warfare after a series of chemical attacks in a country (and region) where they have experienced the same for many decades under the Assad family dictatorship — without much objection from the world community or the U.N. Questions need to be asked. There are too many contradictions, inconsistencies, befuddled thinking and lies to enumerate, but here are a few:

Contradictions and inconsistencies:

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US Energy Independence and Israel

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Israel Hayom”, June 22, 2013

The most critical, clear and present dangers to US’ national security, homeland security and economy, are Iran’s nuclearization, Islamic terrorism, the explosive impact of the seismic Arab Street, the potential disruption of the supply and price of imported-oil and the declining US posture of deterrence.

The most clear and present policy to alleviate these threats would be US energy independence, ending dependence on unpredictable Arab oil producers, bolstering the US posture of deterrence, accelerating economic growth, improving the trade balance, reducing the budget deficit, lowering energy costs, expanding employment and availing more funds toward infrastructure, education, the elderly, Medicare and human services in general.

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Happy Israel

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

by Daniel Pipes*

In a typically maladroit statement, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry recently complained that Israelis are too contented to end their conflict with the Palestinians: “People in Israel aren’t waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and of prosperity.”

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Power and Rice: A recipe for more global leftism and jihad, more state control and fewer freedoms

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

By Gary Gerofsky

This past week U.S. President Obama made Susan Rice his new National Security Adviser and Samantha Power his ambassador to the UN. Both women have the kind of credentials, loyalty and temperament that Obama needs to go full steam ahead on his second term agenda which includes the Obamification of the world, further apologizing for America, weakening the U.S. at every opportunity and saying “sorry” by supporting the most dangerous players on the world stage. The President is effectively giving up America’s position as defender of freedom and promoter of democracy and Judeo-Christian values. The Pax Americana era has long since disappeared. The safety derived from strength has disappeared. A state of vulnerability has resulted from political correctness and contrived shame that Obama conveys as a mea culpa for the U.S. having once been a dominant nation.

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Questioning Riyadh’s Nuclear Rationale: Saudi Arabia’s Atomic Ambitions

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

by Yoel Guzansky*

[Ed. note: See Part 1. "Will Riyadh Get the Bomb? Saudi Arabia’s Atomic Ambitions"]

In the last few years, a marked shift in Saudi thinking on nuclear issues has become evident. Saudi princes have explicitly and publicly stated that a nuclear military option is something the kingdom is obligated to examine if Tehran is not stopped in its march toward nuclear weapons. In March 2011, Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of Saudi intelligence and ambassador to the United States, called for the Gulf states to acquire “nuclear might” as a counterweight to Iran should efforts fail to persuade it to abandon its military nuclear program,[1] a point he repeated several months later.[2] U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross confirmed that Saudi King Abdullah explicitly warned Washington in April 2009: “If they get nuclear weapons, we will get nuclear weapons.”[3] Ross’s quote of the Saudi king appears to be the first public confirmation of Riyadh’s position. An unconfirmed report alleges that Abdullah made a similar statement to Russian president Vladimir Putin in their February 2007 summit.[4]

Despite its wealth and status, the kingdom operates out of a deep sense of inferiority and vulnerability: Some of its neighbors, notably Iraq and Iran, are powerful and historically hostile; its long borders are porous; it has a large Shiite population of questionable loyalty in its sensitive oil-producing regions, and its strategic installations are vulnerable.[5] In Riyadh’s view, nuclear capabilities in Iranian hands would allow Tehran to dictate the Gulf agenda—including its oil markets—as well as incite the Shiites in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, undermining the kingdom’s status in the Muslim world as well as the royal family’s grip on power.[6]

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Will Riyadh Get the Bomb? Saudi Arabia’s Atomic Ambitions

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

by Naser al-Tamimi*

As the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program worsens, those most likely to be directly effected by an Iranian bomb are showing greater alarm. While the media fixates on Israel and its possible reaction, other regional players have no less at stake.

Despite Riyadh’s long-held advocacy of making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, there has been much speculation in the last two decades about the possibility of its acquiring or developing nuclear weapons should Tehran obtain the bomb.[1] In the words of King Abdullah: “If Iran developed nuclear weapons … everyone in the region would do the same,”[2] a sentiment echoed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate.[3] Has Riyadh decided to go down the nuclear road, or is this bluster a desperate bid to stop Tehran’s nuclear program dead in its tracks?

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Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Praised at White House as He Puts Knife In U.S.’s Back

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

By Barry Rubin

Consider five factors that had no effect on the very warm reception given by President Barack Obama to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

–While the U.S. government has pressured Erdogan not to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Erdogan announced in the White House Rose Garden that he would do so. An alleged U.S. ally says publicly in front of Obama while being hosted by him that he is going to defy the United States.

This is not some routine matter. With previous presidents, if an ally was going to do something like that he would say nothing at the time and then months later would subvert U.S. policy. Or better yet the foreign leader would not do so. To announce defiance in such a way is a serious sign of how little respect Middle East leaders have for Obama — and U.S. policy nowadays — and how little Obama will do about it.

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Iran’s American Prisoner

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

by Raymond Ibrahim*

In January, an American Christian was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence on charges of “endangering national security” in Iran. A 32-year-old married father of two from Boise, Idaho, Pastor Saeed Abedini traveled to his country of origin last year to visit family and help build an orphanage, only to be arrested and sent to Tehran’s brutal Evin prison.

According to Fox News, Abedini, a Muslim convert to Christianity—also known as an apostate deserving of death under Islamic Sharia law—is “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs.” In a recent letter smuggled to family members, he recounted the “horrific pressures” and “death threats” he endures: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky… They are only waiting for one thing… for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.”

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Why “Progress” Toward Israel-Palestinian “Peace” Is More Likely to Bring Regional Instability

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

By Barry Rubin

Secretary of State John Kerry has in his head every what-should-be-discredited cliché about the Middle East firmly ensconced in his head. Of course, he is not alone. I just briefed a European diplomat who came up with the exact formulation I’m going to deal with in a moment. What is disconcerting — though long familiar — is that Western policy makers hold so many ideas that are totally out of touch with reality.

They do not allow these assumptions to be questioned. On the contrary, it is astonishing to find how often individuals in elite positions have never heard counter-arguments to these beliefs. It is easy to prove that many of these ideas simply don’t make sense, but it is nearly impossible to get elite intellectuals, officials, and politicians to open their minds to these explanations.

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