Archive for the 'Syria' Category

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.

(more…)


‘Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria’ Ignored

Monday, November 25th, 2013

by Raymond Ibrahim*

One of the worst Christian massacres—complete with mass graves, tortured-to-death women and children, and destroyed churches—recently took place in Syria, at the hands of the U.S.-supported jihadi “rebels”; and the U.S. government and its “mainstream media” mouthpiece are, as usual, silent (that is, when not actively trying to minimize matters).

The massacre took place in Sadad, an ancient Syriac Orthodox Christian habitation, so old as to be mentioned in the Old Testament. Most of the region’s inhabitants are poor, as Sadad is situated in the remote desert between Homs and Damascus (desert regions, till now, apparently the only places Syria’s Christians could feel secure; 600 Christian families had earlier fled there for sanctuary from the jihad, only to be followed by it).

(more…)


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.

(more…)


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:

(more…)


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.”

(more…)


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.

(more…)


Muslim Civil Wars Stem from a Crisis of Civilization

Friday, June 7th, 2013

by David P. Goldman*

Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum (where I am associate fellow) replies this morning to Bret Stephens‘ June 3rd Wall Street Journal column, “The Muslim Civil War: Standing by while the Sunnis and Shiites fight it out invites disaster.” The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, when the Reagan administration quietly encouraged the two sides to fight themselves to bloody exhaustion, did America no good, Stephens argues:

In short, a long intra-Islamic war left nobody safer, wealthier or wiser. Nor did it leave the West morally untainted. The U.S. embraced Saddam Hussein as a counterweight to Iran, and later tried to ply Iran with secret arms in exchange for the release of hostages. Patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, the USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian jetliner over the Gulf, killing 290 civilians. Inaction only provides moral safe harbor when there’s no possibility of action.

(more…)


The Calm Before the Jihadi Storm

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

by Raymond Ibrahim*

On this Memorial Day, it’s important to remember that the very same U.S. policies that created al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s—leading to the horrific attacks of 9/11—are today allowing al-Qaeda to metastasize all around the Muslim world. As in the 80s, these new terrorist cells are quietly gathering strength now, and are sure to deliver future terror strikes that will make 9/11 seem like child’s play.

To understand this dire prediction, we must first examine the United States’ history of empowering Islamic jihadis—only to be attacked by those same jihadis many years later—and the chronic shortsightedness of American policymakers, whose policies are based on their brief tenure, not America’s long-term wellbeing.

In the 1980s, the U.S. supported Afghani rebels—among them the jihadis—to repel the Soviets. Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, and countless foreign jihadis journeyed to Afghanistan to form a base of training and planning—the first prerequisite of the jihad, as delineated in Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones.

(more…)


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.

(more…)


Dumb and Dumber

Monday, May 20th, 2013

by David P. Goldman*

Errors by the party in power can get America into trouble; real catastrophes require consensus.

Rarely have both parties been as unanimous about a development overseas as they have in their shared enthusiasm for the so-called Arab Spring during the first months of 2011. Republicans vied with the Obama Administration in their zeal for the ouster of Egypt’s dictator Hosni Mubarak and in championing the subsequent NATO intervention against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. Both parties saw themselves as having been vindicated by events. The Obama Administration saw its actions as proof that soft power in pursuit of humanitarian goals offered a new paradigm for foreign-policy success. And the Republican establishment saw a vindication of the Bush freedom agenda.

(more…)


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.

(more…)


The President’s address to Israelis — the speech that Obama ought to make

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

by Gary Gerofsky

This is the speech that Obama ought to make to Israelis during his visit to their country:

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Knesset members, the people of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide: It is an honor and privilege to be here today in Jerusalem, Israel, the undivided capital of Israel and the land of the Jewish people from the time before the establishment of the first temple of Solomon, destroyed by the Babylonians, followed by the second temple which Antiochus desecrated, Pompey looted and the Romans destroyed during the Siege of Jerusalem. Throughout history invaders and superpowers have attempted to extinguish the Jewish people and their symbols. Today is no different as we have an empire of Islamists using whatever means they can to wipe out all traces of Israel and Judaism. They too will not succeed.

(more…)


Will Syria’s Strife Rip Lebanon Apart?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

by Hilal Khashan*

The assassination of Lebanese security chief brigadier general Wissam Hassan on October 19 has rekindled fears of renewed confessional strife in Lebanon. The anti-Assad opposition quickly blamed the Syrian regime for eliminating one of its foremost Beirut opponents while enraged demonstrators took to the streets to demand the resignation of prime minister Najib Miqati.[1]

(more…)


America’s Withdrawal from the Middle East under the Obama Doctrine

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

A briefing by Lee Smith*

Lee Smith, senior editor with the Weekly Standard, Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and author of the 2010 critically-acclaimed book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations, briefed the Middle East Forum via conference call on February 6, 2013.

Mr. Smith characterized the Obama administration’s Middle East policy as one of “extrication” from the region. The major problem with this policy, he argued, is that “vacuums are filled by other people, and not always filled by friendly powers.”

Nor has the administration explained why it no longer deems the Middle East a region of vital interest. If, for example, the U.S. becomes a net exporter of energy in the near future and is less reliant on Middle Eastern oil, the administration has yet to make this case with the public. Instead, its policy of “leading from behind,” adopted during the Libyan intervention, is a prime example of the vacuum left since the toppling of Qaddafi as the decision to leave the newly elected Libyan government to fend for itself has led to instability.

(more…)


The Problem with Turkey’s “Zero Problems” – Turkey, Past and Future

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

by Ilias I. Kouskouvelis*

Under the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), Turkey’s foreign policy has been associated with the prescriptions and efforts of three men: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President Abdullah Gül, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu, a former international relations professor, has been the most articulate exponent of the troika’s ideas, penning perhaps the most authoritative summary of its worldview in his 2001 Stratejik Derinlik (Strategic Depth)[1] and coining its foremost article of faith: a “zero-problems policy” with Turkey’s neighbors because Ankara “wants to eliminate all the problems from her relations with neighbors or at least to minimize them as much as possible.”[2]

This might all be well and good if such words were supported by actions. But Davutoğlu has also described Turkey as a “heavyweight wrestler,” hinting that it may use “the maximum of its abilities” when dealing with its neighboring “middleweight wrestlers.”[3] A survey of Ankara’s relations with these “middleweight wrestlers” reveals its “zero problems policy” to be little more than a cover for the AKP’s reasserted “neo-Ottoman” ambitions.

(more…)