Middle East

Israel under attack, Obama still hasn’t called Netanyahu [UPDATED]

Featured image Elliott Abrams points out that, alone among the leaders of Israel’s key Western allies, President Obama has failed to call Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in response to the rocket attacks launched by Hamas. Netanyahu has taken calls from French president Hollande, German chancellor Merkel, and British prime minister Cameron. But Obama has not seen fit to call the Israeli leader. Abrams writes: I am sure such a call will happen »

ISIS: A Backgrounder

Featured image If, like most, you wonder how the Islamic State of al-Sham (ISIS) came to prominence in the Middle East, seemingly overnight, terrorism analysts Ilana Freedman and Jerry Gordon offer a valuable primer. The rise of ISIS is rooted in the “Arab Spring”: The confrontations developing in the Middle East are the predictable outcome of the so-called “Arab Spring,” coupled with weak American leadership which has empowered Islamists throughout the world »

The Carter-Obama parallel

Featured image James Kirchick compares the foreign policy records of Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter. He finds that President Obama’s is worse. I agree with Kirchick. As he explains, Carter eventually saw the error of his weak ways and changed course, though it took a series of major setbacks for him to accomplish this. With Obama we have had the serious setbacks — e.g., the Benghazi attacks, the rise of al Qaeda »

The jihadi menace reaches a high water mark

Featured image “From the ruins of the Obama Administration’s Middle East strategy, the most powerful and dangerous group of religious fanatics in modern history has emerged in the heart of the Middle East.” So says Walter Russell Mead, the distinguished historian of American foreign policy (who reportedly has said he voted for Barack Obama in 2008). The fanatical group in question is, of course, ISIS. According to Mead, who cites analysts at »

Rand Paul lets Obama off the hook in the Middle East

Featured image Rand Paul said today on Meet the Press that he does not blame President Obama for the instability in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East; instead he blames President Bush. Paul told an undoubtedly delighted David Gregory: What’s going on now I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq war on the chaos that »

Obama seeks to leverage his Iraq debacle into rapprochement with Iran

Featured image In the post immediately below this one, I argue that President Obama now “owns” Iraq because his unwillingness seriously to negotiate a status of forces agreement led directly to Iraq’s current chaos. Obama, of course, doesn’t see it this way, but he is belatedly looking for ways to prevent the complete disintegration of Iraq. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, according to The Wall Street Journal, Obama’s »

Obama successes in the Middle East? The Washington Post can’t find them

Featured image I have been searching, so far in vain, for Obama foreign policy success stories in the Middle East. The Washington Post’s editors fare no better in their search: In Syria, where for three years Mr. Obama has assiduously avoided meaningful engagement, civil war has given rise to “the most catastrophic humanitarian crisis any of us have seen in a generation,” Mr. Obama’s United Nations ambassador Samantha Power said in February. »

Let’s make a deal — Hezbollah edition

Featured image The Obama administration is mighty impressed with itself for having proved it can make a deal with the Taliban. Now, it would like to make one with Hezbollah. John Kerry said last week that the Lebanon-based terrorist outfit could have a role to play, alongside Russia and Iran, in bringing about a “legitimate” political solution in Syria. The sky is the limit in these heady days of diplomacy, Obama style. »

Israel to expand settlement construction, as Obama’s Middle East policy collapses

Featured image Israel has announced that it will move ahead with the construction of approximately 1,500 housing units in settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. In addition, it will proceed with the planning of 1,800 more units. All of the construction will take place in areas Israel insists it will retain in any future deal with the Palestinians. In addition, as I understand it, the latest construction bids would have been »

Obama foreign policy successes? Not Syria

Featured image We continue our look at Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East (see here for Egypt and here for Libya) with a discussion of Syria. Actually, it requires no discussion to conclude that Syria is no Obama foreign policy success story. The results say it all. Victory for not just Assad but his backers, Iran and Hezbollah. The rise of al Qaeda and other jihadist outfits in portions of the »

The Hamas-Fatah unity government is fine in principle with Obama

Featured image On Monday, it becomes official: Fatah and Hamas will announce the formation of a Palestinian unity government. Fatah is Israel’s alleged “peace partner.” Hamas is openly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Where does this leave the “peace process”? Israel has been clear on the subject. It will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas. What about the Obama administration? It too is clear in its own way. »

The Enemy of My Enemy. . .

Featured image When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the life-long bitter foe of Communism Winston Churchill got on the phone right away to Joseph Stalin, and, while never forgetting what Stalin was, offered Britain’s help in staving off Germany.  A few days later Churchill said that he “would unsay none of his criticisms” of Communism, but that if Hitler invaded Hell, he would at least make a favorable reference »

Is John Kerry Out of the Mainstream?

Featured image On Friday, John Kerry suggested in a speech to the Trilateral Commission that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state,” a comment that sparked an immediate backlash. The disgusting claim that Israel practices apartheid is a staple on the left and should be repudiated by everyone. But the more important point, I think, is that while Kerry’s statement was badly phrased–he has sort-of-apologized for using what Paul calls the “A” word–he »

Fatah-Hamas reconciliation could put Obama in a bind

Featured image Last week, as was widely reported, rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah announced that they had agreed to reconcile and will begin discussing the formation of a unity government. The announcement caused Israel to pull out “peace” negotiations, to the relief, no doubt, of all concerned except for John Kerry and a few stray Obama administration members. The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation has potential implications beyond the demise of “peace talks” that »

Abbas plays the “apply for international membership” card

Featured image John Kerry often seems like a man who can’t be discouraged, especially when he sniffs a Noble Peace Prize. But Kerry can’t be pleased by his latest humiliation. With talks between the Secretary of State and Mahmoud Abbas scheduled for today, the PA president abruptly moved to join 15 international agencies, a move vigorously opposed by both Israel and the U.S. The Kerry-Abbas meeting was, accordingly, cancelled. Abbas said he »

Dumbest John Kerry statement ever

Featured image John Kerry has said some criminally stupid things in his time. Recall, for example, this statement by Kerry from 2010 about Bashar al-Assad: Let me just say that I am . . . absolutely convinced that carefully calibrated diplomacy, that if that is what we engage in, that Syria will play a very important role in achieving a comprehensive peace in the region and in putting an end to the »

The Hamas Rockets: A Postscript

Featured image Scott wrote earlier today about the cone of silence that has descended over the Israelis’ interception of long-range rockets and other weaponry in transit from Iran to Hamas in Gaza. This AFP story adds a touch of irony: Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – Hamas unveiled a rocket-shaped statue Monday showcasing its capacity to strike arch-enemy Israel, as the Jewish state boasted its own haul of captured weapons it claims »