Middle East

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 »

Obama’s settlement construction lie

Featured image Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly pushed back against President Obama’s Middle East narrative during the meeting of the two yesterday. According to this account, Netanyahu offered Obama a “history lesson” covering the last 20 years of conflict with the Palestinians. If so, the lesson was much needed. Perhaps it will spark a more general interest by Obama in the subject of history. It’s difficult to say which is more distressing, »

John Kerry trumpets the economic boycott of Israel

Featured image It’s ironic that John Kerry is spending so much energy trying to upset the status quo in Israel/Palestine, given that the status quo there is preferable to that in almost every other country in the region. As Tom Wilson points out, most Palestinians don’t live under “occupation”; they live in areas controlled and governed by the Palestinian Authority — a mixed blessing, to be sure. Meanwhile, Israel enjoys relative peace »

Freedom in the world 2014

Featured image In what Middle East country do Arabs enjoy the greatest civil liberties? That is a question worthy of investigation by the Middle East correspondents of the New York Times, the Washington Post and others who bring us the news from the region. Freedom House conducts a widely respected annual survey that goes a long way toward answering the question. It has just released its 2014 report, discussing trends and providing »

Gentlemen May Cry Peace, Peace…

Featured image This news story is offered without comment: “Peace meeting in Ramallah broken up by stone throwers.” Palestinians threw rocks Thursday at a West Bank hotel, shattering windows and breaking up a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. The conference was cut short and three dozen Israeli participants were rushed out the back door, put on Palestinian police buses and driven to safety, organizers said. Here, the protesters try to »

The source of Obama’s quest for detente with Iran

Featured image It has been my contention that President Obama’s deal with Iran on nuclear weapons had little to do with stopping Iran from obtaining them, and much to do with his desire to achieve detente with the mullah-run Islamist regime. As I put it here: Obama isn’t motivated, as Israel and Saudi Arabia are, by a strong desire to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. That’s not the purpose of this »

Good news and bad news on Kerry’s Middle East “peace” initiative

Featured image Secretary of State Kerry has left the Middle East without a “framework” for a “peace agreement” in place. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Kerry is expected to return next week. The basic framework Kerry is pushing would consist of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish homeland in exchange for Israel’s acceptance of its pre-1967 frontier as the baseline for border talks. From Israel’s point of »

Surprise: U.S. weakness strengthens al Qaeda

Featured image Remember when, during the Bush administration, the left and its MSM supporters insisted that U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan was causing Muslims to flock to al Qaeda? I wonder what the left and the MSM have to say now that al Qaeda is running rampant following President Obama’s withdrawal from the region? There was never credible evidence to support the left’s self-serving claim that our interventions were boosting al »

Astrology and Anti-Semitism Meet: Hilarity Ensues

Featured image The good people at the Middle East Media Research Institute have posted video of an Egyptian astrologer appearing recently on Al-Nahar TV to explain why the alignment of the stars means that the Jews will be stronger this year.  Because “it’s been tested.”  But there is an answer: Solve the Palestinian problem!  I kid you not: Sayyed Al-Shimi: “Saturn will enter the fire sign of Sagittarius. My late father and »

Syria: The foreign policy story of 2013

Featured image I caught a little bit of the end-of-the-year navel gazing — the exercise in which pundits list the “big stories” of the past year. Syria, easily one of the top three stories of 2013, along with Obamacare and Obamacapitulation (to Iran), is missing from the lists I’ve encountered. In 2013 the Assad regime, the demise of which was once considered a given, made huge gains in the Syrian civil war »

Justice takes a back seat in Israel thanks to John Kerry

Featured image I wrote here about Israel’s decisions (1) to release convicted terrorists as part of the renewed “peace process” that John Kerry is pushing but (2) to announce that it will proceed with new construction beyond the “green line” even though Kerry clearly does not want Israel to engage in such building. I suggested that the second decision is an attempt to make the first decision — a major concession — »

Meanwhile, in the Holy Land

Featured image It seems appropriate, before Christmas Day comes to an end, to summarize the latest news from the Holy Land. The first item for consideration is that there has been an uptick in terrorist activity by Palestinians against Israel. For example, an Israeli civilian working for the Defense Ministry was shot and killed on Tuesday by Palestinian sniper fire while working to fix damages caused to the Israeli-Gaza border fence. Other »

Prince Charles Comes Through For Christians

Featured image The persecution of Christians in predominantly Muslim countries is the great, unacknowledged human rights violation of our time. So kudos to Prince Charles–a decent guy, but often a bit of a goof when it comes to politics–for being willing to speak up. Last week, he addressed a group of Middle Eastern Christians at Clarence House: “I have for some time now been deeply troubled by the growing difficulties faced by »

The collapse of Obama’s Syria policy made manifest

Featured image President Obama’s Syria policy, to the extent that such a thing ever existed, collapsed some time ago. That collapse was made manifest yesterday by reports that the U.S. has suspended non-lethal aid to the rebel groups we have previously (albeit fitfully) supported. The decision to suspend even non-lethal aid stemmed from the capture by Islamist rebel forces of warehouses belonging to the Supreme Military Council, the group we have been »

Obama’s Iran bail out promotes Sunni-Shiite violence

Featured image The Washington Post notices that President Obama’s deal with Iran has been followed by an “uptick” in violence between Sunni and Shiite in the Middle East. The uptick is not a coincidence. It almost surely is the product of the shift in U.S. policy towards Iran, including but not limited to the “bail out” features of the deal, that Obama has wrought: As Sunni Arabs push back against a reordering »

A Day In the Life, In Jerusalem

Featured image One of the problems that many Israeli Jews deal with on a daily basis is Arab terrorists who throw rocks at their cars, hoping to injure or kill the occupants. That is not unheard of; American liberals have been known to do it, too. For example, during the 2008 Republican convention in St. Paul, liberal protesters dropped cement blocks off highway overpasses onto random cars driving below. But that was »

Why did France say “non”?

Featured image It fell to France to nix the terrible deal that John Kerry worked out with Iran — a deal that would have signaled the demise of sanctions without setting back the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons. But why did France pull the trigger? Upon hearing the news, I said that France’s veto stemmed mainly from “a robust sense of reality [about] the Middle East,” something that the Obama administration doesn’t »