Middle East

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 »

Middle East “peace” talks: more of a joke than ever

Featured image How will President Obama’s willingness — over the strong objections of Israel — to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for virtually nothing affect his administration’s ability to broker a “peace” agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority? The question should answer itself. Given the disregard for Israel’s interest displayed by Obama and John Kerry last week, Israel clearly cannot trust this administration to make good on the promises that »

Is Obama Making a Middle East War More Likely?

Featured image Short answer: Yes.  Not just by its neglect of the region, hostility to Israel, and fecklessness about Syria and Egypt.  Its active overtures to Iran are likely increasing the chances of a Middle Eastern war, and this may be one reason why Saudi Arabia recently took the extraordinary step of declining a long-sought seat on the UN Security Council as a way of signaling publicly its disgust with Obama. These »

Will China Save the Middle East? (With comment by Paul)

Featured image Through the post-war era, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has been the guarantor of something approximating peace in the Middle East. The U.S. accepted that role largely because of its need for Middle Eastern oil imports. But times have changed: domestic energy development, especially fracking technology, unleashed on private lands beyond the reach of the Democratic Party’s Luddites, is rapidly turning the United »

The wages of Obama’s foreign policy indifference

Featured image Last month, relying mainly on the work of Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War, I wrote about the resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq. Today, the Washington Post, in a front page story that quotes Lewis extensively, describes the same phenomenon: Nearly two years after the U.S. troop withdrawal, Iraq is in the midst of a deepening security crisis as an al-Qaeda affiliate wages a relentless »

Obama’s Middle East abdication

Featured image David Ignatius shows how Obama administration policy towards Libya fits a familiar pattern of unwillingness to support anti-jihadist forces and governments in the Middle East: For a case study of why America’s influence has receded in the Middle East, consider the example of Libya. Some simple steps over the past two years might have limited the country’s descent toward anarchy. . . . When Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan visited »

Obama cuts U.S. aid to Egypt, but why?

Featured image President Obama has decided to withhold a significant amount of military aid to Egypt. The primary focus will be on the shipment of a dozen AH-64D Apache helicopters that were part of an $820 million order back in 2009. The U.S. will continue to provide spare parts for U.S. military equipment Egypt already has. And it will continue to support counterterrorism initiatives and security efforts in the Sinai, where Egypt »