Middle East

Hamas and the libertarians

Featured image The libertarian movement apparently is divided over Hamas and Israel. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, has made a libertarian case against Hamas. In essence, the case is this: Hamas stands behind an ideology which expressly seeks to deprive individuals of their rights. As Walter Hudson puts it: “Islamic totalitarianism manifest in the entity of Hamas presents a common enemy to the United States and Israel. Neither »

What was Kerry doing?

Featured image David Harsanyi tries to account for John Kerry’s decision to hand Israel a proposed ceasefire agreement, driven by Qatar (Hamas’ sponsor) and Turkey, so favorable to Hamas that Israel was bound not only to reject it, but to take offense. This is what Kerry proposed: • Rather than empowering Fatah, recognizing Hamas as the legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip, though it is considered a terrorist organization by the Justice »

Report: At least 160 children died digging Hamas’ tunnels

Featured image Because of their size and agility, children make good tunnel-diggers. The English knew this when they were digging coal mines during the Victorian era; Hamas knows it now. Thus, the Journal of Palestine Studies (edited by President Obama’s pro-Palestinian friend Rashid Khalidi) reported in 2012 that Hamas uses children to help dig tunnels into Israel. The finding appears in a paper called Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s »

John Kerry and “what everyone knows”

Featured image For decades, diplomats and pundits have been saying that “everyone” — by which they mean their fellow diplomats and pundits — knows what the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute would look like. It would look, they say, like two states with something similar to the re-1967 Israeli border and “security guarantees” for Israel. Lost on this arrogant breed is the fact that if everyone has known for so long what »

Was Lois Lerner Transferred to the FAA?

Featured image It is quite clear that Lois Lerner was the designated political hit-person for Obama at the IRS, targeting Obama’s political opponents.  Could she have been transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration and no one was told? The question arises from the peculiar decision of the FAA to prohibit American air carriers from flying to Israel, now extended to a second day, despite there being no new incidents of rockets falling »

The steep price of Israel’s Gaza pullout

Featured image As always, once the serious fighting starts, Israel is receiving most of the blame for the current battle in Gaza. And in an important sense, Israel actually is to blame. Had it not pulled out of Gaza, it would not now be fighting this war. This war, like the several before it, is the entirely predictable consequence of Israel’s inability to police Gaza. As a result of the pullout, Hamas »

Israel seems ready to tune John Kerry out

Featured image In his recent “hot mic” moment, John Kerry responded to news of civilian deaths in Gaza with these words: It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. Hell of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there. I think we ought to go tonight. The truth is that Kerry’s desire to “get over” to the Middle East has nothing to do with any lack of precision in Israel’s military operations. »

Israel moves into Gaza

Featured image Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive into Gaza today. The stated objective is to eliminate Hamas’s rocket capabilities and to dismantle the network of tunnels used by the militants to infiltrate Israel. Israel undertook the offensive only after diplomatic efforts in Cairo to negotiate a sustainable truce with Hamas broke down. According to Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, spokesman for the IDF, the ground offensive began at 10 p.m. Israeli »

The case for an Israeli incursion into Gaza

Featured image Now that Hamas has rejected the cease fire proposed by Egypt, the next logical step is for Israel to move into Gaza and capture and dismantle Hamas’ arsenal of rockets. It’s not clear, however, whether this is what Prime Minister Netanyahu has in mind. Netanyahu says that “when there is no cease-fire, our answer is fire.” But this could mean a continuation of Israel’s air attacks on Hamas’ arsenal, rather »

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. »