Middle East

The Next War?

Featured image It is very likely the case that the next major war has started. No—I don’t mean the Russia-Ukraine War, which could yet spread to the rest of Europe if we’re unlucky. I mean the Israel-Iran War. It has been said that Israel and Iran have been at open war for some time now. (Actually, Iran and the U.S. have likewise been at war since 1979, though don’t tell John Kerry.) »

Meanwhile, in the Middle East

Featured image International attention has been focused on Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of that country. Meanwhile, events in the Middle East have been depressingly true to form. In Israel, at least 19 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians since the middle of March. The attacks appear to be mostly uncoordinated, but are being inspired and cheered on by Hamas. As a result, the London Times reports that Israel is contemplating »

I Can’t Believe I Miss Jimmy Carter

Featured image I’m slowly working up to a long piece about the parallels between the hapless Jimmy Carter Administration and the Biden Clown Show that go beyond inflation, energy market disruptions, foreign policy cluelessness, and other totems of the dismal 1970s. Carter, we tend to forget today, was the Democratic establishment’s necessary and acceptable choice to outflank George Wallace, who had a real shot of winning the Democratic nomination in 1976. In 2020, »

Report: Israel announces cease fire

Featured image The Washington Times reports that Israel has announced a cease fire in its battle against Hamas: Israel on Thursday announced a cease-fire in the bruising 11-day war against Hamas militants that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the cease-fire after a late-night meeting of his Security Cabinet. It said the group had unanimously »

Israel’s current struggle with Hamas and the Abraham Accords

Featured image Trump haters at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and elsewhere portray the latest conflagration in Israel as evidence that former president Trump’s Middle East deals — the Abraham Accords — weren’t worth celebrating, after all. In my view, this line misapprehends what the Accords were about. Trump may have overstated what the Accords meant. Like many a politician, and to a greater degree than most, he oversold nearly »

Israel’s crisis spills into English Premier League

Featured image This week, the Arabic-language social media sites of two English Premier League football teams voiced support for Hamas in its latest confrontation with Israel. The two clubs are Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) and West Ham United. The Wolves’ tweet stated, in Arabic: You don’t need to be Palestinian to speak, you just need to be human. Our hearts and prayers are behind Palestinians. God save the people of Jerusalem & Palestine. »

What’s Going On In the World?

Featured image When we look out on the world scene and how the Biden Administration is positioning itself, everyone should keep in mind the summary statement of former Defense Secretary and CIA director Robert Gates (no one’s idea of a partisan firebrand, as he’s been serving presidents of both parties since the Carter Administration): Joe Biden, Gates said, “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the »

Harvard Hires PLO Executive to Mentor Students

Featured image The Clarion Project reports that Harvard University has selected Saeb Erekat — who serves as secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) — to be a fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Erekat’s duties will include mentoring students and giving seminars in the school’s “The Future of Diplomacy Project.” Erekat is rabidly anti-Israel, as one would expect from a »

PL Podcast: The Three Whisky Happy Hour, with Guest Bartender Charles Lipson

Featured image This week’s Power Line Three Whisky Happy Hour finds Charles Lipson bellying up to the bar for a flight of whiskys that begins with a tale of his mis-spent youth discovering the “bootleggers and Baptists” hypothesis in the course of violating numerous federal and state laws, as well as his legendary Henry Kissinger impression. We take up three topics to go with three shots of whisky: the rapid transition from »

A skeptical note on Israel’s deal with the UAE

Featured image In a deal brokered by the Trump administration, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to normalize relations. In exchange for normalized relations, Israel agreed to suspend its West Bank annexation plans. The two sentences above point to an obvious problem with the deal. Normalized relations between two states are normal, and usually benefit both states. Why should one — and only one — of the two states have »

A Win In the Middle East

Featured image Today the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates jointly announced an agreement whereby Israel and the UAE have fully normalized their relationship. President Trump tweeted: Joint Statement of the United States, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates pic.twitter.com/oVyjLxf0jd — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2020 The communique paints an optimistic picture: Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming »

What happened in Beirut?

Featured image The best analysis I have found so far on the August 4 explosions in the port of Beirut is set forth in David Wurmser’s August 7 column “Lebanon: What happened?” Also useful is this backgrounder disseminated by the Shurat HaDin/Israel Law Center. I thought readers might find it of interest. With Shurat HaDin’s kind permission, I am posting it below: As the Lebanese people struggle to recover from the catastrophic »

The explosion in Beirut

Featured image If you’re wondering about the explosion that rocked Beirut yesterday, you may want to check out the Times of Israel staff report “Mystery swirls around what caused ammonium nitrate to explode in Beirut.” The Times of Israel report is the best I have seen so far. The Times of Israel site has more in the Gambrell/Federman AP story “Expert says ‘cheap pyrotechnics’ likely lit up ammonium nitrate in Beirut.” The »

Was Soleimani overrated?

Featured image Thomas Friedman calls the late Gen. Soleimani “Iran’s most overrated warrior.” He also calls Soleimani “possibly the dumbest man in Iran.” Friedman explains: In 2015, the United States and the major European powers agreed to lift virtually all their sanctions on Iran, many dating back to 1979, in return for Iran halting its nuclear weapons program for a mere 15 years, but still maintaining the right to have a peaceful »

On blaming Trump for Iran’s aggression against Saudi Arabia

Featured image It has become a standard talking point among leftists and Democrats to blame President Trump for Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. This Washington Post column by David Ignatius provides a good example of the genre. In his opening sentence, Igantius claims that Trump “start[ed] the fight” with Iran. We shouldn’t be surprised by this line of argument. As Jeane Kirkpatrick observed decades ago, the left always blames America »

What Next in the Persian Gulf?

Featured image Assuming Iran is indeed behind the attack on Saudi Arabia’s major oil refining facility, it represents a step-increase in Iranian-backed aggression in the region. The Wall Street Journal‘s Spencer Jakab says this attack is “the big one“: Saturday’s attack on a critical Saudi oil facility will almost certainly rock the world energy market in the short term, but it also carries disturbing long-term implications. Ever since the dual 1970s oil »

Trump administration backs Israel as tensions rise in region

Featured image Hezbollah has stated that it intends to produce missiles capable of striking Israel with pinpoint accuracy. Iran is assisting Hezbollah in this enterprise. It is helping Hezbollah construct and develop facilities at which precision missiles are manufactured. Israel has responded by attacking targets in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Attacks in the latter two countries are a recent development, prompted by stepped up Iranian efforts to assist Hezbollah’s missile development. The »