On Sunday, Massoud Barzani, President of Iraqi Kurdistan, called on the international community to provide arms directly to the Kurdish Regional Government to enable it to combat the barbarically brutal Islamic State. Iraq’s Kurds are pro-American. They govern their territory effectively and peaceably, and they are among the most tolerant people in the Muslim Middle East—qualities demonstrated anew, as they provide refuge to the hundreds of thousands who have fled the advances of the Islamic State and who include members of Iraq’s ancient Christian and Yazidi communities, as well as Shi’ite, and even Sunni, Arabs. Arming the Kurds would seem to have been an obvious step long ago, but President Obama insisted on routing U.S. arms through Baghdad and did not change U.S. policy, until after Barzani’s public appeal. [Read more...]
The inclination to uncontrollable urge for verbal diarrhea, motivated by narcissism and shallow intellectual abilities and not by wisdom and experience, is the ubiquitous attribute of the professionally challenged person. Indeed, in the conjunction between self-reproach for the actions of the ancestors and the idiotic mediatization of today’s politics, the most fatal errors in electoral judgment were committed in 2008 and then in 2012. These errors had two consequences. [Read more...]
Despite the intense efforts of Beijing to Sinicise Xinjiang, it remains the most un-Chinese of China’s administrative regions and the only one with a majority Muslim population. It occupies one-sixth of China’s territory featuring the largest desert in the world, the highest mountains in Asia after the Himalayas, and one of the most ethnically diverse regions on the Eurasian land-mass.
When Chinese dynasties were potent Hsu Yu (Western Region) was fortified with military encampments. This was generally the case respectively during the Han, Tang, Yuan, Ming and Ch’ing Dynasties. [Read more...]
Obama and the rest of the world need to come to the aid of a Sudanese woman sentenced to death.
It only took about a month, but now the entire country is following the unfolding story of the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were abducted from their school by an Islamic terrorist group called Boko Haram, which reportedly means “western education is sinful.” News accounts indicate the group’s leader has repeatedly threatened to sell the girls, leading some commentators to upbraid the United States and the Obama administration for its seeming indifference to their plight.
Negotiations between the Nigerian government and the kidnappers have repeatedly broken down, according to news reports, as tensions rise. Though they have now reportedly been located, Nigerian Defense Chief Air Marshal Alex Badeh said Monday there would be no effort to rescue them, lest they all be killed. [Read more...]
The State Department’s Counter Terrorism (CT) Bureau promoted on Friday a controversial Muslim scholar whose organization has reportedly backed Hamas and endorsed a fatwa authorizing the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The CT bureau on Friday tweeted out a link to the official website of Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, the vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a controversial organization founded by a Muslim Brotherhood leader “who has called for the death of Jews and Americans and himself is banned from visiting the U.S.,” according to Fox News. [Read more...]
On December 3, 2007 the US intelligence community released an NIE or National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.
A month later, on January 1, 2008, “All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror” by Stephen Kinzer was published.
The first claimed the Iranians stopped their nuclear warhead work in 2003.
The second claimed the American CIA planned a “coup” in 1953 in Iran which brought Shah Pahlavi back to power.
The stories are critical to understand the inability of the US and its allies to successfully end the terrorist regime in Tehran and stop its nuclear ambitions. [Read more...]
On February 1, 1979, the Shi’a cleric, Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, flew from his exile in a Paris suburb to Tehran to fill the political vacuum created by the sudden departure of the long reigning monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, on January 17, 1979. His return was widely popularized in the Western media and by his acolytes as the long overdue genesis of Iran’s transformation from a dictatorial and antediluvian monarchy into a modern, secular democracy. In reality, Khomeini’s rhetoric was merely a revolutionary hoax, an opportunistic and inchoate attempt to turn a politically deeply divided, and thus chaotic country into a sham religious autocracy, characterized by totalitarianism at home and terrorism abroad. [Read more...]
The search, now 30 years old, for Iranian “moderates” goes on. Amid the enthusiasm of the latest sighting, it’s worth remembering that the highlight of the Iran-contra arms-for-hostages debacle was the secret trip to Tehran taken by Robert McFarlane, President Reagan’s former national security adviser. He brought a key-shaped cake symbolizing the new relations he was opening with the “moderates.”
We know how that ended.
Three decades later, the mirage reappears in the form of Hassan Rouhani. Strange résumé for a moderate: 35 years of unswervingly loyal service to the Islamic Republic as a close aide to Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei. Moreover, Rouhani was one of only six presidential candidates, another 678 having been disqualified by the regime as ideologically unsound. That puts him in the 99th centile for fealty.
Rouhani is Khamenei’s agent but, with a smile and style, he’s now hailed as the face of Iranian moderation. [Read more...]
With a single notable exception after World War I, it had always been the unique characteristic of various Turkish states that in times of great crises they lacked leaders capable of rising above the sentimental currents of public hysteria. Thus, when the currently ruling Justice and Development Party, the AKP, came to power in 2002, most Western politicians and political pundits claimed that its moderate Islamic political philosophy was more in tune with the majority’s desire than the ossified secularism of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Moreover, these experts also stated that the AKP demonstrated the viability of a democratic model for societies with overwhelming Muslim population. However, the protests that shook Turkey since May 31st gave the lie to the myth of moderate Islam’s noble, tolerant and peaceful opposition to modern secularism. [Read more...]
In the beginning, the Hebrew Bible tells us, the universe was all “tohu wabohu,” chaos and tumult. This month the Middle East seems to be reverting to that primeval state: Iraq continues to unravel, the Syrian War grinds on with violence spreading to Lebanon and allegations of chemical attacks this week, and Egypt stands on the brink of civil war with the generals crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and street mobs torching churches. Turkey’s prime minister, once widely hailed as President Obama’s best friend in the region, blames Egypt’s violence on the Jews; pretty much everyone else blames it on the U.S.
The Obama administration had a grand strategy in the Middle East. It was well intentioned, carefully crafted and consistently pursued.
Unfortunately, it failed. [Read more...]
In Egypt, nobody wanted military intervention, yet nobody believed in a smooth transition to democracy. For this reason, Egyptians viewed the military as the guarantor of order and stability, albeit they hoped to avoid another military coup. When it actually came on July 5, 2013, it reinforced the incontrovertible fact of many prior great transitions: a nation’s historical sins, embodied in the acts of its previous despots, tyrants and dictators, always come back to haunt their successors. [Read more...]
Historically, Iran is an ancient civilization but a relatively young Muslim country. The seventh century Arab-Islamic conquest of Persia was and is still viewed by the majority as a defining national catastrophe inflicted upon a superior civilization by primitive foreign invaders. Presently, after fourteen centuries, Iran is still torn between the loss of its global empire and the narrative of the self-sacrifice of Husayn, the son of Ali and the grandson of Mohammad, against the Sunni usurper Yazid in the defense of the absolute Truth and divine legitimacy. As a result, Iran and its peoples, called the Shiite-Ali, had remained to this day a divided state and society in which successive rulers and religious authorities had oscillated between their faith in the global mission of Shia-Islam and their loyalty to their national identity. [Read more...]
History, in her disposition toward intellectually gifted peoples and nations, appears as fickle as the gods of ancient times were wont to be of their most devout revelers; the more those peoples and nations excelled the less they were shielded from endless tribulations, great catastrophes, and devastating tragedies. Like most of the nation-states of Europe and Asia, present-day Iran had a glorious history, yet unlike them, it has been torn since 1979 between revolutionary adventurism and reactionary self-preservation.
The fatal contradiction in Ayatollah Khomeini’s doctrine of the “guardianship of the jurist” (velayat-e faqih) is that, by definition, it contains the political seeds of its own destruction. [Read more...]
How they were changed to obscure the truth
Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults. The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom. [Read more...]
Nobody should have been surprised when Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a “constitutional declaration” on Thursday asserting total political power. This was, after all, the former Muslim Brotherhood leader’s second power grab since he took office in June, complementing his earlier seizure of legislative and constitution-writing authorities by now insulating himself from judicial oversight. Yet Washington was caught entirely off-guard: Morsi’s power play was at odds with the administration’s view that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “democratic party,” and his impressive handling of last week’s Gaza ceasefire created a modicum of trust between him and President Obama. So the State Department released a predictably confused statement, urging “all Egyptians to resolve their differences … peacefully and through democratic dialogue.” [Read more...]