Jewish Right To Israel

Jewish Right To Israel
Jewish Right To Palestine (click on image)
Showing posts with label Iraq. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iraq. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jonathan Spyer: Do 'Syria,' 'Iraq' and 'Lebanon' Still Exist?

The following by Jonathan Spyer is reposted here with permission:

Do 'Syria,' 'Iraq' and 'Lebanon' Still Exist?


by Jonathan Spyer
The Tower
February 2014

Jonathan Spyer
For almost a century, the Middle East has been defined by the nation-states that emerged following the Allied victory in World War I and the end of the colonial era. Since then, strategic analyses of the region have concentrated on the relations between these states, and diplomatic efforts have generally attempted to maintain their stability and the integrity of their borders. As a result, the current map of the Middle East has remained largely unchanged over more than nine decades.

But this is no longer the case. The old maps no longer reflect the reality on the ground, and the region is now defined not by rivalry between nation-states, but by sectarian divisions that are spilling across the old borders and rendering them irrelevant. Today, there is a single sectarian war underway across the Middle East, one that threatens to engulf the entire region.

Friday, December 06, 2013

MEQ Winter 2014: The Iraqi Shiite Challenge to Tehran's Mullahs

The following by Nathaniel Rabkin is reposted here with permission of the Middle East Forum:

The Iraqi Shiite Challenge to Tehran's Mullahs

by Nathaniel Rabkin
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2014

Monday, June 03, 2013

Arlene Kushner: A Tribute To International Lawyer Howard Grief -- and an Assessment of Various Middle East Crisis Points

From Arlene Kushner:
June 3, 2013

A Tribute

Howard Grief,

Howard Grief, z"l, passed away yesterday here in Jerusalem.  To those of us who work closely on issues concerning Jewish rights in the land and Jewish sovereignty, he provided not only an enormous amount of historical and legal information, but a perspective. He served as an inspiration because of his tireless dedication, even in the face of severe illness. 
I dedicate this posting to him, so that all who read this should know the debt we owe to him.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

US Intervention In Syria: Is Past Performance A Guarantee of Future Results?

Barry Rubin writes that If You Think America Should Go to War in Syria You Haven't Been Paying Attention:
I am amazed at the current U.S. debate over Syria. Those urging intervention may be driven by humanitarian good intentions, to end the fighting and ease suffering. But whatever they are proposing--no-fly zones, safe havens, direct supply of weapons to rebels, etc—have they actually considered how four highly visible, recent precedents turned out?
The 4 examples Rubin analyzes of US intervention in the Middle East are:
  • Afghanistan
  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Libya

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Despite Sunni - Shia Differences, Egypt Reaches Out To Iran and Iraq

The following by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Sunni Reachout to the Shia Crescent

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
The American Spectator
March 7, 2013

When it comes to Middle East analysis, one of the conventional lines of approach taken is to assume the sectarian paradigm whereby regional developments are interpreted through the lens of Shia-Sunni relations that are perceived as becoming ever more tense.

To an extent, this paradigm does have valid explanatory power. For example, on the subject of Syria and what role Assad should play in the country's future, it is clear that the region's nations are divided along a clear sectarian line on the matter, with Shia-led governments in Iraq and Iran, as well as the Lebanese faction Hezbollah, rejecting the idea that Assad must step down.

However, differing approaches towards Syria on a sectarian basis do not necessarily serve as a means to determine how the countries in the region might maintain economic relations with each other. The case of Egypt, whose government insists that Assad be removed from power, is the most recent example that demonstrates this point.

Monday, February 11, 2013

On 10th Anniversary of The Invasion Of Iraq, Do We Still Need To Debate If It Was Worth It?

The following by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

'Was the Iraq war worth it?'
is a question unworthy of debate
So why are we still asking it?

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
The Independent
February 11, 2013

With the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaching, a predictable stream of commentary and events asking the familiar question of whether the war was 'worth it' is beginning to arise. This trend has so far included a planned debate at Goldsmiths, University of London featuring prominent pro and anti-war commentators like Mehdi Hasan and David Aaronovitch; a conference hosted by the anti-war activist group 'Stop the War Coalition'; and a few articles in the Huffington Post and the Sunday Sun.

The main justification invoked for debating whether the war was 'worth it' is so that we might learn 'lessons' for the future. With the Iraq War, however, it is clear that the same old talking points are going to be brought up: 'Saddam was a brutal dictator!'; 'Look how much better off the Kurds are!'; 'Iraq is a democracy today!'; 'The war has killed up to a million people!'; 'The war has only fostered more terrorism!'; 'There were no WMDs!'; 'It was all about oil!'. Is this familiar debate worth having at all? Not really.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One Year After Obama Administration Pulls US Troops Out Of Iraq

The following by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is reposted here with permission:

Iraq: One Year After Withdrawal

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
The American Spectator, Middle East Forum
December 18, 2012

One year after the completion of the pullout of American troops from Iraq, what are the main issues affecting the country today?

Russian Arms Scandal and Corruption: On October 9, Iraq announced the signing of a $4.2 billion arms contract with Russia. Commentators took this deal to be a sign of waning U.S. influence in Iraq since the deal — had it gone through — would have drastically reduced Iraqi dependence on American arms supplies.

Thus, when it was announced on November 10 that the deal was scrapped over concerns of corruption, these same commentators (e.g. Michael Weiss) surmised that the cancellation must have somehow been due to U.S. pressure.

This sentiment was fueled by the BBC's quoting of a Russian analyst — Igor Korotchenko — at the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade. For he speculated: "As far as talk about corruption is concerned, I think it's a smokescreen. I believe this is just a pretext and the true reason is Washington applying pressure on Baghdad."

Moreover, the assumption made by commentators of U.S. influence at work here reflects the excessive tendency to view affairs in Iraq through the eyes of a "Great Game" between foreign powers (cf. the question of Iranian influence in Iraq).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Finally, A Sensible Approach Towards Israel

Hossein Askari, the Iran professor of international business and international affairs at the George Washington University, has written an op-ed for the LA Times, suggesting a sensible approach to take in the Middle East:
1. Do not rush in to push diplomacy
2. Do not make unnecessary concessions
3. Let the other side make the first move toward serious negotiations
Too bad he is offering these suggestions to Obama on how to deal with Iran and not on how Israel should deal with the PA.

In his op-ed, Askari writes:
A bevy of foreign policy experts are pressing Barack Obama to move quickly on his promise to "engage in aggressive personal diplomacy" with Iran.

He'd be better off first taking a long, deep breath and allowing Iran's economic crisis to take its toll on the mullahs before getting down to serious business.

...So the Obama administration has no need to swing into action. A rush to negotiate would only embolden the mullahs, extract unnecessary concessions from the U.S. and subject Iranians to clerical rule for the foreseeable future.

...So the new administration would be wise to back-burner serious negotiations with Iran for a while. Let Iran make the first move toward negotiations. If it does, the U.S. should respond positively but show no eagerness. Insist on overtures only from Iran's supreme leader.
Read the whole thing.

Unfortunate too is how off the mark Askari is when it comes to Iran, as if economic considerations alone will keep Iran from becoming a threat. At one point he writes:
Its military is puny; Iran fought Saddam Hussein for eight years and could not advance even 100 miles into Iraq, so it hardly represents a military threat to the United States or Israel. The large U.S. military presence in the region can easily keep Iran in check. Even if Iran is striving to develop nuclear weapons, it is at least three years away. All Iran can do is fan the flames against U.S. interests through surrogates such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
Askari does not address the fact that during that war that ended 20 years ago, if Iran did not advance far into Iraq during the war, Iraq for its part was unable to make much headway into Iran either. For that matter, he leaves out how the Majnoon Islands and the Al-Faw peninsula were captured by Iran.

Askari claims the US military--which has suffered losses as a result of Iranian supplied weapons--can keep Iran in check, an odd claim in light of the expressed intent not to perpetuate a large US military in the area.

The oddest thing is Askari's claim in that same paragraph that on the one hand Iran is not a military threat to Israel while admitting that Iran does "fan the flames against U.S. interests through surrogates such as Hezbollah and Hamas"

Now if only Obama would apply Askari's ideas about Iran towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict, while applying the world prevalent attitude onIsrael towards Iran--maybe then we could get somewhere.

Technorati Tag: and .

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Poll: Democrats' Plans For Iraq Have Americans Worried

According to Reuters, Bush's approval rating is down to 31% and huge majorities approve of the priorities the Democrats have set for the legislature.

However, when it comes to Iraq--the majority of Americans are worried about what the Democrats might do.
While a bare majority of 51 percent called the Democrats' victory "a good thing," even more said they were concerned about some of the actions a Democratic Congress might take, including 78 percent who were somewhat or very concerned that it would seek too hasty a withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Another 69 percent said they were concerned that the new Congress would keep the administration "from doing what is necessary to combat terrorism," and two-thirds said they were concerned it would spend too much time investigating the administration and Republican scandals.

Technorati Tag: and and .

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Something About Baghdad

The Ignoble Experiment writes about Sinan Antoon, who filmed the movie "About Baghdad."
The film consists of a series of interviews with Iraqis from all backgrounds - Sunni and Shiite, rich and poor, educated and not so much, old and young. In essence, the director wanted to find out the reactions to the war and the presence of the American forces.
She describes the documentary in general, and 2 of the people interviewed in particular--
One of them is a woman lawyer who offers a contrast to Lynne Stewart.
The other is a taxi driver who would prefer even Israelis to Hussein.

Antoon offers a real insight into what Iraqis are thinking and saying.
So too does Irina.

Technorati Tag: and .

Friday, June 16, 2006

Terrorism and the Media: The Symbiosis

Instapundit has a piece about the symbiotic relationship between the media on the one hand and terrorism on the other. He puts it succinctly:
Terrorism is an information war disguised as a military operation. The press plays a symbiotic role, and isn't willing to address that.
Along these lines, he quotes from a document found in Al-Zarqawi's hideout. After outlining the various ways the US has been successful against the terrorists, the first item listed in the terrorist effort to regroup is:
To improve the image of the resistance in society, increase the number of supporters who are refusing occupation and show the clash of interest between society and the occupation and its collaborators. To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance. [emphasis added]
The degree to which this ploy has worked is documented by the Washington Post, which Instapundit points to as an example of the symbiotic relationship between the media and the terrorism:
More ink equals more blood, claim two economists who say that newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks.

It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a "common-interest game," say Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University.

"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."

...The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.
The international media may perhaps be unaware of the consequences of their doting coverage of terrorists when the consequences are not constantly and blatantly laid at their front doorstep, but what can be said of the leftist media in Israel, when the consequences are seen--and felt--on a near daily basis? It's likely more a result of the overall leftist viewpoint of the media, than anything else. Ideology trumps profit: and the results are no better.

In the article, the researchers goes on to suggest the logical step of denying them publicity by not publicly naming the terrorists--even given the exposure to news possible via the Internet, they suggest that since more than one group often claims responsibility, the affect of the publicity would be muted.

I'm not sure what the difference would be, whether multiple claims of responsibility were made publicly or made known over the Internet.

On the other hand, there is an example where terrorist responsibility should be made public: the involvement of Yasir Arafat in the assasination of American Ambassador, Cleo A. Noel Jr., and the charge d'affaires, George C. Moore in March 1973. It is unclear why the US Governement did not make clear Arafat's responsibility.

According to a New York Times article back in April 1986:

Assistant Attorney General John R. Bolton told Congress today that the United States would not seek the indictment of Yasir Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in the 1973 killings of two American diplomats in the Sudan.

The department said it had insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr. Arafat in the deaths of the American Ambassador, Cleo A. Noel Jr., and the charge d'affaires, George C. Moore.

Members of Congress had asked the department to study recent evidence that the lawmakers said indicated Mr. Arafat might have taken part in the decision by Palestinian guerrillas to kill the two men.

This is the same controversial and outspoken John Bolton who now represents the US at the UN.

But last month, the following was released by the Office of the Historian:
In the early evening hours of 1 March 1973, eight Black September Organization (BSO) terrorists seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum as a diplomatic reception honoring the departing United States Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) was ending. After slightly wounding the United States Ambassador and the Belgian Charge d'Affaires, the terrorists took these officials plus the United States DCM, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and the Jordanian Charge d'Affaires hostage. In return for the freedom of the hostages, the captors demanded the release of various individuals, mostly Palestinian guerrillas, imprisoned in Jordan, Israel and the United States.

The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.
The fact that Arafat was directly involved in the assassination is not new knowledge.

Scott Johnson points out in an article in November 2003 and again in a post on Powerline on Thursday that the State Department knew that Arafat was directly involved in the assasination of the two Americans from the beginning. [see also Solomonia on the electronic intercept of Arafat's order]

While writing an article on the topic in 2002, Johnson wrote to the State Department and was informed:
Evidence clearly points to the terrorist group Black September as having committed the assassinations of Amb. Noel and George Moore, and though Black September was a part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat and this group has never been established. [emphasis added]
Johnson later acquired 27 previously classified cables through the Freedom of Information Act. According to Johnson:

The cables demonstrated that in March 1973 the State Department had promptly concluded that Black September was nothing more than a front for Fatah and that Arafat himself had directed the operation resulting in the assassination of Noel and Moore. Both points are made over and over again in the cables to and from the Secretary of State.

To take one example, in early March the U.S Mission in Vienna reported to Secretary Rogers: "The Black September Organization (BSO) is a cover term for Fatah's terrorist operations executed by Fatah's intelligence organization, Jihaz al-Rasd...For all intents and purposes no significant distinction now can be made between the BSO and Fatah...Fatah leader Yasir Arafat has now been described in recent intelligence as having given approval to the Khartoum operation prior to its inception."

It's all very well for the US to assume to attempt to broker a peace treaty between Rabin and Arafat, but if it had been common knowledge that Arafat--a world terrorist and no freedom fighter--had ordered the murder of US officials, would Clinton and the US been so ready to push Israel into the Oslo Accords?


Soccer Dad recalls that Lady Margaret Thatcher said it best 20 years ago:
Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.

Update II:

Thanks to Atlas Shrugs, Bizzy Blog and NewsBusters for linking!

Crossposted at Israpundit

Technorati Tag: and and and and and and and .

Monday, March 27, 2006

Civil War: The Iraqi and Palestinian Models

Apparently, it is now important to consider defining the killing over in Iraq as a civil war--or not as a civil war. I agree with Charles Krauthammer when he writes that "this whole debate about civil war is surreal"--but then he loses me when he continues:
What is the insurgency if not a war supported by one (minority) part of Iraqi society fighting to prevent the birth of the new Iraqi state supported by another (majority) part of Iraqi society?
But isn't what he is describing an insurgency, which is defined as, "an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict."

And then Krauthammer turns around and writes:
As I noted here in November 2004: "People keep warning about the danger of civil war. This is absurd. There already is a civil war. It is raging before our eyes. Problem is, only one side " -- the Sunni insurgency -- " is fighting it." [emphasis added]
Well, if only one side of an insurgency is fighting an insurgency--that is an insurgency, isn't it?

The whole think is pretty ridiculous, when you think about it. We live in an age when the word 'terrorist' has been completely corrupted, and now we're all supposed to agree on a straightforward definition of what a civil war is?

Meanwhile, what about the Palestinian civil war? No not the civil war in 1947--according to
During the period between the end the UN vote on partition and the end of the British mandate, Civil War broke out between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Most of the battles during this period were won by the Jews.

From the moment the United Nations voted to partition, civil war erupted in Palestine. [emphasis added]
That is an interesting way of putting it, but no, when people talk about the Palestinian civil war they are referring to the currenting in-fighting among Palestinian Arabs, the one that is not generally talked about--except as something to be avoided by Israel making concessions to prop up the PA.

But something is definitely going on there. Back in January, following Hamas' victory, you had Hamas clashing with security forces, Palestinian police storming the parliament building, and Fatah gunmen posting a picture of Arafat and firing their guns in the air--and things were pretty lively over in the West Bank as well, with more clashes just last week.

Isn't that a civil war?

But while the fighting and killing in Iraq is over the direction Iraq will take, the clashes in Gaza and the West Bank are over jobs and political positions that are going to be lost, as well as an intense rivalry between Hamas and Fatah. Basically, it boils down to a gang war. It is a far cry from what Dennis Prager prescribes in Only a Palestinian civil war will bring peace:
A significant percentage of Palestinians do not want peace with Israel; they want peace without an Israel. If these individuals and groups are not fought by those Palestinians who want peace with Israel, peace is impossible.
This fundamental difference between the political war going on in Iraq and the turf war between Palestinian Arab groups is why in Iraq, Hussein loyalists who opposed the January 2005 election were, by December, urging their fellow Sunnis to vote and warned Al Qaeda to stay away--while Hamas, which is careful not to welcome Al Qaeda with open arms, has no grudge with them.

Al Qaeda knows that Iraq is a real country and a real democracy in the making, while Hamas is a kindred spirit--another terrorist group that will not play the games that Fatah did under Abbas, making sounds of peace.

Technorati Tag: and and and and and .

Monday, November 14, 2005

Responding to Kennedy on Iraq IV: "WMD"

4. Weapons of Mass Destruction

Kennedy said, "and the various weapons inspectors have dismissed the -- the other claim ("Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons or he was right in the proximity of developing it")"

First of all, Hans Blix--in an address to the UN Security Council on January 27, 2003--said the following:
The discovery of a number of 122 mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions.

The investigation of these rockets is still proceeding. Iraq states that they were overlooked from 1991 from a batch of some 2,000 that were stored there during the Gulf War. This could be the case. They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.
Another issue regarding the WMD that has not been fully resolved is whether any components could have been moved from Iraq to Syria before the war.

David Kay, the former head of the coalition's hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, believed that some comonents were moved:
"We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."
A side point to this is the claim that the only reason given for the war was the existence of the Weapons of Mass Destruction. Apparently even the New York Times was confused by this--Andrew Sullivan shows that in less than 12 months the Times forgot the reasons Bush gave:

"President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night [at his American Enterprise Institute speech] of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a 'free and peaceful Iraq' that would serve as a 'dramatic and inspiring example' to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time." -- New York Times editorial, February 27, 2003.

"The White House recently began shifting its case for the Iraq war from the embarrassing unconventional weapons issue to the lofty vision of creating an exemplary democracy in Iraq." -- New York Times editorial, today [November 13, 2003].
See also:

Responding to Kennedy on Iraq I: "Imminent Threat"
Responding to Kennedy on Iraq II: "The Rush to War"
Responding to Kennedy on Iraq III: "Iraq & Al Qaeda"
Responding to Kennedy on Iraq V: "Niger"

Technorati Tag: .