Monthly Archives: March 2011

Gleanings, 27.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Ehud Yaari: The Muqawama Doctrine

The second Lebanon war has put wind in the sails of the rejectionists across our borders, increasing numbers of whom believe that finally, they have hit upon an effective plan of action against Israel. Predictably, declarations about the inevitable demise of the Jewish state are back in fashion. More than 30 years after the Arab states and their army commanders came to the conclusion that they had no viable means of removing Israel from the map and stopped talking openly of their desire to annihilate it, the discourse in the Arab world is changing. Following the cue of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, the leaders of Hamas and Hizballah have broken out in spontaneous hoorahs about the Zionist clock ticking toward its final hour.

Omri Ceren: European Left Applying Libya Precedent to Israel, Calling for Military Action

The junior partner in the Norwegian government, the Socialist Left Party of Kristin Halvorsen, (Sosialistisk Venstreparti), plans to vote on a measure calling for military action against Israel if it decides to act against the Hamas in Gaza…

But with due deference to Norway’s status as a particularly toxic cesspool of anti-Israel incitement, the idea won’t stay in Oslo. Ambassador Rice and President Obama have succeeded in linking the use of national force with a particularly flexible interpretation of international humanitarianism. Contemporary international humanitarianism, in turn, is a pretext seething activists and government officials use to obsess over Israel. With every juridical tool imaginable already being turned against the Jewish state, it’s inevitable that this newer and more expansive precedent will soon become very popular.

FP: When I argued that it was dismissed as nonsense.

Michael J. Totten: Our Government Needs New Advisors

Good God. Hillary Clinton says there will be no intervention in Syria because members of both parties in Congress believe Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” He’s actually a totalitarian state sponsor of terrorism with American, Israeli, Lebanese, Iraqi, and Syrian blood on his hands. And some of that Syrian blood is still warm on the streets. Will someone send her a copy of my book, please?

BAT YE’OR: BIG DANGER OF MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD WINNING IN UPCOMING ELECTION IN EGYPT (MUST READ)

We are on the way to the end, I fear, for the Muslim Brotherhood is the only well-organized and structured movement with clear objectives and an international power base. It also seems that it has almost unlimited access to financing. I am of the opinion that any comparison with Western revolution is meaningless, because we are dealing with a Shariah society that works within a political view of reality that rejects the foundation of our own. I have also noticed with great sadness  that the attacks and murders of Copts have increased … It is very dangerous, for it has adopted a Western language to undermine the West. It aims to Islamise modernity, not to modernize Islam. Its founders and leaders promote jihad as a method for the introduction of Sharia, which they believe will cover all aspects of life, personal as well as social and political.

CAMERA: LA Times Defends ‘Tit-for-Tat Mentality’

The Los Angeles Times goes on the defensive about its indefensible characterization of the the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as “the self-destructive tit-for-tat mentality that often seems designed to keep the conflict alive rather than to end it.” … As for the “cycle” of violence question, it would be an interesting question for the deep thinkers at the Times to ponder: what would happen if Israeli forces simply laid down their arms and did not attempt to stop any rocket crews, or prevent tunneling into Israel to carry out attacks, or to hunt down terrorists? Would Palestinian attacks continue? And what would happen if the Palestinians completely halted all attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, and stopped stockpiling ever more dangerous Iranian weaponry for the next round? Would Israeli attacks continue?

Barry Rubin: The Gullenization of Turkey

An investigative journalist named Ahmet Shik has been working on a book about Fatitullah Gulen. But Gulen, a controversial Islamist who has huge amounts of money, his own media empire, has bought off some American Middle East experts, runs lots of schools, practically owns the Turkish police, and engages in a variety of covert activities aimed to transform Turkey into an Islamist state. Apparently, Turkish journalists do not have the right to criticize or investigate the movement. So not only was Shek arrested–as an alleged terrorist!–and all the copies of his manuscript seized by the police, but the authorities then went on to raid his publisher’s office and two of his friends homes and offices. They deleted the versions on all of their computers. Then, realizing that an expert can restore deleted files, the police returned and took the hard disks with them.

FP: Claire Berlinski from Turkey: The Hunt for the Imam’s Army

PowerLine: There May Not Always Be An England

That’s bad enough. But the decline of British civilization is reflected even more brutally in the rampaging mob that smashed store fronts, “occupied” businesses, and battled police. And perhaps most of all in the weak response of the authorities.

RL additions:

Russell Jacoby, Bloodlust: Why we should fear our neighbors more than strangers

Edward Said’s 1978 Orientalism opened with a description of the continuing Lebanese Civil War—about which his sister, Jean Said Makdisi, later wrote an eloquent memoir, Beirut Fragments. For Said, however, that war served only to highlight how the West envisioned the East. His much-cited and much-celebrated book analyzed fault lines between West and East, not fault lines between East and East. “Orientalism was ultimately a political vision of reality whose structure promoted the difference between the familiar (Europe, the West, ‘us’) and the strange (the Orient, the East, ‘them’),” Said wrote.

A thousand, perhaps 10,000, scholars followed him and have written about how “we” construct the “other,” or the stranger. Of course they needed little nudging. Academics are thrilled with the “other” and the vagaries of how we represent the foreign. By profession, anthropologists are visitors from afar. We are outsiders, writes an anthropologist, “seeking to understand unfamiliar cultures.” Humanists and social theorists also have fallen in love with the “other.” A recent paper by the literary critic Toril Moi is titled “Literature, Philosophy, and the Question of the Other.” In a recent issue of Signs, a philosopher writes about “Occidental Dreams: Orientalism and History in ‘The Second Sex.’”

Jackson Diehl, In Obama’s push for Mideast peace, whose side is he on?

A reasonable person might conclude from the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria et al., that the Middle East’s deepest problems have nothing to do with Israel and that the Obama administration’s almost obsessive focus on trying to broker an Israeli-Palestinian settlement in its first two years was misplaced. But Obama isn’t one of those persons. Instead, like several American presidents before him, he seems to have concluded that the ideal segue from the latest Arab crisis is a new attempt to pressure Israel into accepting a quick march to Palestinian statehood.

David Goldman, Food and Syria’s Failure

As I wrote in Food and failed Arab states (Asia Times Online February 2, 2011), the newly prosperous consumers of Asia have priced food grains out of the reach of the destitute Arab poor. This is a tsunami which no government in the region can resist. Of all the prospectively failed states in the region, Syria seemed the least vulnerable, with a determined and vicious regime prepared to inflict unspeakable brutality on its opponents, and its inability to contain unrest is a frightening gauge of the magnitude of the shock.

The Arab bazaar speculates in foodstuffs as aggressively as hedge funds, and the Syrian government’s attempt last month to keep food prices down prompted local merchants to hoard commodities with a long shelf life. Fruit and vegetable prices, by contrast, remain low, because the bazaar does not hoard perishables. The fact that prices rose after the government announced high-profile measures to prevent such a rise exposed the fecklessness of the Assad regime.

Gleanings, 25.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Caroline Glick: Understanding the third terror war (MUST READ)

But in truth, the discussion about how the US will respond to the planned Palestinian declaration is largely beside the point. The point of the threatened declaration is not to get a UN Security Council resolution supporting it. The point is to get the EU to enact further sanctions against Israel …  The fact that Fatah and Hamas have neither waited until after September to attack nor sought to differentiate themselves from one another as the attacks coalesce into a new terror campaign indicates strongly that the Palestinians no longer feel they need to pretend to oppose terror to maintain European support for their war against Israel.

Barry Rubin: Egypt’s Revolution Plus U.S. Government Mistakes Makes Israel-Hamas War Inevitable (MUST READ)

Given this situation, there are only two ways to stop Hamas from waging war on Israel. A shorter-range solution is deterrence through strength and weakening Hamas with tough sanctions. The defeat Israel inflicted on Hamas in the 2008-2009 war and the tight sanctions in place until 2010 forced the organization to retrench and  be cautious for a while. The only longer-term solution is the overthrow of the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and the maximum possible destruction of that group’s leadership, structures, and resources. Events in Egypt and U.S. policy, however, have destroyed this shorter-range solution and made impossible the longer-range one.

Brendan O’Neill: Danny Alexander the Great? Do me a favour

This is one of the most worrying things about the West’s vain and vacuous mission in Libya: it is being led by people who know next to nothing about how geopolitics works. David Cameron’s emotionally incontinent adventures in foreign affairs since he became PM have been uniformly disastrous, from his foot-in-mouth comments in India/Pakistan to his isolation of Israel to his ill-advised jaunt to post-Mubarak Egypt on his way to sell guns to various Arab authoritarians. Nicolas Sarkozy is apparently being advised by Bernard-Henri Lévy, an Armani-wearing, two-bit philosopher who fancies himself as a liberator of foreign underdogs almost as much as he fancies himself. President Obama seems clueless and indecisive on anything foreign-related, and is apparently torn between his national security adviser, the genocide-obsessive and zealous interventionist Samantha Power who couldn’t wait to hurl a few missiles at Libya, and his secretary of defence Robert Gates, who advised against rushing into the Libyan conflict.

Charles Krauthammer: Obama and Libya: The professor’s war (MUST READ)

A man who dithers over parchment. Who starts a war from which he wants out right away. Good God. If you go to take Vienna, take Vienna. If you’re not prepared to do so, better then to stay home and do nothing.

Hillel FradkinLewis Libby: Egypt’s Islamists: A Cautionary Tale

We should not delude ourselves. There is a great possibility that a state either under the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood or deeply influenced by it will adversely affect our position in a crucial part of the world. Secular forces would recede. More radicals would be schooled. Islamists would dominate the most populous and most developed countries in the Middle East—Iran, Turkey, and Egypt. The dire straits in which Israel would find itself would not be limited to the Jewish state alone. At long last, and to the world’s great peril, the Muslim Brotherhood would have no more need of caution.

Peggy Noonan: The Speech Obama Hasn’t Given

He has no happy experience as a rallier of public opinion and a leader of great endeavors; the central initiative of his presidency, the one that gave shape to his leadership, health care, is still unpopular and the cause of continued agitation. When he devoted his entire first year to it, he seemed off point and out of touch. This was followed by the BP oil spill, which made him look snakebit. Now he seems incompetent and out of his depth in foreign and military affairs. He is more observed than followed, or perhaps I should say you follow him with your eyes and not your heart. So it’s funny he’d feel free to launch and lead a war, which is what this confused and uncertain military action may become.

What was he thinking? What is he thinking?

Jamie Gump For FBI Director?

Is President Obama really thinking of nominating Jamie Gorelick to head the FBI? It seems almost inconceivable that anyone would consider appointing her to run anything … Ms. Gorelick has been a disaster everywhere she has gone. Like so many Democrats, she combines self-interest and self-righteousness to a remarkable degree. Through corrupt self-dealing she has become rich, while at the same time contributing to both the worst episode of terrorism in our history and the worst economic debacle since the Great Depression. For God’s sake, Barack, don’t inflict her on us again! She is rich enough, and the rest of us are poor enough, already.

Gleanings, 26.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Paul Pillar: Dictators Learn Their Lessons (MUST READ)

The United States has been giving the North Koreans not only a single lesson but a whole course on what to do with its nuclear weapons program. The Iraq War, coupled with U.S. policy toward North Korea itself, taught the lesson that if you’re thinking of getting involved with nuclear weapons, go full steam ahead so you can get at least one bomb in the basement as a deterrent before the United States or someone else uses military force to get rid of you. Now with the Libyan situation, the lesson is to cling to whatever nuclear weapons you have already managed to make. The rulers in Iran, being no dummies, are almost certainly drawing the same lessons. It will be very difficult, and will take much time and effort, to cause such lessons to be unlearned.

The unfortunate lessons are the sort of indirect effect that gets too little attention before major initiatives like the military intervention in Libya. It is not as if the possible impact on the perceptions of third parties is never considered, but the consideration gets narrowed to a single notion: that if the United States does not use force in the situation under discussion, its credibility will be damaged and other governments will not believe that it will not use force as necessary in other situations in which its vital interests may be at stake. As Benjamin Friedman points out, the historical record belies that notion. Governments do not gauge credibility that way because what the United States does when its vital interests are not at stake is a poor indicator of what it will do when they are. In contrast, the experience of Qaddafi’s regime in dealing with the West is directly applicable to the predicaments of an Iran or North Korea.

Robert Kaplan: The Middle East Crisis Has Just Begun (MUST READ)

The United States may be a democracy, but it is also a status quo power, whose position in the world depends on the world staying as it is. In the Middle East, the status quo is unsustainable because populations are no longer afraid of their rulers. Every country is now in play. Even in Syria, with its grisly security services, widespread demonstrations have been reported and protesters killed. There will be no way to appease the region’s rival sects, ethnicities and other interest groups except through some form of democratic representation, but anarchic quasi-democracy will satisfy no one. Other groups will emerge, and they may be distinctly illiberal.

Whatever happens in Libya, it is not necessarily a bellwether for the Middle East. The Iranian green movement knows that Western air forces and navies are not about to bomb Iran in the event of a popular uprising, so it is unclear what lesson we are providing to the region. Because outside of Iran, and with the arguable exceptions of Syria and Libya itself, there is no short-term benefit for the U.S. in democratic revolts in the region. In fact, they could be quite destructive to our interests, even as they prove to be unstoppable.

Eric Trager: Sphinx, Lies, and Audiotape

On a hot July evening this past summer, toward the end of our interview, Aref Desouki, vice-chair of a faction of the liberal Ghad Party, suddenly got defensive. After dodging questions about Egyptian State Security’s infiltration of his party, the bespectacled, cane-carrying mathematics professor wanted to emphasize that political conspiracies aren’t unique to Egypt. “You are controlled in the U.S. by an underground government,” he said, completely seriously. “A secret government that is related to the Zionists and the Jewish-Christian Zionists. For at least forty years, the U.S. has been more supportive of Israel and no U.S. president can go against this or he will be killed, like Kennedy. And when Clinton talked about Arab rights, they sent Monica to his office. And Monica is Jewish.”

Barry Rubin: Western Media Discover Egyptian Revolution Not So Moderate; Muslim Brotherhood is Powerful, Still Deny That It’s Radical

It seems mere days ago that every reporter and expert on all television channels and newspapers was preaching that Egypt’s revolution was a great thing, run by Facebook-savvy liberals, inspired by President Barack Obama and “universal values.” Those silly, paranoid Israelis had nothing to worry about. Christians were backing the revolution and everyone was going to be brothers, but not Muslim Brothers because the Muslim Brotherhood was weak, moderate, opposed to violence, and full of great people. Anyone who said anything different was screened out and vilified … So now the New York Times tells us such things as “religion has emerged as a powerful political force.” How do they cover their past mistakes? They erroneously add, “Following an uprising that was based on secular ideals.” They have discovered that a lot of army officers like the Muslim Brotherhood, which we knew about long before simply by watching how officers’ wives were transformed from imitators of European fashions to being swathed in pious Islamic garb.

The Telegraph: Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25″ men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

Mark Steyn: The Art of Inconclusive War

The blood-soaked butcher next door in Sudan is the first head of state to be charged by the International Criminal Court with genocide, but nobody’s planning on toppling him. Iran’s going nuclear with impunity, but Obama sends fraternal greetings to the “Supreme Leader” of the “Islamic Republic.” North Korea is more or less openly trading as the one-stop bargain-basement for all your nuke needs, and we’re standing idly by. But the one cooperative dictator’s getting million-dollar-a-pop cruise missiles lobbed in his tent all night long. If you were the average Third World loon, which role model makes most sense? Colonel Cooperative in Tripoli? Or Ayatollah Death-to-the-Great-Satan in Tehran? America is teaching the lesson that the best way to avoid the attentions of whimsical “liberal interventionists” is to get yourself an easily affordable nuclear program from Pyongyang or anywhere else as soon as possible.

Gleanings, 24.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Omri Ceren: NYT Contradicts Itself on Palestinian Violence

You get the pattern. The New York Times publishes something and readers have to go elsewhere to find out why it’s wrong … A decision has apparently been made to escalate the violence against Israel, and Israel will eventually have to retaliate. When that happens the media spin will be somewhat split. Some of the coverage will imply that the Palestinians have exhausted their numinous patience with “the stalled peace process,” and can’t help but lash out. Other stories will insist that the Palestinians are merely reacting to an Israeli-triggered “cycle of violence,” and can’t help but lash out. Glossing over Palestinian violence at the beginning of the escalation is critical to making both narratives work.

Scott Johnson, The Jerusalem Bus Station Bombing

Which side are we on? President Obama’s statement of condemnation is an antiseptic formulation divorced from the context of the war against Israel. Jennifer Rubin calls Obama’s statement a tour de force — “a tour de force of moral equivalence.” Obama’s statement is a chilling reminder all its own.

Spengler: The heart of Turkness (MUST READ)

Why does Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan jump around so much? The answer is that he’s trying to keep from rolling off a log … The Turkish model is fragile in the short run, and unsalvageable in the long run. Turkey may be the envy of the Muslim Middle East, but that says more about the misery of the others than the happiness of Turkey itself.

INN: US Intelligence Report: Hizbullah a Socio-Political Movement

An upcoming US intelligence report will focus on Hizbullah as a political and social force rather than as a terror organization.

FP: Remember when the Obama administration denied that it’s considering engaging Hizballah?

Franck Salameh: “Arabian Gulf” and Other Fairytales

Syro-Lebanese poet Adonis recently offered a devastating appraisal of this worldview. The image of the universe that Arabs have built around themselves and the political culture they spawned, he wrote, are completely closed to the outside world; Arabs and Arab nationalists are resentful, scornful, and loath to diversity.[11] Theirs is “a kind of culture, […] where the ‘other’ is Evil, Hell, Satan […] and where distinctness and plurality are rejected out of hand.”[12] This is the monolithic Middle East that is being legitimized and intellectualized at America’s leading universities today; a Middle East where the millenarian “Persian Gulf” is re-christened “Arabian,” where a rich tapestry of cultures is deemed a uniform “Arab world,” and where ancient pre-Arab peoples who so much as mutter]an idiom resembling “Arabic” are summarily anointed “Arabs.”

Ray Takeyh: U.S. must take sides to keep the Arab Spring from Islamist takeover

The ideology of Islamists is predicated on the notion that religion is a comprehensive belief system that is both eternal and transnational. The moderation that these groups have exhibited in the past few decades in places such as Egypt was pragmatism born out of compulsion, not some kind of intellectual evolution. Relieved of the constraints of Arab police states, they are free to advance their illiberal, anti-Western agendas. The plight of Islamist associations resembles the communist parties that did so much to derail Europe’s liberal age in the 1920s. Like the Islamists, the communists never commanded much popular support, but they used their parliamentary and paramilitary presence to undermine the prospects of fledging democracies; Germany and Italy are two examples. In due course, their devotion to the Soviet Union and their subordination of national interest to the cause of the global proletariat did much to facilitate the rise of fascism.

RL additions

Egypt’s Revolution Plus U.S. Government Mistakes Makes Israel-Hamas War Inevitable

What makes matters worse, is the Obama Administration’s demand–after being shaken by a small incident in which about a half-dozen Islamist militants were killed on a ship after they attacked Israeli soldiers–to minimize sanctions. And then, out of misplaced humanitarian concern, the U.S. government deliberately, albeit indirectly, pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip, thus strengthening Hamas and its popular base of support.

By such behavior, the Obama Administration is not just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic; it’s enlarging the hole below the ship’s water-line, arguing that by doing so it is moderating the ocean.

David Horowitz, Suicidal Jews and the Anti-Semites They Ignore (and Sometimes Embrace)

The student leadership at Brown-RISD Hillel is upset not with the Muslim Students Association, sponsor of Israel Apartheid Weeks across the country, but with those of us who have had the temerity to attempt to correct the hateful lies spread by enemies of the only Jewish state. According to Brown Hillel, there are “Islamo-phobic, racist and hurtful untruths” in our ad which consist in “linking all modern Arab leadership to Nazi ideology and equating Islam with violence.” Of course there are no such statements in our ad. What the ad says is that “Today Arab leaders call for the destruction of the Jewish state and routinely deny that the Holocaust with which their forebears collaborated actually took place.”

RL: the student response, including those from my own university, illustrates a point I made about neo-progs. They’re more interested in not being embarrassed by accusations of not being progressive, than in the values they promote (or, in the case of Jews who join with Islamic organizations that target Israel with slander, any sense of self-respect).

Response to a neo-prog: Let’s talk about the (herd of) elephants in the room

In response to a request from a reader, I wrote some thoughts on the matter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Noam, the author of a blog called “Promised Land” responded in feigned disbelief. He makes many presumptions and jumps all over what he thinks he’s caught be saying, and never once tried to clarify (by asking at my own blogpost, for example) what I meant. To clarify, let me respond directly addressing Noam.

Dear Noam, I read your blogpost and felt that your reading of me was remarkably, even determinedly superficial, and that as a result, you misunderstood what I wrote. So before I respond, let me ask you, on the contrary, if I misunderstand what you wrote. On the simplest level, let me ask you if you would or would not agree with yourself as a “neo-prog,” according to the following description. (Hint: I certainly don’t think of myself as a neo-con; and you’re welcome to disagree with my attribution of neo-prog to you.)

A neo-prog is the product of the profound shock that struck us all with 9-11. In the confrontation with an almost unimaginably savage hatred, Americans responded along a sharp fault-line. Some said, “What’s wrong with them that they hate us so?” and others said, “What did we do to them, that they hate us so?” Obviously both questions deserve consideration. But somehow, those who asked the first question at all got labeled neo-cons (Islamophobes, racists) by people who primarily or only asked the second question. These people I think it would help to identify as neo-progs, neo-progressives.

At the same time as neo-progs insist that there is no “us” and “them,” they have a much higher level of sensitivity to and intolerance for failings they find in “our” camp, and an astonishingly broad tolerance for morally reprehensible behavior on the other side. Neo-progs have the Human Rights Complex: if Westerners can be blamed for some infraction of human rights (a fortiori the Jews, now the whitest of the whites), neo-progs wax indignant; if subaltern “others” (“people of color”) are to blame, they look the other way.

Trying to maintain their commitment to “moral relativity,” their moral compass has been so bent out of shape that they cannot apply even remotely similar scales to the right and the left. Thus fellow progressives who disagree with them, who argue for caution and defensiveness over passion and generosity, are immediately put in another camp, neo-cons for intellectuals, tea-party fundamentalists for hoi poloi.

On the other hand, when dealing with people from other cultures (including American Muslims), they work with a completely different set of norms and expectations, in which the slightest nod to “progressive” values becomes a cause of celebration as a victory for the good guys. Thus Abu Mazen is a “moderate” and the Muslim Brotherhood is not only moderate but largely secular; and those demonstrating against Mubarak are “pro-democracy” even as they use the crudest anti-semitic slogans to express their discontent. Neo-progs respond to criticism of the “other” as an offense to progressive values; in response they say, “don’t try and change the subject by pointing the finger”; they call the critic a racist, a xenophobe, an Islamophobe. Even as they criticize “us” ferociously and “them” not at all, they claim there is no “us” and “them.”

In their own mind, neo-progs are passionately moral beings, upholding basic values while the rest of the West goes fascist around them. But the extremism to which neo-progs will go in ‘othering’ their “right wing” and into ‘us-ing’ “moderate” Muslims, suggests that there are other forces at work as well. Indeed, neo-progs are victims of a particularly insidious form of Islamophobia, a fear of criticizing Islam – a fear well illustrated in the urgency with which they try and silence “insulting” criticism (i.e., all criticism) of Islam. If on the one hand, such fears are physical – look at what happens to those who do criticize Islam – they are also psychological. Neo-progs are afraid of losing their claim to be progressives, of being shunned by the progressive community – a fear which explains why they hasten to call progressives who disagree “neo-cons.”

So tell me what you think, Noam. Are you a neo-prog? And if not, why not?

My interlinear responses:

A conservative defense for Apartheid & colonialism

Some stuff you have to read with your own eyes in order to believe it. Prof. Richard Landes, who writes a pro-Israeli conservative blog named Augene [sic] Stables, is making what seems like a comparative case for Israeli colonialism.

Gleanings, 23.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Vicious Babushka: According to BBC, Bombs Have Minds of Their Own

It’s just incredible to read this report, so carefully worded to convey the idea that this bomb (and others) just assembled, transported and detonated itself without any human participation.

Barry Rubin: Hillary’s Friends Echo Our Analysis: No Excuse for Not Knowing U.S. Foreign Policy Is At the Iceberg (MUST READ)

… people around Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … are horrified … Guess what? They’re saying that President Barack Obama and most of his team are dangerously incompetent and ideologically deluded–”amateur night” is one memorable phrase used. This is what I’ve been warning about since the summer of 2008 and pointing out in detail since January 20, 2009, on a daily basis what’s happening; and they see a catastrophe they don’t want to be associated with (read: blamed for) … The main reason I’m writing this article is to declare, solemnly and seriously, that as of now, March 2011, nobody can say that they didn’t know the U.S. government is set on a disastrous course internationally, throwing away American credibility, subverting U.S. allies, and helping America’s foes (and the enemies of democracy and freedom).

Lee Smith: Committed (MUST READ)

Contrary to President Barack Obama’s remarks, the European and American bombs that are falling on positions held by Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s forces in Libya do not herald a war of humanitarian intervention … The Obama Administration was compelled to join its European allies in going against Qaddafi, but what forced the Europeans to act were the scandals surrounding the British academic institutions … These highly publicized scandals would make it very difficult for European governments to continue to deal with Qaddafi now that he has turned his country into a war zone. But the main problem for British Prime Minister David Cameron is that, as we recall from the recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the United Kingdom’s pension fund is tied to its BP portfolio, and BP has extensive deals with the Libyans. In other words, it is a vital British interest to get rid of Qaddafi, at the very least so that BP and London can continue their key relationship with a major oil-producing state … There is nothing humanitarian about the [intellectual] class that clamors for the end of a tyrant who had their prestige at a discount.

James Kirchik: Leaked: What the Mideast Really Thinks About Iran (MUST READ)

But while Julian Assange made sure that the world got the message, however embarrassing it might have been in certain Middle Eastern capitals, the realist-progressive alliance in the US wasn’t listening … It’s strange that so many so-called “realists,” who claim to understand the nitty-gritty of foreign relations better than others, have forgotten a fundamental tenet of statecraft: if a nation has client states, it behooves it to take their concerns seriously. The question is not whether one likes the Saudi monarchy; no decent person does. It’s about whether one cares about the future of American power. Those who do care, and want to see it prosper, cannot dismiss Arab fears of rising Iranian hegemony as merely the attention-starved lament of power-hungry and socially regressive monarchs. For if the United States were to allow Iran to go nuclear, thus throwing the region’s power balance into flux and jeopardizing the world economy, America’s credibility as a great power would collapse. And that, far more than the ill-informed opinion of the “Arab street,” is what should concern Americans most.

Hugh Fitzgerald: The Libya Fiasco, And What’s To Come

What will Obama do when he returns from his Good-Neighbor-Policy tour? Probably, give a solemn address, on the Miiddle East, in which he will make demands — he likes to make demands, lay down lines, say what “must happen” and what for him is “unacceptable” as he did with Libya — on Israel to “make the dreams of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace blah blah blah” and, not incidentally, talking of “sharing the city holy to three faiths.”

Steven Plaut: Juan Cole’s Map of Lies

He has decided that lands owned by the British imperial mandatory governing in control of “Palestine” between the world wars were “Palestinian land.”  Those are the “Palestinian lands” he claims were stolen by Israel.  Now, as it turns out, those were “Palestinian lands” only in the sense that they were state land owned by the British “Palestine” mandatory government.  They were by and large not lands owned by “Palestinian” Arabs.  And they were by and large completely empty … Today Juan Cole is the daddy of the world’s most absurd propaganda pseudo-map, which purports to tell the history of “Palestine.”  The map can be viewed here and is entitled “Palestinian Loss of Land 1946 to 2000.”  It consists of four frames

Jonathan Tobin: Abbas’s Choice: Peace With Israel or Hamas

So why, we must ask, would Hamas, which has kept the level of terror attacks from Gaza low enough to maintain the uneasy cease-fire it has had with Israel since Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009, seek to raise the temperature in the region? … In the bizzaro world of Palestinian nationalism, political movements earn their bona fides not by acts of statesmanship or state building but by shedding blood or at least making a show of bloodletting … By declaring that the PA leader must choose between peace with Israel or with Hamas, Netanyahu was doing more than merely reminding him that Israel will never tolerate Islamist control of the West Bank in addition to Gaza. Israelis understand that whenever Palestinians vie for popularity, Jews have a tendency to get killed.

RL additions:

Robert E. Belgrad, A Study in Contrasts
The murder of a Jewish family in Samaria occurred just days before Israeli soldiers saved the life of a mother and her newborn baby in the same town.
March 23, 2011

…One seemingly unrelated article I read a few days later caught my attention. It was the story of IDF soldiers and Israeli paramedics saving the life of a young, pregnant Palestinian woman and her baby, when the baby’s umbilical cord had become wrapped around its throat. In the same town where what remains of the the Fogel family sat shiva, mourning the massacre that had taken place just days before, a Palestinian cab driver raced with the pregnant woman towards the Israeli forces, who he knew would help her. The baby and mother were saved by the Israelis, and according to the article:

Palestinians from the nearby village of Nabi Salah gathered around the paramedics along with the new grandmother and could not hide their joy.  “They thanked us and told us they named the girl Jude,” Corporal Levin said.

(ed. note: the lethal narrative of Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian newborns by stopping them at checkpoints is a staple of Pallywood. RL)

Soeren Kern, Why France Was So Keen to Attack Libya

So what explains Sarkozy’s about-face vis-à-vis Libya? His sudden support for the anti-Gaddafi rebels can be attributed to two main factors: opinion polls and the closely related issue of Muslim immigration.

Sarkozy’s sudden zeal for the cause of democracy in Libya comes as his popularity is at record lows just thirteen months before the first round of the 2012 presidential election. With polls showing that Sarkozy is the least popular president since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958, he is betting that French voters will appreciate his efforts in Libya to place France at the center of the world stage and reinforce what Charles de Gaulle once famously called “a certain idea of France” as a nation of exceptional destiny.

Tony Katz, Understanding Obama: His One-World View and Foreign Policy
Did Obama really dither indecisively over the Middle East crises, or were his delays all part of the plan? March 22, 2011

The frantic, frenetic, high-pitched squeal from all sides of the political aisle could have deafened most any ears.  When the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to institute a “no-fly zone” against Libya and its leader Moammar Gaddafi, there were shrieks of disgust. Where is President Obama? How could he allow this? And, conversely, what has taken him so long?

In 24-plus hours when the bombs began to fall on Libya (some 100 or more Tomahawks in the first bombardment), the shrieks continued. Isn’t this the anti-war president? How did he win a Nobel Prize? This is unconstitutional!

It is one of those rare moments: even though both sides come to the table from vastly different points of view, they have the same end game — what is President Obama doing? Even Louis Farrakhan, who I submit to you is an awful person, asked the question: “Who the hell do you think you are?”

Brian Fairchild, Eastern Libya’s Tribes, Jihadism: Did U.S. Consider Its Own Libya Intel?

On February 15, 2008, however, long before anyone ever considered the possibility of a popular uprising against Gaddafi, the U.S. embassy in Tripoli sent a secret cable to Washington titled “Extremism in Eastern Libya” which revealed that this area is rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment.

The cable describes a conversation between embassy officers and a dual U.S./Libyan citizen who provided the embassy with first-hand information about Islamist extremism gleaned from his family and friends in Eastern Libya.

According to the cable, the most troubling aspect of the report:

… is the pride that many eastern Libyans, particularly those in and around Derna, appear to take in the role their native sons have played in the insurgency in Iraq … [and the] ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad.

Answering why this area is so radicalized, the embassy reported:

[The source] partly attributed the fierce mindset in Benghazi and Derna to the message preached by imams in eastern Libyan mosques, which he said is markedly more radical than that heard in other parts of the country. Sermons in eastern mosques, particularly the Friday “khutba,” are laced with “coded phrases” urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation or financial contributions. The language is often … incendiary and unambiguously supportive of jihad. Direct and indirect references to “martyrdom operations” were not uncommon.

The embassy’s alarming report is corroborated by captured al-Qaeda personnel documents — called the Sinjar Records — that came into American hands in 2007 and were analyzed by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Richard Fernandez, R2 B2: Humanitarian Crisis Looms in Libya

…This seemed so self evident as to be hardly worth mentioning.  It was obvious that an early and decisive end to the Libyan operation would be the best way to avoid a prolonged torment of civilians. Victory, not a conference in London discussing the distribution of relief supplies, is the common-sense exit to a humanitarian crisis. And yet the objective of victory or regime change is the one thing neither the administration,  nor whatever command structure comes after it relinquishes the initiative is at pains not to utter.

Not how do you not work for a victory and still be surprised by a humanitarian crisis? It staggers the imagination to think that professional military planners would not have anticipated these difficulties. And it is almost certain that they did. Gomer Pyle himself would have forseen it clearly. Therefore a fiasco of such proportions can only be the work of politics: politics, that dismal science in which the shortest way between two points is a trip in the opposite direction.

How could this happen? Maureen Dowd in an opinion piece titled The Flight of the Valkyries, half-seriously believes that President Obama was stampeded into Libya operation by the machinations of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Gayle Smith and Hillary Clinton, assisted perhaps by the hovering spirit of Helen Caldicott.

Gleanings, 22.03.11

George Will: Is it America’s duty to intervene wherever regime change is needed? (MUST READ)

In today’s episode, America has intervened in a civil war in a tribal society, the dynamics of which America does not understand … In Libya, mission creep began before the mission did. A no-fly zone would not accomplish what Barack Obama calls “a well-defined goal,” the “protection of civilians.” So the no-fly zone immediately became protection for aircraft conducting combat operations against Gaddafi’s ground forces. America’s war aim is inseparable from — indeed, obviously is — destruction of that regime. So our purpose is to create a political vacuum, into which we hope — this is the “audacity of hope” as foreign policy — good things will spontaneously flow. But if Gaddafi cannot be beaten by the rebels, are we prepared to supply their military deficiencies? And if the decapitation of his regime produces what the removal of Saddam Hussein did — bloody chaos — what then are our responsibilities regarding the tribal vendettas we may have unleashed? How long are we prepared to police the partitioning of Libya?

Stratfor: Yemen in Crisis: A Special Report

While a Western-led military intervention in Libya is dominating the headlines, the crisis in Yemen and its implications for Persian Gulf stability is of greater strategic consequence. Saudi Arabia is already facing the threat of an Iranian destabilization campaign in eastern Arabia and has deployed forces to Bahrain in an effort to prevent Shiite unrest from spreading. With a second front now threatening the Saudi underbelly, the situation in Yemen is becoming one that the Saudis can no longer leave on the backburner.

Richard Perle: Losing Libya VI

It is hard to know what made the greatest contribution to the fiasco that the administration’s Libyan policy has become: The debilitating delay that transformed a relatively easy mission into a hard one, or the current confusion about the goals of our intervention, the source of its legitimacy, and a strategy for success.

Hussein Ibish: Why do we treat Arab demagogues like Qaradawi and Atwan with undeserved respect?

There’s a strange unwillingness to apply the same standards we would to a Sarah Palin, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Silvio Berlusconi or Michael Moore to Arab voices that are also prominent but also equally irresponsible or dangerous … Atwan is perhaps the most important, and certainly the loudest, of the remaining left-nationalist Arab voices, particularly those that are counterintuitively and inexplicably enamored of the Islamist religious right … Put in the American political terms, he combines something like Pat Buchanan’s level of chauvinism with a Michael Moore-style lowest common denominator populist demagoguery … Yusuf Qaradawi could be explained as something like the Jerry Falwell of the Arab world, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the most prominent and influential Islamist and reactionary religious politician in the entire region. Here is a man who metaphorically sits at a desk that has two quasi-spiritual but actually political boxes in front of him, like a pair of giant files, if you will. He then takes everything that comes before him and puts it into one of these two simple boxes: the halal (permitted) and the haram (forbidden), with gradations of what is encouraged or discouraged in between (his most famous book was actually called “The Halal and the Haram in Islam”)

Mortimer B. Zuckerman: Israel Faces a Culture of Hatred and Violence

This is a culture where sermons legitimize violence in the name of Islam and have shaped generations of Arabs with what writer Eli Hertz calls “a steady diet of poison-filled propaganda.” Hertz writes: “For non-Arabic speakers, it is hard to grasp just how pervasive the propaganda is in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and throughout the Arab world. It is omnipresent: in state-controlled media outlets, in schools and mosques, at rallies, in speeches and articles.” Professor Bernard Lewis, the great academic authority on Islam, has said that if the West knew what was being said in Arabic, people would be horrified.

Walter Russell Mead: Obama’s War

A certain pattern seems to be emerging in this President’s foreign policy process.  On the one hand, he is instinctively drawn to the cool logic of the Jeffersonian realists who believe that the safest and wisest course for the United States is to draw in our horns and make peace with decline.  If he could design the world from scratch, he would build one where the United States had a much smaller military budget and a much shorter list of strategic international interests.  No drone strikes, no confrontations with Iran, no troops in combat overseas and no prisoners at Guantanamo: just the peaceful construction of high speed rail, the implementation of the health legislation and a focus on education.

But when it is time to choose, this President consistently chooses a more active course.  He would rather not think about Iraq, but if he must, he will stick to George W. Bush’s withdrawal plans.  He would rather not have a war in Afghanistan, but since he has one he will escalate the drone strikes and step up troop levels.  He would very much have preferred the Libyan situation to resolve itself without American participation, but forced to choose between action and doing nothing, he acts.  He listens to the realists and makes them feel important — but at least since their ideas on how to handle Israel went so badly wrong, he doesn’t seem to take their advice.

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Gleanings, 21.03.11

Caroline Glick: America’s descent into strategic dementia (MUST READ)

The US’s new war against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is the latest sign of its steady regional decline. In media interviews over the weekend, US military chief Adm. Michael Mullen was hard-pressed to explain either the goal of the military strikes in Libya or their strategic rationale. Mullen’s difficulty explaining the purpose of this new war was indicative of the increasing irrationality of US foreign policy.

Frank Gaffney: The Gaddafi Precedent (MUST READ)

What I find particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Qaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel. Here’s how such a seemingly impossible scenario might eventuate…

Ed. Note (oao): You deem this farfetched? See next. A more detailed discussion at The PostWest.

Michael Rubin: Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Calls for Airstrikes on Israel

After assuring both Libyans and Turks that Turkey was not involved in airstrikes on Libya, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, of Turkey, said, “We wish that the United Nations had made such resolutions and countries had taken action in the face of incidents in Gaza, Palestine and the other regions.” While Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, tries to assure Jewish groups that his government really isn’t anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, someone might want to ask him why his boss is calling for airstrikes on the Jewish state?

And perhaps Senators Levin and McCain on the Senate Armed Service Committee might finally want to ask some tough questions about why the United States plans to give Turkey the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter replete with its stealth technology?

Edward Luttwak: Libya: It’s not our fight

Regardless of its good intentions, the U.S. intervention in Libya will be depicted once again as aggressive, predatory and anti-Muslim.

Michael Walzer: The Case Against Our Attack on Libya

There are so many things wrong with the Libyan intervention that it is hard to know where to begin.

Patrick Cockburn: Gaddafi cannot hold out. But who will replace him?

In terms of the exercise of real authority, Gaddafi is likely to be replaced not by Libyans but by the foreign powers which assist in his overthrow. Going by what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq it will not take much for their actions to be seen across the Middle East as hypocritical and self-serving, and resisted as such.

PowerLine: Yasir Qadhi’s jihad

Whatever its limits, Elliott’s article is a deeply disturbing portrait of an American Muslim leader. The continued welcoming of Muslims with Qadhi’s beliefs to the United States is just the latest twist on the story told by James Burnham in Suicide of the West.

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

RL additions:

Mudar Zahran, Anti-Semitism 2.0 March 21, 2011 (Zahran is a Palestinian political refugee in England)

The concept of the “evil Jew” has made a well-disguised comeback: Criticizing Israel and Zionists, is now deemed a legitimate option to cursing Jews and Judaism. Not only is it open, socially acceptable and legal, but it can actually bring prosperity and popularity. This new form of anti-Semitism 2.0 is well-covered-up, harder to trace and poses a much deeper danger to the modern way of life of the civilized world than the earlier crude form of it, as it slowly and gradually works on delegitimizing Jews to the point where it eventually becomes acceptable to target Jews, first verbally, then physically — all done in a cosmopolitan style where the anti-Semites are well-groomed speakers and headline writers in jackets and ties; and not just Arab, but American and European, from “sanitized” news coverage of the most bloodthirsty radicals, to charges against Israel in which facts are distorted, selectively omitted or simply untrue, as in former President Jimmy Carter’s book on Israel.

David Kirkpatrick, Hopes for a Qaddafi Exit, and Worries of What Comes Next

(Ed. note: surprisingly un-liberal cognitive egocentric analysis from the Grey Lady)

“It is a very important question that is terribly near impossible to answer,” said Paul Sullivan, a political scientist at Georgetown University who has studied Libya. “It could be a very big surprise when Qaddafi leaves and we find out who we are really dealing with.”

Gleanings, 20.03.11

ABDULATEEF AL-MULHIM: What if Arabs had recognized the State of Israel in 1948?

If Israel was recognized in 1948, then the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of some Arab dictators who kept telling them that the refugees would be back in their homes and all Arab lands will be liberated and Israel will be sent to the bottom of the sea. Some Arab leaders used the Palestinians for their own agenda to suppress their own people and to stay in power.

Omri Ceren: Obama Administration Goes Easy on Palestinian Authority’s Celebrating a Child-Murderer

The Israelis were not violating specific agreements with the United States when they got that treatment, while the Palestinian Authority is obligated to end incitement. So it would seem that what Abbas’s subordinates did was worse than what Netanyahu’s subordinates did. There are very few explanations short of personal antipathy for why the White House would be harsher with a stable democratic ally than with a terrorist-celebrating quasi-government. Certainly “objectively promoting American interests” doesn’t seem to be on the list. Also that line about how “all parties have an obligation to end incitement,” as if the Israelis were also naming squares after terrorist child-murderers – kind of obnoxious.

PowerLine: More Jobs Americans Won’t Do. Unfortunately.

Under Obama’s new, post-industrial order, petroleum engineering and exploration, drilling and refining are more jobs Americans won’t do. Instead, others create wealth and we pay them for it. With what? doesn’t seem to be a question that occurs to our President.

John Rosenthal: Saving the Libyan Islamists

American troops are today providing support to some of the very same forces that were recently fighting against them in Iraq. (Related: “Libyan rebels: ‘Now is the time of Jihad!”)

Patrick Poole: Obama Punked by the Arab League on Libya

If I were a betting man I would take the Arab League’s reversal as an indication they believe Gaddafi is going to survive. Welcome to Barack Obama’s AWOL presidency.

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Gleanings, 19.03.11

Lee Smith: Egyptian “Democracy”: Surprise, Surprise

Some preliminary exit polls suggest that  “yes” votes are carrying the day, which is certain to please the country’s Islamist factions, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the Brotherhood is Egypt’s most organized political outfit, they stand to benefit most from a quick progression to the next stage of Egypt’s political process, parliamentary elections, where they could pick up 30% of the seats. The military, eager to get out of the spotlight, also seeks “yes” on the referendum, with the revolution’s other factions that seeking a “no,” in order to refer the constitution to another, still undecided, procedure, which will give them more time to prepare for parliamentary elections.

If the Copts’ dismal political sense is any clue, it doesn’t matter if Egypt moves on to parliamentary elections in the Fall or in two autumns from now, because it will take years, not months, for any political groupings to mount a challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Telegraph: A Self-Demised West with Illusions of Power

It is for this reason that the Government has now ordered the RAF to draw on its depleted reserves to send Tornado and Typhoon fighters to enforce the no-fly zone. Like the other Services, it has been badly hit by the savage defence cuts the Government implemented last year when it said it wanted to avoid foreign entanglements. The lesson should be obvious: if Mr Cameron now wants to adopt a higher profile in world affairs, then he should reopen the defence review and give the Armed Forces the resources to back up his ambitious agenda.

Ahmed Rashid: How Obama Lost Karzai

Once again, Karzai now appears mistrusting of the West’s long-term commitment to his country. He considers the Americans to be hopelessly fickle, represented by multiple military and civilian envoys who carry contradictory messages, work at cross-purposes, and wage their Washington turf battles in his drawing room, at his expense, while operating on short fuses and even shorter timetables. “In the time an American wants Karzai to act, the president is still cooling his cup of tea,” one of his advisors complained to me.

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Gleanings, 18.03.11

Barry Rubin: No Wonder Hillary Resigned! Mr. Burns Explains U.S. Middle East Policy (MUST READ)

The United States will press for political reform and urge governments to talk to the opposition in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.
The United States will NOT press for political reform or urge governments to talk to the opposition in the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria.
What do the governments in the first paragraph have in common? They have been friendly to the United States.
What do the governments in the second paragraph have in common? They are currently unfriendly to the United States.
In other words, the policy is to pressure your friends (they become weaker); engage your enemies (they become stronger). It is the exact opposite of what U.S. policy should be at this time.

Ed. Note (oao): See another interpretation at The PostWest

Caroline Glick: Israel’s indivisible legitimacy (MUST READ)

Like his fellow defeatists, Shavit argues that Jewish communities in these areas are the cause of international moves to delegitimize Israel. If they were gone, so the argument goes, then neither the Palestinians nor the international community would have a problem with Israel … The lesson of these experiences is that Israeli towns and villages in Judea and Samaria are not castigated as “illegitimate” because there is anything inherently illegitimate about them. Like the bypass roads and the Israeli presence in Gaza, they are singled out because those interested in attacking Israel militarily or politically think are an easy target … If Israel is convinced that it has no choice but to bow to these people’s demands, they will not be appeased. They will simply move on to the next easy target. Israeli Jewish communities in the Galilee and the Negev, Jaffa and Lod will be deemed illegitimate.

David Ignatius: Obama weighs talking to the Taliban, Hezbollah

One model for the administration, as it thinks about engagement of enemies, is the British process of dialogue during the 1990s with Sinn Fein, the legal political wing of the terrorist Irish Republican Army. That outreach led to breakthrough peace talks and settlement of a conflict that had been raging for more than a century … This regional approach already has led to two U.S.-backed meetings on Afghanistan that included Iranian representatives — one in Rome last year and one in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 3, that was sponsored by the Islamic Conference … The political time bomb ticking away in the NIE is the question of whether the United States should seek some kind of direct or indirect engagement with Hezbollah — at least with its political wing. Officials who support this course argue that the organization is like the IRA or the PLO — with nonmilitary components that can be drawn into a dialogue.

Walter Laqueur: Age Against The Machine

However, the second part of Buber’s statement when he talked about youth as the wonderful agent of change and progress is usually forgotten. He said, “What a pity that this chance is usually wasted.” Indeed, young generations have not only been the fighters for freedom and progress, they have been among the avant garde of all radical movements—some admirable, others much less so … It isn’t clear what sort of staying power or political undergirding the Twitter crowd has—and, in the meantime, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups continue to hold intellectual power. Just as the youthful hope of January was so high, the youthful despair coming could be equally great. The road to freedom and democracy will be long.

Gleanings, 17.03.11

David Pryce-Jones: Disappointed People (MUST READ)

A White House deputy by the name of Ben Rhodes has explained that the Obama conception of the U.S. role in the world is “to work through multinational organizations and bilateral relationships to make sure that the steps we are taking are amplified.” (You don’t “amplify steps” unless you are trying to be misleading, but let that pass.) This multinational and bilateral stuff is just that — stuff — a recipe for inertia, arenas for self-important diplomats in which to generate hot air, to propose meetings and postpone them, to pass resolutions watered down until they are meaningless.

Barry Rubin: News Flash: Sec State Hillary Clinton Says Leaving Post At End of 2012

And remember what I have warned: If the new secretary of state is Senator John Kerry then I recommend you buy a fallout shelter in New Zealand, lay in a supply of food, and hide there. Otherwise, disregard anyone else named as a candidate because nobody knows who it will be and when it will happen.

PowerLine: Scenes of a Disaster

Weakness, incoherence, drift, indecision–these are the hallmarks of the Obama administration. We are beginning to get a sense of what a world without American leadership looks like.

Greg Sheridan: Dictator Cuts Short the Arab Spring

The net result of the Arab and Islamic spring could easily be that Gaddafi survives, along with the regime of the mullahs in Iran, in the face of overwhelming opposition from their respective populations, while the much more moderate dictatorships of Egypt and Tunisia fall. At its most cynical, this could once again give life to Henry Kissinger’s bleak observation that to be an enemy of the US is dangerous, but to be a friend can be fatal.

Simon Henderson: Bahrain’s Kleptocracy in the Crosshairs

Almost worse than the mess in Manama, this crisis reveals that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are no longer on the same page. Riyadh perceives the White House as demanding universal freedoms from its friends, but not from its adversaries like Iran. The Shiites of Bahrain see themselves as “Baharna,” indigenous Bahrainis, rather than putative Iranians. But events are pushing them ever closer to Tehran, where they will surely be greeted with open arms.

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Gleanings, 16.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Abe Greenwald: Outsourcing to Autocracies (MUST READ)

The file on support for Libyan rebels is now closed. The failed revolution belongs to history. But make no mistake about this: in outsourcing global leadership to the UN Security Council, the Obama administration did not allow the Libyans to be masters of their own destiny, as Fareed Zakaria or Tom Friedman would have it. It made Russia and China the masters of Libyans’ destiny. If the UNSC were to vote yes on a no-fly zone, the U.S. would spring into action and give them one. But when the Libyans asked, the U.S. shot them down and added that Muammar Qaddafi would triumph anyway.

Jeff Jacoby: Massacre of the innocents

There are those who believe passionately that all human beings are inherently good and rational creatures, essentially the same once you get beyond surface disagreements. Such people cannot accept the reality of a culture that extols death over life, that inculcates a vitriolic hatred of Jews, that induces children to idolize terrorists. Since they would never murder a family in its sleep without being driven to it by some overpowering horror, they imagine that nobody would. This is the mindset that sees a massacre of Jews and concludes that Jews must in some way have provoked it. It’s the mindset behind the narrative that continually blames Israel for the enmity of its neighbors and makes it Israel’s responsibility to end their violence.

Melanie Phillips: A terrible resonance

This is how the Obama administration and the Telegraph view the significance of the massacre of Udi and Ruth Fogel and their three children, Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, three months old, at their house in Itamar in Samaria last Friday night … The warped and degraded priorities embodied in this short Telegraph item have been echoed since the massacre throughout the media – on the BBC and Sky, on CNN and in the New York Times, and by both the Obama administration and the British government.

The Economist: Glitzkrieg

Respectability is for sale. Here is a buyer’s guide. Names are omitted to protect the guilty from blushes and us from lawsuits

Gleanings, 15.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Bret Stephens: Are Israeli Settlers Human?

I have a feeling that years from now Palestinians will look back and wonder: How did we allow ourselves to become that? If and when that happens—though not until that happens—Palestinians and Israelis will at long last be able to live alongside each other in genuine peace and security.

But I also wonder whether a similar question will ever occur to the Palestinian movement’s legion of fellow travelers in the West. To wit, how did they become so infatuated with a cause that they were willing to ignore its crimes—or, if not quite ignore them, treat them as no more than a function of the supposedly infinitely greater crime of Israeli occupation?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus: J Street: ‘Maybe Israel really ain’t a good idea’

“Maybe, if this collective Jewish presence” — that is, the Jewish State in the Middle East — “can only survive by the sword, then Israel really ain’t a good idea.”  So said Daniel Levy, one of J Street’s founders, at the 2011 J Street Conference.  You can hear him, and the lack of any objection from even one of the 2000-strong audience, here, at 1:26:15 on the J Street Conference video, on J Street’s own website.

Martin Peretz: Obama’s Scandalous Approach To The Middle East

What is now clear is that the only help Barack Obama was willing to give to the Arabs was his coldness to the Jewish nation. Or, and I want to be frank, his hostile indifference to Israel.

Jonathan Tobin: The Importance of Blockading Gaza

Just as important, this story exposes the hypocrisy of those who continue to oppose Israel’s blockade. Far from bringing humanitarian supplies to a Gazan population that faces no shortages of food or medicine, what the blockade-runners are trying to do is to buttress the military capabilities of Hamas’s terrorists. While it appears that the arms did not originate in Turkey, the deadly nature of the Victoria’s cargo nevertheless puts the Turkish protests over last summer’s flotilla seizure in a very different light. The Israeli government is being careful to do or say nothing that will turn this seizure into fodder for a dispute with either Turkey or Egypt, yet the fact remains that, at the very least, the Turks were negligent about preventing arms smuggling.

Lee Smith: More from the Arab Uprising: Protests Today in Damascus

It’s hard to tell how many protesters are in the streets of the Syrian capital, but it’s hardly surprising that, after Egypt and Libya, the regime in Damascus might be next in line. Bashar al-Assad and his security chiefs guessed as much, which is why the last few weeks they warned the foreign and Arab press corps not to cover the protests scheduled for today and the only record we have so far is from YouTube. Here are two videos from today’s scenes in Damascus with more protests scheduled for other Syrian cities, like Aleppo, Qamishly and even Deir al-Zawr, which was the site of the regime’s secret nuclear program that Israel bombed in the fall of 2008.

PowerLine: Wonderful World, Obama style

Barack Obama’s theme song may as well be the Sam Cooke classic “Wonderful World,” or at least the part of it in which the singer confesses he “Don’t know much about history.” During the 2008 campaign Obama regularly issued sophisticated historical pronouncements that demonstrated he simply didn’t know what he was talking about, even though he sure loved talking about it. And he hasn’t let up much since … During the campaign, I kept an open mind on the question whether Obama was exploiting the ignorance of target voters or simply didn’t know what he was talking about. I agree with Ferguson that the answer is the latter, but let it be noted it is a condition that applies to Obama’s “senior aides” as well.

RL additions:

BENJAMIN WEINTHAL,  “47% of Germans think Israel exterminating Palestinians”

BERLIN – A think-tank affiliated with Germany’s Social Democratic Party issued a new report last week that revealed high levels of anti-Semitism in Germany, Poland and Hungary, as well as varying manifestations of racism, homophobia and prejudice in eight European countries.

Dr. Beate Küpper, a researcher from the University of Bielefeld who co-authored the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s study along with her colleagues Andreas Zick and Andreas Hoevermann, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the study showed a strong presence of “anti-Semitism that is linked with Israel and is hidden behind criticism of Israel, and is not neutral.”

Peter Schmidt, Education Dept. Investigates Complaint of Anti-Semitism at UC-Santa Cruz

The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has announced plans to investigate the University of California at Santa Cruz for anti-Semitism, based on a lecturer’s complaint that administrators there had turned a deaf ear to her concerns that critics of Israel were creating a hostile climate for Jewish people on the campus.

Jihadist magazine advises women on beauty, marrying mujaheddin

For those women who felt left out by previous jihadist magazines, the people behind a new publication may think they have an answer.

The newly released Arabic-language Al-Shamikha magazine mixes advice on beauty and fashion with instruction to raise children to be ready for jihad, according to Britain’s Daily Mail and the Independent.

Gleanings, 14.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Caroline Glick: Three Jewish Children (MUST READ)

Much has been made of the confluence of anti-Semitic bile pouring out of the chattering classes. From Mel Gibson to Julian Assange to Helen Thomas to Charlie Sheen to John Galliano, it seems like a day doesn’t go by without some new celebrity exposing himself as a Jew hater. It isn’t that the beautiful people and their followers suddenly decided that Jews are not their cup of tea (or rail of cocaine). It’s just that we have reached the point where people no longer feel embarrassed to parade their negative feelings towards Jews in public. A DECADE ago, the revelation that French ambassador to Britain Daniel Bernard referred to Israel as “that shi**y little country,” was shocking. Now it is standard fare.

Elder of Zion: Stephen Walt’s disgusting moral equivalence on Itamar

To Walt, the self-styled realist, the massacre of the Fogels is simply a counterproductive method of protest. He cannot bring himself to say that the murders are immoral, or sickening, or reflective of constant Palestinian Arab incitement to hate and murder. He cannot be bothered to mention the names of the victims. He cannot even make a passing mention of a baby girl whose throat was slashed in her crib.

PowerLine: Hamas Speaks (in two tongues)

It is noteworthy that, while the English report on the Fogel murders suggests that they may not have been committed by Palestinians, no such doubt is expressed in Arabic. On the contrary. For many years, the simple expedient of saying one thing in English and another in Arabic has worked remarkably well to placate Westerners–especially, for some reason, those who claim to be experts in the region.

Rick Richman: David Remnick’s Creative Diplomacy

It might take time for the Palestinians to agree to this idea. But if they don’t accept the offer of a state the first time, there could be a second offer; if they don’t accept the second offer, there could be a third; if they don’t accept the third, there could be a fourth negotiating process (if they would agree to come to it). In between offers, Israel could turn over half the putative state to the Palestinians so they could demonstrate their ability to live side by side in peace and security.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Where Is The Outcry Against Arab Apartheid?

It is disgraceful that while Israel admits Palestinian patients to its hospitals, Arab hospitals are denying them medical treatment for various reasons, including money. But then one is reminded that Arab dictators do not care about their own people, so why should they pay attention to an 11-year-old boy who is dying at the entrance to a hospital because his father was not carrying $1,500?

RL additions:

Frank Gaffney Jr., The King Hearings were Taboo-Busters

It is not everyday that Congress breaks a major taboo and, in so doing, performs a real service to the nation.  Last Thursday, however, was one such day: Representative Pete King (Republican of New York) demonstrated impressive leadership in convening and conducting a four-hour-long hearing on “extremism” in the American Muslim community.
For his efforts, the Homeland Security Committee’s chairman was subjected to tremendous personal attacks and partisan sniping – the wages of taboo-busting.  While those responsible for inflicting such slanderous criticism claim, in the words of one group, to have “defeat[ed] a major threat of Islamophobia,” the real story is that Mr. King began a conversation about an issue that has long been deemed politically untouchable.  He also established that there is, indeed, a problem of “extremism” within the American Muslim community.

Gleanings, 13.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

PowerLine: Scenes from a massacre

Caroline Glick and Carl in Jerusalem draw attention to the video below depicting the massacre of the Fogel family on the West Bank this past Friday by Palestinian Arab terrorists. They note that YouTube and Facebook removed the video within two hours. Why?

American Power: Progressives Won’t Condemn Savage Massacre of Jewish Family in West Bank Settlement of Itamar

There’s a Memeorandum thread now, and while hardly representative, not one progressive blog is linked there. Maybe later, although the left-wing sources I’m seeing so far are not only refusing to condemn the massacre, they’re blaming the settlers for the violence.

Melanie Phillips: And still western ‘liberals’ support these people

What price now those British and European ‘liberals’ as they weep their crocodile tears over Libya and beat their chests over democracy and human rights, while actively endorsing and promoting the Arab neo-Nazi demonisation and dehumanisation of Israelis — which results in the slaughter of a family which they then proceed to downplay or ignore?

Phyllis Chesler: Natural Disasters, Palestinian Barbarism

On the terrorists who are forced to murder children because they feel they are illegally Occupied. They have killed 123 since 2000.

Jerusalem Post: CNN uses quotes to describe Itamar ‘terror attack’

“If this is not a terror attack, what is?” gov’t press liaison asks network in letter demanding apology.

Reuters Middle  East Watch: Israel announces new settlement construction in the wake of family massacre; Jeffrey Heller springs into action

Jeffrey Heller is the Editor-in-Charge of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau.  Googling his name and the word “settlements” produces over 70,000 results.  This is a man literally driven to the core of his soul, by an obsession with Jews who choose to exercise their rights, in international law, to live beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines in the disputed territories constituting the original Mandate of Palestine. Heller is not bothered much by murderous Palestinian terrorism, which he never characterizes as such, nor even by Palestinian incitement to murder Jews, which he only reports offhand and as noted by others (as if Heller is personally unaware of the barbarous incitement permeating all facets of Palestinian society)

Gleanings, 12.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

YNET: Gaza celebrates; Fayyad condemns terror attack

Rafah residents hand out candy following murder of parents, three children in West Bank settlement of Itamar. Palestinian PM denounces act, says “we categorically oppose violence and terror, regardless of victims’, perpetrators’ identity”.

DE BORCHGRAVE: Arab pathos to bathos

Freedom wave subsides, replaced by scandal-mongering and vandalism.

The pundits were still celebrating the liberation of Egypt from 60 years of pharaonic rule when the news no one wanted to believe began filtering back. Censorship by omission is in vogue again because of a reluctance, bordering on paralysis, to recognize there is no law and no order … Meanwhile, bloody bellwethers are growing in number throughout the Arab world …

Lee Smith: Dark Secrets

The sordid history of Syria’s collaboration with Qaddafi … When the dust has settled, Washington may find its Arab allies much less willing to chase down and detain terrorist suspects, lest they be accused of collaborating with the Americans. But what about the dark work Arab regimes do with the aid of other Arab states?

Jerusalem Post: The road to Damascus

That Syrians have sat still through the storm is puzzling. They are destitute, on par with resource-poor Yemenis despite having considerable oil and gas reserves. Their country’s political, economic and security establishments are in the hands of the ruling Alawite sect, and Damascus has for years been ostracized from the international community, its only powerful friend the ayatollahs’ Iran. So will Syria be the next Arab country to rise up? The consensus among experts and expatriates seems to be no.

Marc Steyn: Cowboy Subsidies

In the new budget, there’s a request from the CIA for an emergency appropriation of $513.7 million. Great! A mere half-billion. That’s enough for 10,000 cowboy-poetry festivals. So what’s it for? Toppling Kim Jong-Il? Taking out the Iranian nuclear program? … Er, no. It’s an emergency payment to stop the CIA pension fund from going bankrupt next year with unfunded liabilities of $6.4 billion. The CIA failed to foresee the collapse of the Iron Curtain until it happened. It failed to spot that Pakistan was going nuclear until it happened. But, when the world’s most bounteously endowed intelligence agency fails to spot that its own pension fund is going bankrupt until it happens, I wouldn’t bet the future on anyone in the United States government having much of a clue about what is or isn’t “in China’s interest.”

RL Additions:

Assaf Wohl, Moment of truth for leftists

Hello there, global leftist:

Almost every day, Israel’s citizens are told of more displays of hostility by you against us. Often we are informed of various boycotts imposed on Israeli goods, the cancellation of cultural events in Israel, and even attempts to boycott Israeli academia.

This past week I watched Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters urging a boycott on Israel. His arguments included an embarrassing combination of charges, including the finest lies taken from al-Jazeera’s propaganda. The most prominent argument was Israel’s portrayal as a racist “apartheid state” that sets up a wall separating Arabs and Jews.

Gleanings, 11.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Caroline Glick: A win-win plan for Netanyahu (MUST READ)

For the past year and a half Netanyahu’s policy for dealing with Obama’s animosity has been to try to appease him by making incremental concessions … [The result is] Obama administration’s escalating hostility … Obama’s newest threat is that through the so-called Middle East Quartet, (Russia, the UN, the EU and the US), the administration will move towards supporting the Palestinian plan to declare Palestinian statehood … To credit this threat, Obama has empowered the Quartet to supplant the US as the mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority … NOW IN a bid to head off Obama’s newest threat to use the Quartet to back the Palestinians’ political war against Israel, Netanyahu is considering yet another set of unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinians.

[Netanyahu should] announce a plan to apply Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and the major blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria [and] Barak and replaced him with Ya’alon… [Ed. Note (oao): When pigs fly...]

CAMERA: Incitement and Murder

A short while ago, a family of five Israelis was murdered in their West Bank home. According to the Associated Press, citing Israel’s YNet news website, “The family — including an 11-year-old, a 3-year-old and an infant — was all stabbed in their sleep…” The infant was reportedly one month old. The brutal attack comes only days after a West Bank Palestinian youth center announced a soccer tournament named after Wafa Idris, the first female Palestinian suicide bomber, who killed an 81-year-old man and injured over 100 other Israelis. The glorification of this suicide bomber, though, was virtually ignored by Western media outlets, many of whom did find time to report, in great detail, on the first home game by the Palestinian national soccer team … By ignoring this type of incitement, though, Western press makes such pressure unlikely, or impossible. After all, we can’t protest against incitement that we don’t know about. And so the incitement continues. And so does the killing.

Nader Hashemi: The New Mideast Will Still Mix Mosque and State

After Ben Ali and Mubarak, many Arabs and Muslims in the region identify secularism with tyranny.

WorldNetDaily: Hillary’s close adviser caught in Libya scandal

One of Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers traveled to Libya on the dime of a controversial group that was paid by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to enhance the strongman’s public image in the U.S., WND has learned.

Gleanings, 10.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Barry Rubin: Why Does the Media Report the Opposite of What’s True in the Middle East? (MUSt READ)

In the modern history of North American and European democracies there has never been a disinformation and misinformation campaign like this one.

4. What is important is not what someone in the region says or does but what you want them to say or do in order to fit your theme.
5. The themes include: The Palestinians want peace; Israel doesn’t; Islamists are no threat; they aren’t haters of Jews and the West and they don’t want to establish tyrannical repressive regimes.

Melanie Phillips: A strategic and moral error of the first magnitude (MUST READ)

For it is not only that the government’s hostility to Israel is based on a fundamental and long-term geopolitical and strategic error of the first magnitude about where the interests of the United Kingdom actually lie. To reverse this would mean that Cameron also had to confront the profound moral sickness at the heart of British intellectual society, which fawns over the racist Holocaust-deniers and anti-Jewish ethnic cleansers of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas while libelling Israel as a nation of war-mongering, bloodthirsty child-killers whose right to their own country must be considered forfeit.

Middle-East Forum: Muslims in the West: Loyal to Whom? (A briefing by Mark Durie)

Mr. Durie proposes that Islam adopt a theology of the brotherhood of humanity, wherein all can benefit through mutual assistance—rather than Muslims solely benefiting through ideological domination. He concluded by stating that, if we do not wish to surrender Muslim Americans to foreign law on our own soil, concessions to Islamic law must not be made. During question-and-answer, Mr. Durie implored the West to have the “guts” to understand Islam as a religious-political system—and to take the steps necessary to change our own understandings, not just those of Muslims living in the West.

The Wire: Guardian admits Israel ‘straightforward target’

Assistant editor Michael White admits that Guardian journalists actively avoid reporting some subjects, such as immigration, in favour of easier ‘targets’ like Israel.

[Of course, this "lazy-man's way out" ends up producing the inversion of reality that Barry Rubin chronicles: Israel is the bad guy, Islam the innocent victim. It's one thing to pick on the little guy in the Middle East because till now he's able to defend himself, but it's quite another to whitewash a domestic foe of major proportions. Ironically, the people who need to defend themselves are the lazy attackers. - rl]

Richard Pollock (PJM): Two U.S. Lobbyists Paid $5.4M By Libya To Boost Regime’s Image

The story of the selling of Libya to the United States is a fascinating tale of how liberal academics and former members of Congress united to attempt a repackaging of Libya’s Gaddafi family as human rights reformers. PJM has pieced together the story of how the dictatorial regime was shamelessly presented as reformers to Congress and to Washington policymakers.

Sassy Wire: Assad eyes Gaddafi’s place on UN Human Rights Council

Following Libya’s suspension from the United Nations Human Rights Council last week due to its “gross and systematic” violations and brutal suppression of human rights, a new contender — with an equally poor record of upholding citizens’ rights — is eying the vacant seat.

Ed. Note (oao): Syria seems to be in Vogue these days.

Reuters ME Watch: Reuters: Palestinian soccer team plays first match in Ramallah; ready for statehood

Sometimes Reuters efforts to advance Palestinian interests assume a theater of the absurd quality.

PowerLine: Mob Scene in Madison (Domestic Cracks in a Declining Superpower)

Last night, a mob seized control of Wisconsin’s state Capitol. The Capitol was supposed to be secured, but the mob was let in through the ground-floor window of a Democratic legislator … The attack on democracy that the Democratic Party has launched in Wisconsin is disgraceful. It amounts to an attempt to reverse the 2010 election. No one, regardless of political orientation, should countenance the Democrats’s deployment of mob rule.

RL additions:

Soeren Kern, Islam “Does Not Belong” to Germany

When Germany’s new Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, says Islam is not a part of the German way of life and “does not belong” in Germany, his comments sparked a new round of debate over the increasingly contentious question of Muslim immigration, integration and assimilation, and the role of Islam in modern German society.

Considering that more than one million immigrants living permanently in Germany cannot speak German, the government is now pushing for the children of non-German-speaking parents to develop better German language skills. But that idea hit resistance from none other than Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who on February 27 travelled to Germany to urge Turkish parents living in Germany to teach their children to learn to read and write Turkish before German.

Thomas Carothers, Think Again: Arab Democracy

What’s more, though citizens in some Arab countries have given their governments a hard push, the underlying regimes themselves — the interlocking systems of political patronage, security forces, and raw physical coercion that political scientists call the “deep state” — are not giving up the ghost but are hunkering down and trying to hold on. Shedding presidents, as in Tunisia and Egypt, is a startling and significant development, but only partial regime collapse. The entrenched security establishments in those countries are bargaining with the forces of popular discontent, trying to hold on to at least some parts of their privileged role. If the protesters are able to stay mobilized and focus their demands, they may be able to force a step-by-step dismantling of the old order. Elsewhere in the region however, the changes so far are less fundamental.

Glearnings, 09.03.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Rick Richman: What Would Begin Do?

Ehud Barak’s current $20 billion gambit is likely a trial balloon, an attempt to build support for a “peace agreement” in which Israel gives up defensible borders in exchange for money to help defend indefensible ones. It is not a trade Menachem Begin would have made.

Ed. Note (oao): Israel does not need just better PR, it needs a sound position and spine.

Niall Ferguson: How Obama “Blew It” With Egypt (MUST WATCH)

Halperin: Professor, do you see any foreign policy stars or big-thinkers in this administration, and if so who are they?
Ferguson: None, none. The national security advisers have been mediocrities. Right now we have a national security adviser whose biggest claim to faith is that he was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae. It’s embarrassing, and the previous incumbent, who’s responsible for this debacle, General Jim Jones, is I’m sure a very nice man. I’ve always had a good impression of him personally. But as a strategic thinker, he is a C minus and that is the problem. President Obama is one of the least experienced men in terms of foreign policy ever to occupy the White House. And yet he has advisers around him who are, frankly, second if not third-rate. And you just can’t do that. It’s far too risky, it’s far too dangerous a world, and some of us said this when he ran for election, that it was a huge risk to put somebody with that kind of inexperience into a position like Commander-in-Chief of the United States. I think what we’re seeing unfold in Egypt reveals the truth of that statement.

PowerLine: The Schiller syndrome (MUST WATCH)

In the edited 12-minute video of below we get the distilled essence of the NPR party line. (The unedited video is posted here.) We have the liberal elitism, the liberal condescension, the liberal smugness and self-satisfaction, the liberal disparagement of Republicans and the Tea Party, the liberal anti-Semitism, the liberal anti-Zionism, and the liberal appeasement of Islamism.

Soner Cagaptay: Ending Turkey’s Nightmare

When the AKP, rooted in the country’s Islamist opposition, came to power in Turkey in 2002 and declared itself a liberal force, nearly everyone, including the majority of Turkish liberals, gave the party the benefit of the doubt. At that time, the party pushed for European Union accession and followed a reform agenda. The AKP also reached out to non-Islamist constituencies, suggesting it had a pluralist understanding of democracy and alleviating concerns about its Islamist pedigree.

Nearly a decade later, things could not be more different … The AKP experience has become a bad dream for liberal Turks who once supported the party because of their belief in its reform platform. And yet, it is possible for independent media to end this nightmare.

Barry Rubin: Top Bahrain Opposition Cleric: We Want Sharia Law State

Judging from the nuances of U.S. policy, however, the Obama Administration does seem to be supporting a compromise in Bahrain, conscious that a more radical regime could throw out the Fifth Fleet base there. But that’s the point: the Islamists will not be assuaged. Anything short of supporting their unbridled rule will be viewed by them as total enmity. And if they get into power they will still view the United States with total enmity.

David Pryce-Jones: Built into the System (or: The Hypocrisy and Cowardice of the West)

Qaddafi is already displaying this inexorable kind of dictatorship, with the deployment of force built into the system. The only way to deal with it is to mount superior force against it, but democracies rarely have the will for that, and so Arabs time and again are killed for no better reason than that they are protesting against insufferable injustice.

Ed. Note (oao): The true lesson to learn from the West’s selective treatment of Mubarak vs. Ghadhaffi is not only that alliance with the west is a loser, but also that the only way to survive is to ignore the West and apply maximum of force.

Benedict Brogan: If we truly are Israel’s friend, then now is the time to show it

The truth is that relations between Jerusalem and London are bad, drifting to worse. British diplomacy has lost interest in Israel as an interlocutor; Israel, in turn, is increasingly of the view that the UK has turned from an indestructible ally into a gullible host for the global campaign to undermine its legitimacy. At a time when the affairs of the Middle East should preoccupy us all, Britain gives the impression of being indifferent to the concerns of a country that is not just the only democracy in the neighbourhood, but also one of our paramount allies in the fight against militant Islamism that Mr Cameron professes to consider a priority.