Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes
Thoughts on the P5+1 Negotiations with Tehran
by Daniel Pipes • November 26, 2014
The Nov. 24 deadline came and went for an agreement between the powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran; on that date, they managed only to extend the existing interim deal for another seven months. The ayatollah crowed and U.S. senators stewed. Looking beyond these responses, the current situation spurs several thoughts:
A Quiet Clash at the Swedish Foreign Ministry
by Daniel Pipes • November 13, 2014 • The Washington Times
Sweden is arguably the most "European" of European countries by virtue of its historically cohesive nationhood ("one big family"), militaristic and socialist legacies, untrammeled immigration, unmatched political correctness, and a supercilious claim to the status of a "moral superpower." These features also make it perhaps the most alien of European countries to an American conservative.
In this context, I offer a summary and paraphrase of my discussion with two senior members of the permanent bureaucracy in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) held during a recent visit to Stockholm. Our affable but pointed discussion focused on the Middle East, on which we agreed on almost nothing; I might as well have been in Sudan's or Syria's MFA.
The following contains the seemingly sober officials' more colorful statements, then my responses. First, we discussed the Iranian nuclear program:
The IAEA inspection regime in Iran is the most intense ever mounted anywhere; it includes cameras that watch the Iranian installations around the clock, so we definitely know what's going on there.
Terrorism Defies Definition
by Daniel Pipes and Teri Blumenfeld • October 24, 2014 • The Washington Times
Defining terrorism has practical implications because formally certifying an act of violence as terrorist has important consequences in U.S. law.
ISIS Justifies Its Yazidi Slaves
by Daniel Pipes • October 16, 2014 • National Review Online
That the Islamic State (ISIS) has enslaved Yazidi women and children it captured is an established fact; for example, a United Nations report found that "300 [Yazidi] women had been forced into slavery." Now, in its slick multi-language journal, ISIS offers its theological justification for this practice.
Most of "The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour," a just-published four-page article in the English-language edition of Dabiq, deals with the title topic: how slavery will function as the Day of Judgment approaches. The remainder rationalizes the enslavement of Yazidis, adherents of an ancient religion, numbering fewer than a million, mainly living in the Sinjar region of Iraq and adhering to a pre-Islamic religion that has come under Sufi influences. The anonymous author argues that they are not monotheists but follow a creed "deviant from the truth." Therefore, they do not deserve a protected (dhimmi) status.
He then explains the implications of this verdict, asserting first (square brackets contain my translations), that
How Turkey Went Bad
by Daniel Pipes • October 13, 2014 • The Weekly Standard
Only twelve years ago, the Republic of Turkey was correctly seen as a stalwart NATO ally, the model of a pro-Western Muslim state, and a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. A strong military bond with the Pentagon undergirded broader economic and cultural ties with Americans. For those of us who work on the Middle East, time in Istanbul, Ankara, and other Turkish cities was a refreshing oasis from the turmoil of the region.
And then, starting with the still-astonishing election of 2002, the country dramatically changed course. Slowly at first and then with increasing velocity since mid-2011, the government began breaking its own laws, turned autocratic, and allied with the enemies of the United States. Even those most reluctant to recognize this shift have been forced to do so. If Barack Obama listed Turkey's dominant political leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as one of his five best foreign friends in 2012, he showed a quite different attitude by having a mere chargé d'affaires represent him at Erdoğan's presidential inauguration a few weeks ago – a public slap in the face.
Congress: Stop Subsidizing Biased Middle East Studies
by Daniel Pipes • October 8, 2014 • TheBlaze.com
In return for receiving taxpayer funds for foreign regional studies, universities must agree, according to Title VI of the Higher Education Act (HAE), to conduct "public outreach" programs aimed at K-12 teachers and the general public.
Problem is, as shown in research by Campus Watch and others, the Middle East studies centers betray a relentless bias in their Outreach programs against the United States and its allies, especially Israel, while showing a willful blindness to radical Islam. Three examples:
André Carson, Islamist Choice for the House of Representatives
by Daniel Pipes • October 7, 2014 • National Review Online
In politics, the adage goes, follow the money. And so, data abound for contributions from trial lawyers, insurance brokers, and even optometrists.
But what about Islamists, those Muslims who seek to replace the Constitution with the Koran and apply Islamic law in its entirety and severity – who, in other words, seek not just to tweak the tax code but to change the nature of the United States?
Until now, their campaign contributions have been unknown. A new initiative of the Middle East Forum's Islamist Watch provides a first look at the dimensions of this lobby, using a sortable database. The Islamist Money in Politics (IMIP) project (at www.islamist-watch.org/money-politics) finds that, over the past 15 years, prominent figures associated with six leading American Islamist organizations have donated almost $700,000 to federal U.S. candidates.
Those six are the
Bibliography – My Writings on Historic Western Relations with Muslims
by Daniel Pipes • October 6, 2014
This collection reviews many centuries of fraught relations between Christians and Muslims, West and East, post- and pre-Enlightenment societies. My goal is not to present a systematic account but to highlight some of the more interesting features of this long and difficult relationship. I list the writings by the starting date of each topic covered.
Hunger Growls in Egypt
by Daniel Pipes • October 6, 2014 • The Washington Times
Egypt, famed for millennia as the "breadbasket of the Mediterranean," now faces alarming food shortages. A startlingly candid report in Cairo's Al-Ahram newspaper by Gihan Shahine, entitled "Food for Stability" makes clear the extent of the crisis.
To begin, two anecdotes: Although compelled by her father to marry a cousin who could afford to house and feed her, Samar, 20, reports that they "have only had fried potatoes and aubergines for dinner most of the week." Her sisters, 10 and 13, who left school to take up work, are losing weight and suffer chronic anemia.
Manal, a nurse and single mother of four, cannot feed her children. "In the past we used to stuff cabbage with rice and eat that when we did not have any money. But now even this sometimes can be unaffordable because of rising prices. Our kids were always malnourished but it's getting even worse."
America the Multicultural
by Daniel Pipes • September 30, 2014
The Center for Immigration Studies finds that the foreign-born population of the United States numbers 41.3 million, or one out of six adults, more than twice the number than in 1980.
There are many ways to gauge the impact of this huge increase; here's one small but telling way:
I just received paperwork from Independence Blue Cross (IBX) about medical issuance options for 2015. To my surprise, this hyper-routine mailing includes a two-sided sheet, "Multi-language Interpreter Services," that offers "free interpreter services to answer any questions you may have about our health or drug plan." Not only does IBX make this service available in 17 languages, from French Creole to Tagalog to Chinese Cantonese, but it counts English as one of them, as though it's just another language! More than that, it even mangles the name of the language spoken by the overwhelming majority of its users. Read it for yourself: "Someone who speaks English/Language can help you."
(1) Making English just another language to be interpreted points to multiculturalism gone haywire.
(2) Subsidizing these translation services silently increases the insurance premiums for IBX's English speakers.
Criticisms of the U.S.-led Air Campaign against ISIS
by Daniel Pipes • September 28, 2014
The brief version:
- Keep an eye on the ball: the Iranian nuclear build-up is 1,000 times a greater threat than ISIS.
- Tehran should be left to deal with this problem, which threatens its allies in Damascus and Baghdad, and potentially even Iran itself.
- Pipes' iron rule of war: Never initiate fighting unless prepared to do what is needed to win. (I.e., don't in advance rule out ground troops.)
- The search for moderate opponents to the Assad regime is chimerical.
- Destroying oil production facilities is almost always a mistake.
- American efforts should be limited to (1) providing assistance to the Kurds and (2) humanitarian missions.
(September 28, 2014)
Erdoğan Fails to Conquer New York City
by Daniel Pipes • September 23, 2014
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appeared at an hour-long on-the-record event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York yesterday afternoon. The complete – if not entirely coherent – transcript of the English-language simultaneous translation can be found at "A Conversation With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan." I attended the meeting along with many other members (so many attended that an overflow room was needed) and I offer some responses and reflections about him:
The Council hosts its fair share of heads of state and government, all of whom arrive surrounded by bodyguards and aides, but Erdoğan had a far more massive entourage than any I'd ever seen; by my estimate, they numbered 35, nearly all of them young men in dark suits. Odder yet, they took up the first three rows, where they sat spellbound to their leader's every word, as though they had never heard any of it before. Even before he spoke, then, the profusion of fluttering staffers conveyed an aura of grandiosity – as was no doubt their intended purpose.
The Case for a Unified Kurdistan
by Daniel Pipes • September 16, 2014 • National Review Online
Is a united and independent Kurdistan a prospect we should welcome, or a dangerous idea that would create more problems in the Middle East than it would solve?
Philip Jenkins, a distinguished professor of history at Baylor University, sees the prospect of a grand Kurdistan, with Iraqi, Syrian, Turkish, and Iranian components, as "actively terrifying." I'd like to assure him that it also has the potential to be benign.
Professor Jenkins expresses his fears in an article entitled "The Case Against a Unified Kurdistan," which happens to be a direct reply to a recent NRO article of mine, "Hello, Kurdistan."
As his title suggests, Jenkins does not reject independent Kurdish polities everywhere. Indeed, he admits that an "excellent case" exists for supporting the one already in Iraq and he seems resigned to its Syrian counterpart. He also acknowledges that, "By the standards of the region, the Kurds are undoubtedly the good guys, the closest thing we might have to an actively pro-Western state." So far, we are in accord.
Think Tanks for Sale or Rent
by Daniel Pipes • September 15, 2014 • National Review Online
In a eyebrow-raising 4,000-word exposé, "Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks" published in the New York Times on September 7, Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams and Nicholas Confessore look into the novel issue of foreign governmental financing for American think tanks.
The trio found that while the total scope "is difficult to determine … since 2011, at least 64 foreign governments, state-controlled entities or government officials have contributed to a group of 28 major United States-based research organizations." Using the sketchy available information, they estimate "a minimum of $92 million in contributions or commitments from overseas government interests over the last four years. The total is certainly more."
There's No Difference between ISIS and ISIL
by Daniel Pipes • September 12, 2014 • National Review Online, The Corner
Some conservatives make an issue of the fact that President Barack Obama routinely refers to the organization that seized the Iraqi city of Mosul and declared a caliphate not as the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," or ISIS, but as the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," or ISIL. In his televised address about the group on Sept. 10, for example, he used the acronym ISIL twenty times.
The ISIS vs. ISIL controversy first emerged, as far as I can tell, when FoxNews.com published "Obama's Use of ISIL, not ISIS, Tells Another Story" on Aug. 24, an analysis of the two acronyms by Liz Peek of the Fiscal Times. Peek argued:
both describe the same murderous organization. The difference is that the Levant describes a territory far greater than simply Iraq and Syria. It's defined as this: The Levant today consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey
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