Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes
Saudis Bristle at Obama's Outreach to Iran
by Daniel Pipes • December 3, 2013 • The Washington Times
The "Joint Plan of Action" signed with Iran by the so-called P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S.) on Nov. 24 in Geneva caused Shiite Arabs to celebrate, Sunni Arabs to worry, and Saudis to panic. The Saudi response will have far-reaching and unpredictable consequences.
As Iran's chief negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, brought home a deal worth about US$23 billion to Iran, Arab Shiites fell into step with Tehran. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq expressed his "full support for this step." President Bashar al-Assad of Syria welcomed the agreement as "the best path for securing peace and stability." Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri of Lebanon called it the "deal of the century." And Hezbollah considered the agreement a "great victory for Iran."
Anti-Islam Trumps Islam in the West
by Daniel Pipes • November 24, 2013
As non-Muslims come to understand the Islamist challenge, anti-Islamic sentiments in the West are increasing, probably at a faster rate than Islamic practices. As anti-Islam trumps Islam, (I have concluded) opinions "will grow yet more hostile to Islamism over time. In this way, Islamist aggression assures that anti-Islamism in the West is winning its race with Islamism."
Correct prediction? To keep track, this weblog entry documents the course of Western public opinion on a bundle of topics connected to Islam, including democracy, immigration, jihad, Shari'a, and women. To start with, two polls:
Germany, as reported by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach in November 2012:
- 56 percent: striving for political influence
- 60 percent: revenge and retaliation
- 64 percent: violence
- 68 percent: intolerance toward other faiths
- 70 percent: fanaticism and radicalism
- 83 percent: discrimination against women
In contrast, only 7 percent of Germans associate Islam with openness, tolerance, or respect for human rights.
France, mostly from early 2013:
Islam Banned in Angola?
by Daniel Pipes • November 23, 2013
Angola's Minister of Culture Rosa Cruz e Silva is reported to have declared Islam an illegal religion in the country because it is not an approved list of religions, and to have banned it.
Comment: It will be interesting to follow this surely-doomed effort. Muslim-majority countries like Saudi Arabia and the Maldives can effectively ban other religions but not the reverse. (November 23, 2013)
Nov. 25, 2013 update: Already, an official in the Angolan embassy in Washington has backtracked and denied the ban, telling the press that "The Republic of Angola [is] a country that does not interfere in religion. We have a lot of religions there. It is freedom of religion."
Nov. 28, 2013 update: A report by Aristides Cabeche and David Smith in the Guardian finds the ban-Islam effort is serious: "The Islamic Community of Angola (ICA) claims that eight mosques have been destroyed in the past two years and anyone who practises Islam risks being found guilty of disobeying Angola's penal code." The rationale is bureaucratic:
The Geneva Agreement with Iran: A Foreign Policy Disaster
by Daniel Pipes • November 23, 2013
"For the first time in nearly a decade we have halted parts of Iran's nuclear program" announced a jubilant Barack Obama after the news of the just-signed Geneva six-month interim agreement with Iran.
But the American goal for the accord was that the Iranians not "advance their program" of building a uranium nuclear bomb (and perhaps a plutonium bomb too); the apparent deal exactly permits such advancement, plus sanctions relief to Tehran worth about US$9 billion.
This wretched deal offers one occasion when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and Nov. 24 will be remembered along with Munich and Sep. 29.
Barack Obama has made many foreign policy errors in the past five years, but this is the first to rank as a disaster. Along with the health care law, it is one of his worst-ever steps. John Kerry is a too-eager puppy looking for a deal at any price.
Bibliography – My Writings on John F. Kennedy
by Daniel Pipes • November 22, 2013
Like many of my generation, I was affected by John F. Kennedy's rise and fall. I have documented both the national issues and my own evolution in several writings.
The JFK Assassination's Continued Importance
by Daniel Pipes • November 22, 2013 • National Review Online
In three main ways, the JFK murder still has repercussions for Americans and the world. It also has a unique place in my life.
First, had the assassination attempt not succeeded, arguably neither the Vietnam War nor the Great Society expansion of government would have afflicted the United States as they did. The Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived project concludes that "JFK would have continued to resist a US war in Vietnam. Even though the Saigon government, weak and corrupt, was destined for the dustbin of history, he would have resisted those calling on him to send US combat troops to Vietnam. He might have ended all military involvement."
As for government expansion, American historian Don Keko writes that Kennedy "lacked Lyndon Johnson's legislative abilities which would have doomed much of what became known as the Great Society. … Without the Great Society, the nation does not experience massive budget deficits and the economy would have been stronger."
Still Blaming Conservatives for Lee Harvey Oswald
by Daniel Pipes • November 19, 2013
In a brilliant 2007 analysis, Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (Encounter), James Piereson showed how liberals turned the communist murder of John F. Kennedy, a liberal politician, into a stain on conservatives, and how this distortion then caused liberalism to evolve into the sickly phenomenon it is today. (For my summary of the book, see "Lee Harvey Oswald's Malign Legacy.")
As the 50th anniversary of the assassination approaches, liberals are still at it, pinning responsibility for the murder on the far-right culture of Dallas in 1963 and downplaying the ineluctable fact that the communist Lee Harvey Oswald in no way reflected that culture. They just do not give up. Here is an example from today's New York Times, "Changed Dallas Grapples With Its Darkest Day." First, Manny Fernandez sets up the right-wing culture of the supposed City of Hate:
The Silver Lining of Obama's Weak America
by Daniel Pipes • November 12, 2013 • The Washington Times
That the socialist French government of François Hollande just blocked a bad deal with Tehran, emerging as the hero of the Geneva negotiations, is on one level a huge surprise. But it also follows logically from the passivity of the Obama administration.
American foreign policy is in unprecedented free-fall, with a feckless and distracted White House barely paying attention to the outside world, and when it does, acting in an inconsistent, weak, and fantastical manner. If one were to discern something so grand as an Obama Doctrine, it would read: "Snub friends, coddle opponents, devalue American interests, seek consensus, and act unpredictably."
Along with many other critics, I rue this state of affairs. But the French action demonstrates that it does have a silver lining.
Obama Turns on Israel
by Daniel Pipes • November 8, 2013 • National Review Online
Barack Obama's March 2013 trip to Israel had a too-good-to-be-true feel about it. While barely pressuring on Israel, he instructed Palestinians not to set preconditions for negotiations and admonished them to "recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state." It felt out of character, suggesting a price to be paid later.
Well, that price has now, eight months later, been revealed and it has two components. If I might paraphrase the U.S. position: "First, sit by quietly as we reach an accord with Tehran that freezes but does not dismantle its nuclear buildup. Second, stop the illegitimate residential construction on the West Bank or the Palestinian Authority will, with American acquiescence, start a third intifada."
Cyprus Joins the Middle East
by Daniel Pipes • November 6, 2013 • The Washington Times
The Republic of Cyprus has entered the maelstrom of the world's most volatile region, thanks to new-found gas and oil reserves combined with an erratic Turkish foreign policy and a civil war in Syria. Even as leaders of this Mediterranean island show skill in dealing with these novel threats and opportunities, they need support from a strong U.S. Navy - something not now available.
Cypriot underwater gas and oil discoveries follow directly on ones found earlier in Israeli seas, located adjacent to them and uncovered by the same American (Noble) and Israeli (Delek, Avner) companies. The current estimate of 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas as well as some oil has a value estimated at US$800 billion, a huge amount for a small country whose current GDP is a mere $24 billion.
Global Ramifications of the Anti-Muslim Brotherhood Campaign in Egypt
by Daniel Pipes • November 1, 2013
Since General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi on July 3, the military-led government has been engaged in a ferocious crackdown of the Muslim Brotherhood and more broadly of Islamists (though some, like the Salafis of the Nour party, playing their hand carefully, have generally avoided trouble so far).
Not only has this assault been violent, with over a thousand deaths, and legalistic, with the Brotherhood banned and its top leadership jailed, but it has also been broadly cultural, economic, and religious. Even the mildest approbation of the Muslim Brotherhood can get one in trouble, with one's neighbors if not with the state. A very large swath of the population supports the crackdown and pushes for it. A few of the many, many examples:
by Daniel Pipes • October 21, 2013 • The Washington Times
The stabbing murder on Oct. 10 of an ethnic Russian, Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, apparently by a Muslim from Azerbaijan, led to anti-migrant disturbances in Moscow, vandalism and assaults, the arrest of 1,200, and brought a major tension in Russian life to the fore.
Not only do ethnic Muslims account for 21-23 million of Russia's total population of 144 million, or 15 percent, but their proportion is fast growing. Alcoholism-plagued ethnic Russians are said to have European birth rates and African death rates, with the former just 1.4 per woman and the latter 60 years for men. In Moscow, ethnic Christian women have 1.1 child.
Islamism in Disarray
by Daniel Pipes • October 3, 2013
This blog continues the analysis in "Islamism's Likely Doom," where I traced recent fissiparous trends among Islamists. They just can't seem to get along anymore. To quote Yusuf al-Qaradawi speaking in a different context (the prospect of U.S. forces attacking the Assad regime), "Allah pits the oppressors one against the other."
Plus, to know Islamists is to reject them. This weblog entry follows the two themes of in-fighting and unpopularity.
Jordan: The aftermath of the Egyptian coup d'état three months ago has left the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, known as the Islamic Action Front, reeling. David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy finds that the old division between East Bankers and Palestinians has come to the fore; also, both Salafis and mild reformers, the latter in an organization called the Zamzam Initiative, have gained in strength.
Do I Not Criticize Israeli Policies?
by Daniel Pipes • September 29, 2013
David C. Speedie, a senior fellow and director of U.S. Global Engagement Program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, recently wrote how he follows me "quite closely" and that my work is of no value because I don't "in any way question any aspect of Israel's policy."
He implied here that I am a lapdog of the Israeli government with no mind of my own, but a p.r. agent or lobbyist for whoever's in charge in Jerusalem, so my views should have no weight. His portrayal undermines my role as an independent analyst and therefore calls for refutation.
In fact, I disagree often and volubly with Israeli policies, as the following partial list suggests:
Believe Khamene'i and Assad? Not Me
by Daniel Pipes • September 28, 2013
Has anyone else noted the similarity in today's top two Middle East news headlines – the telephone call between the Iranian and American presidents and the passage of U.N. Security Council Resoluton 2118 that calls for the "expeditious destruction" of Syrian chemical weapons? In both cases:
- A long-ruling tyrant (Ali Khamene'i, Bashar al-Assad,) is reaching out to the West.
- Those tyrants are furiously signaling an apparent reform (a smiling Hassan Rouhani, Assad acknowledging his chemical weapons and agreeing to turn them over).
- "Who us, WMD?" they ask. "No interest at all in them."
Count me skeptical. In part, I've learned over the decades that pessimism is good for one's career as a Middle East analyst. In part, both the Iranian and Syrian governments have shown such dedication to their WMD buildups that it's nearly inconceivable either will voluntarily undo them.
I just hope that the U.S. and other governments don't fall prey to manipulations and delays. Given the occupant in the White House, however, that seems like a very probable outcome, especially in the Iranian case. (September 28, 2013)
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