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The Death of Soleimani and Its Consequences
January 7, Informale (Italy)

What's Next for Trump and Iran?
January 6, Ezra Levant Show, Rebel Media

Predicting the Fall-out from Qasem Soleimani's Death
January 4, Roy Green Show, Corus Radio (Canada)

We Now Talk More Openly About Islam
November 11, Centre for Independent Studies

Latest on the Syria Crisis
October 17, 630 KHOW Denver

Erdoğan Invaded; What's Next in Syria?
October 15, DanielPipes.org

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COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Proliferate

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 17, 2020

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My article, "Conspiracy Theories in a Time of Virus," offers deep background and some current conspiracy theories. This blog keeps up with some of the latter.

(1) Good news: A U.S. State Department spokeswoman has stated that Secretary Mike Pompeo "conveyed strong U.S. objections to PRC efforts to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States. The Secretary stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat."

(2) Tracing the two lines of alleged conspirators, secret society and Jewish, is a central focus on my 1997 book, Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From.

(3) Various conspiracy theories not covered in the article above:

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Conspiracy Theories in a Time of Virus

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 17, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Suddenly, influential voices blame the COVID-19 virus not on Communist China but on the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel. This shift fits a pernicious medieval pattern that needs to be taken seriously and refuted.

That pattern goes back to about 1100 A.D. and the Crusaders in Europe. Since then, confused folk hoping to make sense of unexpected and malign developments have the permanent option of conjuring up a world conspiracy. When they do, they overwhelmingly blame just two alleged conspirators: members of Western secret societies or Jews.

Secret societies include the Knights Templar, Freemasons, Jesuits, Illuminati, Jacobins, and the Trilateral Commission. Jews are supposedly ruled by a shadowy authority, the "Elders," that strictly keeps them in line through such front organizations as the Sanhedrin, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

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Tel Aviv's Mayor vs. the Middle East Forum

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 22, 2020  •  Israel Hayom

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For three years, the Middle East Forum has been engaged in a campaign to wean Americans and Israelis off the deceptive charms of the "peace process" which has, in fact, produced overwhelmingly malign results. Instead, we argue for an Israeli victory and a commensurate Palestinian defeat.

We constantly seek out new ways to bring this argument to the public's notice, especially in Israel. Although the topic is deadly serious, we've had some fun in the process. Israel Victory Project's attention-getting tactics have included posters of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a swimsuit thanking Israel for all the money it sends his organization; a 10-meter tall rubber chicken posed in front of the Israeli parliament and the Ministry of Defense; and switching street signs in Tel Aviv (e.g., from Ben-Gurion Street to Yasser Arafat Boulevard).

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Israeli Arabs Say No to Palestine

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 4, 2020  •  Jerusalem Post

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The Trump administration's massively detailed "Peace to Prosperity" vision contains many specifics, some of which are currently reverberating in Israel and among the Palestinians.

One of the most surprising of these deals with an area known as "the Triangle," a region of Israel bordering on the West Bank and predominantly inhabited by some 300,000 Arabs. The Trump plan "contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties, that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine."

In other words, no one will be evicted but Israel's border will be moved so as to exclude the Triangle, transferring it to become part of today's Palestinian Authority and (maybe) tomorrow's State of Palestine.

Moving the border is hardly a new suggestion, for several Israeli prime ministers have raised it, including Ariel Sharon in February 2004, Ehud Olmert in October 2007, and Benjamin Netanyahu in January 2014. In addition, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman raised it in September 2016.

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Reservations about the Trump Peace Plan

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 29, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all my friends are delighted with Donald Trump's plan to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I agree that, in contrast with prior presidential plans, this one has much to commend it; unlike the Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush proposals, it takes Israeli security concerns seriously. Most of all, it indicates an unprecedented and emotionally wonderful level of U.S. support for Israel.

That said, I am not delighted with the plan, and for two main reasons. First, who needs it? Israel does best when it acts independently on its interests, not following the U.S. lead. All Israeli leaders since 1948 have wisely resisted plans imposed from the outside, implicitly asking, "Who assigned you to solve our problems?" But this time, the country's top two politicians dashed to Washington to endorse just such a plan. I predict that these same leaders or their successors will rue ceding such authority to Americans.

Second, I worry that, like every previous and failed scheme to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Trump plan is based on giving the Palestinians hope. That sounds nice but it is profoundly counterproductive.

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Will Arab Anti-Zionism Revive?
The old wall of Arab anti-Zionism has fractured, but lingering hostility against Israel could explode anew

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 6, 2020  •  Jerusalem Post

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It's become conventional wisdom to point out that the old wall of Arab anti-Zionism has fractured. I have done so myself. But lingering hostility against Israel could explode anew.

A brief history of Arab attitudes toward the Jewish state puts this danger in context:

For about 20 years, 1910-30, enmity toward Zionists was a local fracas of little interest to other Arabic speakers. Then the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, the most toxic and influential anti-Zionist of all time, internationalized the conflict by sending out alarms about the supposed dangers to Jerusalem.

Pan-Arab nationalist sentiments prompted multiple Arab states to jump militarily into the fray to eliminate the newly independent state of Israel in 1948. The shock of their defeat (the Nakba) caused governments to fall in Egypt and Syria and turned anti-Zionism into the Middle East's most potent political emotion.

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2019's Biggest Hits at DanielPipes.org

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 1, 2020

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As I have done previously (2015, 2017, 2018), here is a roundup of the most popular articles, blog posts, speeches, and interviews on my web site, DanielPipes.org, in the just-concluded year. (The statistics below concern only DanielPipes.org, not postings elsewhere.)

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Why I Am Not a Populist

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 26, 2019  •  Washington Times

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Populism has made great strides in the West. But it is misguided, and I greatly hope it fails.

There's no standard definition for populism but it always includes some degree of denigrating the rich and powerful while praising the virtuous and innocent common folk. Populists ascribe obscene self-serving motives to the greedy, privileged, and exploitative elite. Were only the country class to mobilize, they argue, it could expel the ruling class, replace it, and claim its righteous share.

Populism has left and right versions, led in the United States by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Leftists usually focus on money (Occupy Wall Street's 1%, Sanders' billionaires), while Rightists attack insider influence (the Tea Party's Swamp, Steve Bannon's Deep State). Very occasionally, they agree on a common enemy, such as Globalists.

Populism need not rely on conspiracy theories, but it often does, as these neatly explain how so tiny a minority can enjoy such wealth and influence. Likewise, it need not turn to antisemitism, but the temptation permanently exists to single out Jews as rich, connected, or both.

I am not a populist. I do not blame the rich or bureaucrats for our problems; rather, I blame the Left.

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America's Early Apologists for Islamism

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 20, 2019  •  Washington Times

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The good, the just, and the chic of the United States enjoy filling the role of Islam's patrons. The Establishment emphasizes several benign and simplistic themes: There is no clash of civilizations. Terrorism is not Islamic. Islam is compatible with American ideals. It adds to American life. Americans must learn to appreciate Islam.

Whence sprang these views that blithely ignore the myriad problems associated with Islam in its relations with non-Muslims, from jihad to dhimmitude (living as second-class citizens)? Not from the remarkable 1796 U.S. document promising "no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims]," for that assured neutrality, not favoritism.

In fact, this patronage dates back to July 1979 and the founding of a now-forgotten but once-grand initiative called the "National Committee to Honor the Fourteenth Centennial of Islam" (for short, Islam Centennial Fourteen, or ICF). In celebrating the turn of the Islamic century on Nov. 21, 1979, the committee hoped to counter growing tensions with Iran's new revolutionary government.

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Erdoğan's Turkish Delight
The Dangerous Reign of Ankara's Corrupt President

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 13, 2019  •  National Interest

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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's rule over Turkey began in March 2003 and divides precisely into two eras.

In the first half, which lasted 8 years and 4 months, he was brilliant. He oversaw unprecedented economic growth and regional influence. He tackled long-festering problems, such as the Kurdish issue, while discreetly handling his military overlords. His string of successes culminated in July 2011 with an assertion of control of the military, an accomplishment that had eluded all of his predecessors.

The 8 years and 4 months since that turning point has seen that earlier brilliance vaporize, replaced by inconstancy, self-indulgence, and unpredictability. Count the ways:

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Middle Eastern Gyrations
Oil, water, Islamism and anti-Zionism in flux

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 11, 2019  •  Washington Times

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As ever, the Middle East is monumentally in flux. As usual, most developments are negative. Here's a guide:

Water replaces petroleum as the key liquid: Oil and gas still provide nearly 60 percent of the world's energy, but this number is declining and even the wealthiest oil producers are feeling the pinch ("GCC states look to new taxes as oil revenues remain weak"). Contrarily, tensions over water are becoming a major source of international tensions (e.g., Turkey vs. Syria, Ethiopia vs. Egypt) and a driving force of domestic change (the Syrian revolt of 2011). It's also a potential cause of massive migration; a former Iranian minister of agriculture predicts that water shortages will force up to 70 percent of the country's population, or 57 million Iranians, to emigrate.

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My Disastrous Meeting with the Soviets
On a 1983 conference of American Middle East experts and Soviet academics in Moscow

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 30, 2019  •  American Spectator

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Introduction: With the Cold War still raging, I joined a group of ten American specialists on the Middle East and related topics who traveled to Moscow in November-December 1983. We met intensively over four days with Soviet counterparts on a strictly confidential basis. It was the most useless academic exercise I've ever taken part in.

The teams were headed by Dankwart Rustow of CUNY and Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (and in 1998-99 the prime minister of Russia). Distinguished American participants included Bernard Lewis, J.C. Hurwitz, and Gregory Massell; Soviets included Genrich Alexandrovich Trofimenko, Vitaliy Vyacheslavovich Naumkin, and Oleg Vitalevich Kovtunovich. An instructor at Harvard at the time, I was both by far the youngest member of the delegation and the most outspokenly conservative, i.e., anti-Soviet.

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[Syria Invasion] Turkey May Go the Way of Venezuela

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 24, 2019  •  Wall Street Journal

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Turkish citizens are wildly optimistic about the invasion of Syria that began Oct. 9. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision finds broad support within Turkey, including from all the major opposition parties except the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party. The incursion is understood domestically not only as a measure to protect the country from the Kurdish forces Mr. Erdoğan calls "terrorists," but also to affirm Turkey's status as a power; Ankara no longer must bow to the wishes of Washington, Berlin or Moscow.

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Understanding the U.S.-Turkish-Syrian Triangle
An Interview

by Niram Ferretti interviewer  •  October 21, 2019  •  Informale

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Please assess President Trump's greenlighting Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to invade Syria and attack the Kurds there.

Trump sometimes acknowledges his lack of knowledge and governs following the advice of others (for example, in choosing judges). At other times, he feels he knows best and acts upon instinct, as in this case. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria is horrible on three levels: morally, in terms of betraying an ally; tactically, in terms of ceding territory to enemies; and strategically, in terms of sending a signal to allies around the world that the United States is untrustworthy.

John Podhoretz wrote of the Pence-Pompeo deal with Erdoğan that it "threatens to turn the stab-in-the-back of the Kurds into a direct and unquestionable stab-in-the-front." It not only gives the Turks "everything they wanted" but they don't even call it a ceasefire because they "want to make it clear they have bested the United States." Your view?

I agree with that analysis and also with Tom Rogan, who wrote that "American diplomacy has simply replaced Turkish tanks as the means to Turkey's victory." That deal is a joke and an enduring embarrassment to Pence and Pompeo.

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Fifty Years of Fascination
The Middle East and Me

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 29, 2019  •  American Thinker

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At the start of my junior year in college, precisely fifty years ago this month, I changed my college major, making the leap from mathematics to Middle East studies. Math had become too hard, the region was too interesting.

I wrote about this life-altering move in a letter to my parents on Sep. 30, 1969 (mistakes are corrected, and references added):

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First-Hand Accounts

For a listing of original stories concerning non-Muslim women with Muslim men, starting in September 2019, please click here.

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