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Will Donald Trump Be Impeached?
March 2, Sputnik News

The Threat of Radical Islam and the Future of the Eastern Mediterranean
February 21, BESA Center, Bar-Ilan University

A Frank Exchange of Views with Turkey's Ambassador to Israel
February 21, Begin-Sadat Center Conference

American Historian: Trump Does Not Look at the Muslim Brotherhood Like Obama; I Expect It Will Be Banned
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Trump executive order 'a great fumble.'
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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

review of Ike's Gamble: America's Rise to Dominance in the Middle East.

by Daniel Pipes  •  Spring 2017  •  Middle East Quarterly

When Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute told me he's writing a book on President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Middle East policy, I nodded politely, wondering why someone engaged in current policy issues would devote himself to a topic of mainly antiquarian interest. Well, having now read Ike's Gamble, I know the answer: his topic is both fascinating in itself and has continuing relevance for U.S. foreign policy.

Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power about the same time in Egypt as Eisenhower and, as the leader of pan-Arab nationalism, dominated the Middle East during the president's entire eight-years in office. In light of their intense competition with the Soviet Union, American leaders had a choice of two basic approaches to Nasser: build him up to win him over or treat him as an opponent to reduce his influence.

Focused primarily on finding allies against Moscow, Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, decided to woo Nasser; that's the gamble of the title. Doran follows this implausible effort in painful but nearly novelistic detail, revealing the full extent of its faulty premises, tactical blunders, and strategic errors. In brief, American support turned Nasser into the dictator of Egypt, wildly popular pan-Arab nationalist hero, invaluable Soviet ally, and global anti-American chieftain. Finally, in 1958, after the particularly bruising Suez War experience, the realist core in Eisenhower and Dulles wised up.

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Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting

by Daniel Pipes  •  Spring 2017  •  Middle East Quarterly

Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 establishing radically new procedures to deal with foreigners who apply to enter the United States. Building on his earlier notion of "extreme vetting," the order explains that

to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

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What Do Jihadis Want? The Caliphate

by Daniel Pipes  •  2017  •  Global Terrorism: Challenges and Policy Options, ed. by Dhruv C. Katoch and Shakti Sinha (New Delhi: Pentagon Press), pp..88-91

A question often asked is, "What do the jihadis [Mujahideen] want?" The answer is surprisingly obscure, as most of their attacks do not include clear demands.

The horrific attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 and on Paris in November 2015 were carried out by suicide squads, with gunmen carrying out mass shootings. Elsewhere, they have resorted to machine gun assaults, beheadings, bombings, hijackings etc. After the attackers have been neutralised by the security forces, an assessment is carried out of the damage they caused and detectives attempt to trace the identities of the perpetrators, to look into possible motives. Shadowy websites then make post-hoc unauthenticated claims, which still belie the question, "What do the jihadis want?"

Motives for Jihadi Attacks

Why do the motives go unexplained? Post the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, analysts are still speculating on the likely motives. In broad terms however, we can state that there are two general categories or motives for attacks.

The first is to change specific policies of the state which has been targeted. As an example, this could pertain to seeking withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan or to get Riyadh to expel foreign troops from its soil. It could also be aimed at pressuring governments to end support for Israel or to pressure New Delhi to cede control over Kashmir.

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[Oman:] The Middle East's Most Surprising Country

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 15, 2017  •  Washington Times

Oman, where I have spent the past week, is an Arab country unlike any other. Count the ways.

Islam has three main branches: Sunni (about 90 percent of all Muslims), Shiite (about 9 percent) and Ibadi (about 0.2 percent). Oman has the only Ibadi-majority population in the world. Being a tiny minority in the larger Muslim context, rulers of Oman have historically kept away from Middle Eastern issues. Part of the country was isolated mountainous desert terrain, part was focused on the seas, especially on India and on East Africa. For two centuries, the Omani empire competed with the Europeans for control of the Indian Ocean; indeed, Oman ruled the African island of Zanzibar until 1964, making it the only non-European state to control African territory.

This unique remoteness from Middle Eastern problems, whether it be the Arab-Israeli conflict or Iranian expansionism, remains in place. At present, with a civil war raging in next-door Yemen and Iran making trouble right by Oman's Musandam Peninsula, which juts out into the super-strategic Straits of Hormuz, Oman is an oasis of calm. Jihadism has so far been non-existent, with no acts of violence in Oman and no Omanis joining ISIS.

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I Attended a Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra Concert

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 10, 2017

I had the opportunity yesterday evening of attending a concert by the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra (ROSO) playing in its home city of Muscat.

Founded in 1985 and offering its first public concert two years later, ROSO is very much a personal project of the long-ruling Sultan Qaboos bin Said (b. 1940, r. 1970-). As a flattering newspaper profile explains, "ROSO emerged as a novel and a poetic idea; an idea born in the heart and soul of a benevolent leader. The idea was nourished by passion, love, and understanding of culture as a tool towards cultural diplomacy, understanding, diplomacy."

Nor was the sultan's contribution limited to flowery words. He took a direct interest in the Western music project, giving it a military validation and bringing it into his palace:

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Jordan at the Precipice

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 8, 2017  •  Washington Times

"We're in dire straits." So spoke Jordan's King Abdullah a half-year ago. A just-completed week of intensive travels and discussions throughout Jordan finds no one disagreeing with that assessment. Jordan may no longer be hyper-vulnerable and under siege, as it was in decades past; but it does face possibly unprecedented problems.

Created out of thin air by Winston Churchill in 1921 to accommodate British imperial interests, the Emirate of Transjordan, now the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for almost a century has led a precarious existence. Particularly dangerous moments came in 1967, when Pan-Arabist pressures led King Hussein (r. 1952-99) to make war on Israel and lose the West Bank; in 1970, when a Palestinian revolt nearly toppled him; and 1990-91, when pro-Saddam Hussein sentiments pushed him to join a hopeless and evil cause.

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Erdoğan to Me: Stay Out of Turkey

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 22, 2017

I participated yesterday in a conference about the eastern Mediterranean at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) just outside Tel Aviv; and because Tel Aviv is the diplomatic center of Israel, its events attract a good number of diplomats. Yesterday was no exception, with a foreign minister and other diplomats from several eastern Mediterranean countries, including Albania, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, and Turkey.

My 15-minutes talk (which can be seen here in its entirety) surveyed the role of Islamism in the region. In the question-and-answer period, Turkey's newly-appointed ambassador, Kemal Ökem, vigorously protested points I had made about his country. I defended these, then challenged Ökem (in a video that can be viewed here):

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A White House Initiative to Defeat Radical Islam

by Daniel Pipes and Christopher C. Hull  •  February 20, 2017  •  Washington Times

Who is the enemy? It's been over 15 years since 9/11 and still this fundamental question rattles around. Prominent answers have included evil doers, violent extremists, terrorists, Muslims, and Islamists.

As an example of how not to answer this question, the Obama administration convened a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group in 2010 and included participants who turned up such gems as: "Jihad as holy war is a European invention," the caliphate's return is "inevitable," Sharia (Islamic law) is "misunderstood," and "Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms ... because terrorism is not Islamic by definition." The result? The group produced propaganda helpful to the (unnamed) enemy.

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Linda Sarsour, The Left's Latest Star

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 3, 2017  •  Washington Times

What to make of Linda Sarsour of Brooklyn, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against President Trump's immigration order and the new, seemingly ubiquitous symbol of the hard Left-radical Islam alliance?

The Obama White House designated her a "champion of change." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sought her endorsement. Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders used her as a surrogate in his presidential campaign. She served as a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

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Academic Malfeasance: Nine Errors in Three Pages

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 29, 2017  •  History News Network

Here we go again: Another professor dealing with the Middle East or Islam who can't get basic facts right.

This time, it's one Todd H. Green, associate professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and author of The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West (Fortress Press, 2015). The book's title reveals its contents: the usual academic pablum about Islamists as innocent dears while critics of Islamism are greedy and vicious haters.

And the worst of those critics are "professional Islamophobes," being "prominent individuals and organizations that deliberately drown out the diversity of Muslim voices and consciously manufacture and exploit the fear of Islam in a manner unprecedented in mainstream political and media circles." They are "a cadre of conservative politicians, right-wing activists and bloggers, and even disgruntled Muslims or ex-Muslims" who have available "powerful political, media, and publishing platforms" which they exploit "to generate and exacerbate Western anxieties toward the Muslim 'Other'." To top this off, they profit financially from their ugly work. (Sure, all those $20 million checks.)

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The Three-Way Option: Arab States, Israel, Palestinians

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 25, 2017  •  Israel Hayom

Foreign Affairs magazine has published a major statement from Israel's former minister of defense Moshe Ya'alon, a likely future candidate for prime minister, on his view how to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, titled "How to Build Middle East Peace: Why Bottom-Up Is Better Than Top-Down" (Jan.-Feb. 2017).

Ya'alon offers an impressive analysis of why decades of diplomacy failed and its enduring stagnation. His "bottom-up" solution contains four elements, three of which are somewhat antique bromides and one of which is an exciting, untried idea – the three-way option that I will dwell on below.

Stripped to its essentials, Ya'alon's article calls for (bolding is mine):

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An Author's Lament over Article Titles

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 21, 2017

Titles of articles (and books too, but that's a different topic) have an outsized importance in a writer's life.

They (1) stimulate reader interest or not and (2) create an expectation of the contents. A good title provokes interest and conveys the argument; a bad one bores and misleads about the topic. An excellent title remains understandable and interesting years after publication. An ideal one also attracts search-engine hits.

Problem is, while authors theoretically enjoy full control of the content of their articles (even if that's not always entirely the case in practice), titles belong to editors. Proofs are returned to authors minus titles. The author typically discovers the title on reading the published article, right along with the general public.

This can lead to authorial anguish. "No one will read it" and "That's not what I meant" are common and legitimate responses. A misguided title can make trouble for an author, as happened almost simultaneously in late 1990 to both Bernard Lewis and me.

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Bibliography – My Writings on Donald Trump

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 20, 2017

I'm a specialist on the Middle East and Islamism, but I've taken time off to offer responses to the rise of Donald Trump.

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A Conservative in the Age of Trump

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 18, 2017  •  Philadelphia Inquirer

Many conservatives who once found Donald Trump unpalatable have come around to accept him. Most famously, Mitt Romney once excoriated Trump as dishonest, "a phony, a fraud," and condemned his bullying, greed, showing off, and misogyny. After the presidential election, however, Romney praised Trump ("I look forward to the coming administration") and hoped to work for him.

This change of heart has not been limited to job applicants. The president-elect's many qualities that conservatives once condemned have disappeared down memory hole, to the point that recalling them is akin to making rude noises during a prayer service.

Instead, Republicans are in a mood of optimism, even ecstasy, celebrating Trump's unconventionality and holding him up as the only candidate who could have defeated the despised Hillary Clinton. As House Speaker Paul Ryan put it, "Trump heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard," enabling him to accomplish the "most incredible political feat" Ryan has ever witnessed.

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Is There a Palestinian People? Can It be Defeated?

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 15, 2017

"The Way to Peace: Israeli Victory, Palestinian Defeat," my article in the current issue of Commentary, has provoked criticism mainly with regard to two points: my accepting the existence of a Palestinian people and my belief that it can be defeated. My arguments:

(1) There is no such thing as a Palestinian people: Indeed, as readers note, no such people existed through the centuries. Palestine (Arabic: "Filastin") as a political unit only came into use as a Zionist triumph when imposed by the British occupiers following the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Palestinians (Arabic: "Filastiniyun") also came into use only in the twentieth century. Jerusalem never served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state. All true.

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All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2017 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

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