Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes
Basting Turkey's New Prime Minister
by Daniel Pipes • August 28, 2014 • The Washington Times
As Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ascends today to the presidency of Turkey, his hand-picked successor, Ahmet Davutoğlu, simultaneously assumes Erdoğan's old job of prime minister. What do these changes portend for Turkey and its foreign policy? In two words: nothing good.
In June 2005, when Davutoğlu served as chief foreign policy adviser to Erdoğan, I spoke with him for an hour in Ankara. Two topics from that conversation remain vivid.
He asked me about the neo-conservative movement in the United States, then at the height of its fame and supposed influence. I began by expressing doubts that I was a member of this elite group, as Davutoğlu assumed, and went on to note that none of the key decision-makers in the George W. Bush administration (the president, vice president, secretaries of state and defense, or the national security adviser) was a neo-conservative, a fact that made me skeptical of its vaunted power. Davutoğlu responded with a subtle form of antisemitism, insisting that neo-conservatives were far more powerful than I acknowledged because they worked together in a secret network based on religious ties. (He had the good grace not to mention which religion that might be.)
Middle East Extremists Attack Their Supporters
by Daniel Pipes • August 26, 2014
This weblog entry complements one dating from 2011, "Palestinians Attack Their Supporters." What had been a specifically abhorrent Palestinian specialty seems to be spreading, revealing yet another dimension of a sick region. (August 23, 2014)
The Caliphate Brings Trauma
by Daniel Pipes • August 25, 2014 • Aydınlık Daily (Turkey)
Without warning, the ancient and long powerless institution of the caliphate returned to life on June 29, 2014. What does this event augur?
The classic concept of the caliphate – of a single successor to Muhammad ruling a unified Muslim state – lasted just over a century and expired with the emergence of two caliphs in 750 CE. The power of the caliphate collapsed in about the year 940 CE. After a prolonged, shadowy existence, the institution disappeared altogether in 1924. The only subsequent efforts at revival were trivial, such as the so-called Kalifatsstaat in Cologne, Germany. In other words, the caliphate has been inoperative for about a millennium and absent for about a century.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Place in Islamist Politics
by Daniel Pipes • August 23, 2014
For some observers, the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood (Jama'a al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin), founded by Hasan al-Banna in Port Said, Egypt, in 1928, has become nearly equivalent with Islamism, the radical utopian ideology that seeks to make Muslims rich and powerful through complete and severe application of Islamic law, the Shari'a. One hears of the MB providing the key ideas, of it penetrating the U.S. government, inspiring the new caliphate, dominating the Turkish state, and more.
But this is inaccurate; while the Muslim Brotherhood is an important institution with international reach, it (1) is a specific organization that (2) represents only one of several competing Islamist strands. Other major strands include the Wahhabi, the Khomeinist, and the Deobandi. Different and competing visions, Sunni or Shi'i, each has its own tactics and personnel. For an analogy, think of the competing Communist strands: Troskyist, Stalinist, Titoist, Maoist, and so on.
For example, the Wahhabi doctrine of Arabia, and not the Muslim Brotherhood, has spawned such groups as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Therefore, "Muslim Brotherhood" should be applied to that organization and not as a synonym for "Islamism." (August 23, 2014)
Is CAIR Lying about a Rally for Hamas?
by Daniel Pipes • August 22, 2014 • Gatestone Institute
A "Stop the Bloodshed in Gaza" rally in downtown Miami on July 20 featured aggressive Islamist chants typical of anti-Israel events. In English, the demonstrators yelled "We are Hamas!" and "We are Jihad!" (as can be seen and heard here). In Hebrew, a Hamas partisan screamed at an Israel-supporter, "Son of a bitch" and "Go to Hell!" and made an obscene arm gesture. In Arabic, the crowd chanted the infamous "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jew, Muhammad's army will return" (a reference to a massacre of Jews under the auspices of Islam's prophet in A.D. 629).
As I say, just a typical anti-Israel demonstration, and far from the worst. Typical – except that some of its sponsors desperately seek respectability.
In a July 23 report on the demonstration, investigative researcher Danielle Avel posted a scan of a glossy paper flier advertising the event, listing its seven sponsors:
Lessons of the War in Gaza
by Daniel Pipes • August 9, 2014 • National Review Online
As Israeli operations against Hamas wind down, here are seven insights into the month-long conflict:
Missile shield: The superb performance of Iron Dome, the protective system that shot down nearly every Hamas rocket threatening life or property, has major military implications for Israel and the world. Its success signals that "Star Wars" (as opponents maliciously dubbed it upon introduction in 1983) can indeed provide protection from short-range and also presumably from long-range rockets and missiles, potentially changing the future of warfare.
How Church Attendance Affects American Attitudes toward Israel
by Daniel Pipes • August 5, 2014 • Israel Hayom
What role does religion play in American attitudes towards Israel? An analysis by Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup Inc., reviews 14 annual Gallup polls from 2001 to 2014 in which respondents answer the same question, "In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?" The numbers offer insights different from what one might expect.
The study starts with two basic facts: First, looking at the whole sample of about 14,000 American adults, 59 percent answer that they have more sympathy for Israelis and 16 percent say they have more sympathy for Palestinians, a ratio of almost 4-to-1. Second, Newport finds that "Religious Americans are significantly more likely than less religious Americans to be sympathetic to the Israelis," confirming what common sense already tells us.
That said, his numbers contain several noteworthy subtleties:
Caliph Ibrahim's Brutal Moment
by Daniel Pipes • August 5, 2014 • The Washington Times
After an absence of 90 years, the ancient institution of the caliphate roared back into existence on the first day of Ramadan in the year 1435 of the Hegira, equivalent to June 29, 2014. This astonishing revival symbolically culminates the Islamist surge that began forty years ago. A Western analogy might be declaring the restoration of the Hapsburg Empire, which traced its legitimacy to ancient Rome.
Whence comes this audacious move? Can the caliphate last? What will its impact be?
For starters, a quick review of the caliphate (from the Arabic khilafa, meaning "succession"): according to canonical Muslim history, it originated in 632 CE, on the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, then spontaneously developed, filling the nascent Muslim community's need for a temporal leader. The caliph became Muhammad's non-prophetic heir. After the first four caliphs, the office became dynastic.
From the start, followers disagreed whether the caliph should be the most able and pious Muslim or the closest relative of Muhammad; the resulting division came to define the Sunni and Shi'i branches of Islam, respectively, causing the profound schism that still endures.
Making Culture an Element of Immigration Policy
by Daniel Pipes • July 28, 2014
For years, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands has been the leading European politician to argue for religious criteria for admitting immigrants. I joined in ten months ago with a more cautious article that suggested cultural zones to which refugees are encouraged to go. This blog watches as others argue for the need to take culture – religious and other – into consideration in immigration policies.
Denmark: The political spokeswoman, Inger Støjberg, of the country's largest opposition party, Venstre, wrote a newspaper article arguing for a distinction between "a Christian American or Swede" on the one hand and "a Muslim Somali or Pakistani."
How Islamic Are Muslims?
by Daniel Pipes • July 28, 2014 • National Review Online
Islamic law demands much of Muslims; how successfully do they fulfill its precepts?
Scheherazade S. Rehman and Hossein Askari of Georgetown University provide an answer in a 2010 article, "How Islamic are Islamic Countries?" In it, they establish the Islamic teachings and then calculate how well these are applied in 208 countries and territories. They posit four separate indices (economics, the law and governance, human and political rights, international relations); then they combine these into a single overall index, which they call the IslamicityIndex.
Perhaps surprisingly, the ten countries that top the list of Islamicity turn out to be, starting at the top, New Zealand, Luxemburg, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands. The bottom ten are Mayotte, the West Bank and Gaza, Somalia, the Isle of Man, Eritrea, Sudan, the Channel Islands, Iraq, the Comoros, and Angola. Put differently, none of the top ten "Islamic" countries has a Muslim-majority, but in seven of the bottom ten, one-half or more of the population is Muslim.
Forty Years after the Invasion of Cyprus
by Daniel Pipes • July 20, 2014
Today marks the gloomy 40th anniversary of the day that Turkish troops overpowered the tiny, almost undefended island of Cyprus in a brutal exercise of military might whose immorality only intensifies with the passing decades. Some thoughts in honor of the day:
- The invasion did not take place under Islamist rule: Although an Islamist (Necmettin Erbakan) served as deputy prime minister in a coalition government for almost all of 1974, he was not the key decision maker in Turkey. Rather, Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, a leftist, enjoyed that privilege.
- The Ecevit-Erbakan cooperation in 1974 symbolizes a support among Turks of all political persuasions for the invasion of Cyprus that still persists. This near-unanimity is a basic fact of Turkish political life.
- That consensus will presumably remain in place until the Turkish occupation begins to take its toll – economic, diplomatic, or even military – on the Republic of Turkey. After 40 years, this has not even started, making one wonder if it ever will.
Are Millions Worldwide Protesting Israeli Actions?
by Daniel Pipes • July 19, 2014
RT, the Russian government's news network – and successor to the Soviet-era Pravda – published an article under the extreme, attention-seeking headline, "'In our millions, we're all Palestinian': Wave of protests worldwide demand end to Gaza slaughter." The article goes on to list anti-Israel demonstrations. However, if one actually reads the article, it quickly becomes apparent that the headline contains two major inaccuracies:
- There are no "millions" involved. Far from it. Using RT's own numbers, we find them significantly smaller: 17 participants; more than 10,000; 1,300; dozens; 4,000; and 150 demonstrators.
- The protests are hardly worldwide. RT lists them as having taken place in the United States, Argentina, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, and Australia.
Muslims Turn away from Islamism
by Daniel Pipes • July 15, 2014
The Pew Research Center, a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, has the means to sample opinion with unique frequency and on a major scale. It has used its funds to track Muslim attitudes toward Islamism in general, toward specific terrorist groups in particular, and also suicide bombing over the past decade . The most recent study, "Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East," released on July 1, conducted among 14,244 respondents in 14 countries between April 10 to May 25, 2014, holds much interest. Pew summarized the overall results:
As well-publicized bouts of violence, from civil war to suicide bombings, plague the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations. … And in the Middle East, concern is growing. Lebanese, Tunisians, Egyptians, Jordanians and Turks are all more worried about the extremist threat than they were a year ago. Meanwhile, publics hold very negative opinions of well-known extremist groups, such as al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.
In my reading, the survey makes two major points and also offers some lesser tidbits of interest: :
Don't Put Terrorists on Trial
by Daniel Pipes • July 14, 2014 • National Review Online
The Obama administration has brought an accused Libyan terrorist named Ahmed Abu Khattala to Washington for trial. His saga reveals how the government views the Islamist threat, and it's discouraging. Fortunately, a much better alternative exists.
Abu Khattala stands accused of taking part in the murder of an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi in September 2012. After an achingly slow investigation, during which time the suspect lived in the open and defiantly gave media interviews, the American military seized him on June 15. After being transported by sea and air to Washington, D.C., Abu Khattala was jailed, provided with a defense attorney, Michelle Peterson, indicted, arraigned, and, after listening to an Arabic translation of the proceedings, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of conspiracy and requested a halal diet. He potentially faces life in prison.
Surprising Support for Israel, not Hamas
by Daniel Pipes • July 11, 2014
The current Hamas assault on Israel has lured the predictable coven of Palestinian nationalists, Islamists, Leftists, and antisemites from the woodwork to bash the Jewish state. But, more surprisingly, Israel is getting support, or at least restraint and fairness, from unexpected sources:
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