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Turks in Early Muslim Service

by Daniel Pipes  •  1978  •  Journal of Turkish Studies / Türklük Bilgisi Araştirmaları, 2(1978): 85-96


For over a millennium, about 850 to 1900, Turks dominated the military and political life of the central Muslim lands. Although few in number, they consistently managed to conquer and rule the other peoples of this area. They not only held power in regions adjacent to their homeland, the Central Asian steppe, but even in distant countries. That is, they not only ruled northern India, Iran, and Anatolia for long periods, but also such remote areas as southern India, the Yemen, and Egypt. Turks founded many of the great dynasties of Islam, such as the Seljuks, Mamluks, Mughals, Safavids, and foremost of all, the Ottomans. Under the Ottomans, Turks ruled such distant areas as Algeria and the Sudan.

Although the reasons for the Turkish military and political predominance over other Muslims are too complex to discuss here, we can trace the Turks' first rise to power in an Islamic setting. Turkish domination did not begin during the very first years of Islam; nor did it suddenly occur in the reign of al-Mu'tasim (218-27/ 833-42), as is commonly thought. Rather, Turks played a small but growing role from the 50/670's on. The following pages trace this development from its beginnings to its florescence under al-Mu'tasim.

The history of Turks in early Muslim service divides at al-Ma'mun's accession in the year 198/813. Before then, Turks had only a moderate role in Muslim governments and armies; from that date on, they acquired enormous significance.

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Examining Qatar's Influence

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 29, 2019  •  Qatar: U.S. Ally or Global Menace?


Already in the mid-1990s, a playful riddle circulated among foreign-policy types: In the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, which are the world's two great powers? Answer: The United States and Qatar. In other words, the outsized ambitions of a country with a native population then numbering about 150,000, have long been apparent.

These days, Qatar's influence is no longer a riddle. It is felt from Claridge's Hotel to Paul Gauguin's Quand te maries-tu?, from Al Jazeera to the 2022 World Cup, from hacking efforts to bribery scandals. The government has flamboyantly balanced its external connections, symbolized by the giant Al-Udeid Air Base used mostly by American forces vs. the Qatar-Turkey Combined Joint Force Command.

In part, this remarkable record is made possible by the unique riches showered on the country's tiny population (which now stands at a bit over 300,000, or about 1 percent of the population of Shanghai). The vast North Dome gas field earns the country's subjects (as opposed to the many more numerous foreigners) a per capita income of about US$500,000, or some five times higher than the second richest state, Luxembourg.

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Europe's Jews vs. Israel

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 27, 2019  •  Israel Hayom


Note the contrast: when Matteo Salvini, Italy's interior minister recently visited Jerusalem, which he hailed as the capital of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him a "great friend of Israel." Back home, however, Italy's liberal Jews denounced Salvini for, among other things, his Gypsy policy and his alleged "racism against foreigners and migrants."

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Trump's Mideast 'Deal of the Century' May Be a Raw One for Israel
His plan is a closely held secret, but the signals look worrying for supporters of the Jewish state.

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


President Trump has spoken repeatedly about his desire to find the "deal of the century" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the president's specific plan remains a tightly held secret, he and several aides occasionally drop hints about it. From what one can tell, it doesn't sound good.

The first theme of Mr. Trump's comments is neutrality toward Israel and the Palestinians. He had already expressed that in December 2015, when he insisted both sides "are going to have to make sacrifices" to achieve peace, and he has made many similar comments since. Mr. Trump seems not to recall that Israel has repeatedly made concessions since 1993, including turning over land and permitting a Palestinian police corps, only to be met with heightened Palestinian intransigence and violence.

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The Middle East Forum at 25
Failure and Success

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 24, 2019  •  Jerusalem Post


Today marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Middle East Forum. I'll take this opportunity candidly to review our ability to influence U.S. policy over the quarter century and assess where we stand today.

Opening our doors in early 1994 with the Middle East Quarterly as our main activity, it was difficult to win attention or financial support for a new organization with the slogan "promoting American interests." Things seemed to be going so well for the United States – success in the Kuwait War, the Soviet collapse, and the Oslo Accords – convincing the Clinton administration that the Middle East remained a cauldron of dangers proved an uphill battle, a hill generally too steep for MEF to climb. Accordingly, we struggled in those early years. Opening MEForum.org in 2000, however, positioned us for the turbulence ahead.

9/11 and the Iraq war woke Americans abruptly to Islamist and Middle Eastern threats, catapulting our topics to the center of American and world attention, giving us the opportunity to get out our message and secure more stable funding.

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My Biggest Hits of 2018 - and Why

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 31, 2018


Looking at statistics at DanielPipes.org finds that these ten are my most read writings of 2018, in ascending order:

10. Melbourne's Petite, Shy, Honors-Student Jihadi
9. German and Austrian Media Outrage Me
8. Conservatism's Hidden History
7. Venezuela's Tyranny of Bad Ideas
6. Why Israelis Shy from Victory
5. The US-Israel Honeymoon May Not Last
4. Poland's Muslim Ban
3. The Rise of Western Civilizationism
2. Tectonic Shifts in Attitudes toward Israel
1. Hungary: Not "Submitting to Islam"

These articles and blogs divide into three broad topics:

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Tectonic Shifts in Attitudes toward Israel

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 27, 2018  •  Washington Times


As Arabs and Muslims warm to Israel, the Left grows colder. These shifts imply one great imperative for the Jewish state.

On the first shift: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently pointed out "a great change" in the Arab world which has a growing connection to Israeli companies because it needs Israeli "technology and innovation, ... water, electricity, medical care, and high-tech." Explaining this normalization as a result of Arab states "looking for links with the strong," Netanyahu was too tactful of American liberals to add another factor: Barack Obama's policy of appeasing Tehran jolted the Arab states to get serious about the real threats facing them.

It is striking to note that full-scale Arab state warfare versus Israel lasted a mere 25 years (1948-73) and ended 45 long years ago; and that Turkey and Iran have since picked up the anti-Zionist torch.

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If Trump Wants to Divide Jerusalem into Three

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 24, 2018


Ben Caspit in Al-Monitor has leaked details of the Trump administration's "ultimate deal" to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Citing an anonymous "senior diplomatic source," he writes that the still-secret Trump plan

includes a clear partition of Jerusalem into three sections, and "it is not about a Palestinian capital in Abu-Dis (a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem governance area) but in significant sections of East Jerusalem." According to the source, there will be two capitals in Jerusalem: the Israeli capital in West Jerusalem including control over the Western Wall and Jewish neighborhoods in the city's eastern sections, and the capital of Palestine in the eastern section. In addition will be a third region, within the Holy Basin, to be under international control.

Well, "interesting if true" should be one's first response, as prior leaks that have proved to be inaccurate. But let's suppose that this anonymous senior diplomatic source knows of what he speaks. Then what?

– Any area "under international control" idea curiously harks back to the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine's ill-fated but enduring notion of Jerusalem as a Corpus separatum. In other words, it's anachronistic.

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Pushing for an Israeli Victory Is the Only Way to End the Conflict with the Palestinians

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 2, 2018  •  Ha'aretz


From a practical political point of view, Avigdor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, and their idea to take a tougher stand toward Hamas just went down to defeat, if not humiliation. That's because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again showed his political skills; the first is now ex-defense minister, the second failed to become defense minister.

From a longer-term point of view, however, the duo raised an issue that for decades had not been part of the Israeli political discourse but, due to their efforts, promises to be an important factor in the future: that would be the concept of victory, of an Israeli victory over Hamas and, by extension, over the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians in general.

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Melbourne's Petite, Shy, Honors-Student Jihadi

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 2018  •  Quadrant (Sydney)



A petite, pretty 24-year-old Bangladeshi named Momena Shoma arrived in Melbourne on Feb. 1, 2018, to study linguistics on an excellence scholarship at La Trobe University. Describing herself as "an introvert and very shy in nature," she spoke of an ambition to become a university instructor. Coming from an affluent and secular Dhaka family which considered her "brilliant," Momena had been an A student at some of the capital's elite English-language educational institutions: Loreto School, Mastermind School, and North South University. She graduated NSU with an honors degree in English language and literature in 2016, then enrolled for a master's degree at NSU before switching to La Trobe.

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In Defense of Europe's "Far-Right" Parties

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 2, 2018  •  Washington Times


The European political parties called far-right by Establishment politicians and media (but civilizationist by me) are justly criticized for their mistakes and extremism.

For example, the Sweden Democrats party in its first years, 1988-95, did have some members with Nazi backgrounds and some who supported racist and white nationalist ideas. Even today, the party does foolish things – like call for a ban on circumcising boys.

Civilizationists also have a problem with antisemitism. Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Rally in France, has repeatedly been fined for dismissing the Nazi gas chambers as a "detail" of history. When Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache in 2010 visited Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem memorial to the Holocaust, he wore the distinctive beer-cap of the Vandalia fraternity, an organization associated with antisemitism.

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Europe's Civilizationist Parties
Don't shun the populists of Europe; work with and learn from them

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 2018  •  Commentary


IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that "in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm." He sees this trend creating a surge in "xenophobic populism." Writing in Politico, Katy O'Donnell agrees: "Nationalist parties now have a toehold everywhere from Italy to Finland, raising fears the continent is backpedaling toward the kinds of policies that led to catastrophe in the first half of the 20th century." Jewish leaders like Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, sense "a very real threat from populist movements across Europe."

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Why Do You American Conservatives Keep Losing?

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 18, 2018  •  Washington Times


I had no answer when Mária Schmidt, a historian and advisor to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, recently asked me, "Why do you American conservatives keep losing to liberals?"

By conservatives, she and I both understand individuals who respect tradition while intelligently adapting it to new circumstances; those following in the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Liberals are those who believe in each person's unlimited capacity on his own to figure things out rationally, the heirs of Tony Blair and Barack Obama. This permanent political conflict pits building on tradition vs. thinking things anew. It's recognizing 2 genders vs. 71.

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Harvard University Memorial Service for Richard Pipes

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 21, 2018


Unfortunately, the requested recording by Harvard Event technicians was not made. I thank Robert Chung for recording nearly the entire service on his smartphone, with the exception of the musical prelude and the first talk, by Prof. Evelyn Higgenbotham. The recording begins with the welcome by Prof. Rawi Abdelal.

For the memorial service program, click here.

For a booklet with the tributes by the nine speakers, click here.

Tributes in Memoriam


Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of History, Emeritus

11 July 1923 – 17 May 2018

Memorial Church

Harvard University

Friday, 21 September 2018
Three to Five o'clock in the afternoon

Evelyn Higginbotham
History Department

As the chair of the History Department at Harvard, I bring greetings and speak for my colleagues when I express sincere sympathies to Mrs. Pipes and the entire family of Professor Richard Pipes and when I say that we are grateful to be able to celebrate his life with you today. His was a life long-lived and well-remembered.

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German and Austrian Media Outrage Me

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 19, 2018  •  Washington Times


Europe's mainstream media has reached a point of distorted frenzy about what it calls the "far-right" and "neo-Nazis." I know. I have just experienced this first hand. Allow me, please, to tell my tale.

Ezra Levant of Canada is a brilliant conservative and an eloquent critic of the Left. He's indefatigable and successful; Rebel Media, which he founded in February 2015, has over one million YouTube subscribers. Of his many concerns, such as "ethical oil," Levant most worries about the threat of Islamism.

Our common outlook means we often cooperate, and he recently invited me to join a Rebel Media cruise on the Danube River in June 2019, which I accepted. It makes roughly equidistant daily trips, beginning with two towns in Germany (Regensburg, Passau), then four in Austria (Linz, Melk, Dürnstein, Vienna), one in Slovakia (Bratislava), and one in Hungary (Budapest).

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