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:
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:
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:
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:
July 5, 2014
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, founded by Hamas supporters and seeking to overthrow Constitutional government in the United States, has engaged in so many morally dubious activities that there's a bibliography of my writings on not trusting CAIR; also, America's self-styled "Largest Civil Rights and Advocacy Organization" has played so many dirty tricks on me that I finally had to document these in both an article and then a follow-up blog.
July 3, 2014
Egyptians took to the streets in numbers never seen anywhere, ever on June 30, 2013 to protest against their Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. Three days later, Defense Minister Abdul Fattah al-Sisi responded to this outpouring by overthrowing Morsi. How do things look now, exactly a year later?
Pretty awful. Looking at the two most urgent arenas, Islam and the economy, almost nothing offers a sign of hope.
July 2, 2014
Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave an important speech worthy of discussion when he addressed the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on June 29. The following excerpts are from the official translation on the prime minister's office website:
July 1, 2014
It's been apparent at least since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that the Mosul Dam, Iraq's largest, could spell devastation for Iraq due to a combination of faulty construction, governmental indifference, and an ongoing civil insurrrection. Were it to collapse, it would lead to the largest human-induced loss of life in history. (For more on this problem, see my coverage here and here.)
The conquests in 2014 by what used to be known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and now just as the Islamic State, have dramatically shown that other dams in Iraq can also pose problems, if not on so catastrophic a scale.
First, when ISIS seized Falluja in January 2014, it also took control of the Falluja Dam (or Barrage), which is on the Euphrates River, and proceeded to manipulate it for its purposes. Hamza Mustafa of Asharq Al-Awsat quoted a pro-government militia leader a few months later, after Baghdad government forces managed to recapture the barrage, explained ISIS' tactics: ISIS
The militia leader also explained the motives behind these maneuvers:
The wall of water from the Fallujah Dam destroyed farmland 160 kilometers to the south and left millions in the majority-Shiite cities of Karbala, Najaf and Babil without water. Jeremy Bender explains:
Second, ISIS approached the Haditha Dam, Iraq's second-largest, in late June, raising here too the possibility of catastrophic flooding. Reports the New York Times:
(1) Mesopotamia, one of the most ancient areas of human civilization, has always been defined by its two great rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris; how ironic that these life-giving sources could potentially also be the vehicle of the country's doom.
(2) To put this threat in context, note the 1938 breaching of Yellow River waterworks by the Chinese Nationalist forces fighting the Japanese invader, called the "the largest act of environmental warfare in history." Here is the abstract of an article on the topic, "Drowned Earth: The Strategic Breaching of the Yellow River Dyke, 1938," Geoscience, November 1, 2009 pp. 287-297, by Diana Lary of the University of British Columbia:
(3) The combatants in Iraq's growing civil war need to be compelled by their patrons (Turkey and Qatar, especially in the case of the Islamic State jihadis, Iran in the case of the Baghdad government) to agree on some basic terms of combat, such as not using waterworks as weapons of war. This is where outside powers (the West, Russia, China) can be of help. (July 1, 2014)
June 28, 2014
June 18, 2014
In an article today, "Turkish Support for ISIS," I made the case that the AKP government of Prime Minister Erdoğan stands behind the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. This blog pursues the topic with new proofs.
To begin with, Michael Rubin has simultaneously with me published an article on this same topic, "Turkey: Al-Qaeda Not Terrorists."
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes