The situation in Syria is deteriorating quickly, and the state is literally disintegrating. The cracks in the government are widening; ambassadors, generals and soldiers are deserting, some branches of the Ba'ath party are announcing their secession from the regime, the Russian advisers are fleeing for their lives and the feeling that the end is near is taking hold more and more. Not the end of Asad, but of Syria. Not the regime, but the system.
Speaking to an often-cheering group of about 400 people in Jerusalem, Governor Mitt Romney gave a speech less notable for what he said than for the fact that the audience believed he was sincere in saying it.
Republicans are trying to woo away Jews who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, hoping they have experienced "buyer's remorse." I, for one, have experienced no such remorse. I have gotten from President Obama pretty much what I expected when I voted for him.
Watching the ceremony last night, I had a profound sense of sadness for the hollow revelry. There was no dignified memorializing of the greatness, uniqueness, and courage of Britain’s past. There was “irreverent, idiosyncratic” entertainment, and a very long segment of writhing self-abasement before the shibboleth of socialized medicine.
Palestinians who fled the fighting in Syria this week said that the some suburbs of Damascus were full of Al-Qaeda militiamen from a number of Arab countries. Others said that many fighters belonged to radical Salafi groups.
When Andrew McCarthy drew a parallel between the treatment of State Department official (and Soviet spy) Alger Hiss in the 1940s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin Weiner today it reminded me of an interesting discovery from my own research, as documented in my history of the State Department, Secrets of State.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was presented with the report of the Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy (the “Levy report”). The report has drawn a flurry of overwrought criticism due to its inclusion of a section concerning the lawfulness of Israeli settlement activity.
By meeting separately with Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Abbas, Mursi has created the impression that the Palestinians have two legitimate leaders. Even more, Mursi has put Mashaal on an equal footing with heads of state, thus granting legitimacy not only to the Hamas leader, but to his entire movement.
There is no political ideology, government program, or redistribution of wealth that is going to cure humanity’s ills. In today’s secular, even anti-religious, Western society, religious people are seen as aggressive, intolerant, and foolish. But there are two things a decent religious person possesses that others don’t: A belief that there is a divine judge, which may make them curb their behavior; and a desire for self-improvement, to reduce their sins and strive for something higher.
A mass exodus of Christians, including a group evacuated from the besieged city of Homs, have been fleeing Syrian cities for safety. Caught in the middle of a showdown between opposition forces and the Syrian army, many Christians fear the prospect of an Islamist-led government if President Bashar al-Assad is deposed.
An opinion poll indicates that, despite the political initiative to have the Cologne verdict overruled by a law later this year, a majority of Germans favor a ban of male circumcision. In a Europe that is becoming ever more secular, there is a real danger that religious practices will gradually be pushed aside in order to assure that the impression is not given that little children and -in ritual slaughter- animals are made to suffer.
The 4th Geneva Convention does forbid government deportation or "individual or mass forcible transfers" of population into territory it occupies. But neither the Geneva Convention nor any other law prevents the establishment of voluntary settlements on an individual basis if the underlying purpose is security, public order or safety, and as long as the settlements do not involve taking private property. It is absurd to suggest that Israel "deported" its own citizens to the territories.
All of the universities in Israel are political, and moreover, all of the colleges, yeshivas, hospitals, prisons, factories, homes, roads, trees - everything that we have established, built, and planted in Israel - everything, but everything, is political. The whole Zionist enterprise is a political project because it is the political and nationalistic manifestation of the desire of the Jewish people to return to its land and to renew within it its national life, its independence and its sovereignty.
The Socialist government in France has inaugurated a new mega-mosque in Paris as a first step towards "progressively building a French Islam." It is not only vast in its dimensions, but is also highly visible and symbolic: its towering minaret, which has purposely been designed to change the suburb's skyline by being taller than any church steeple in the neighborhood, is supposed to become the "new symbol of Islam in France."
The next era in the Middle East will be dominated by the debate over whether Islamism is the way to go. Islamists will radicalize the regional scene, carry out terrorism at home and abroad, and inflict repression on their own people wherever they get power.
According to the Greek Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip, at least five Christians have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam in recent weeks. In a rare public protest, leaders and members of the 2,000-strong Christian community in the Gaza Strip staged a sit-in strike in the Gaza Strip this week to condemn the abductions and forced conversions in particular, and persecution at the hands of radical Muslims in general.
Few understand better than the Germans how economic self-destruction can bring a nation and the world to the edge of abyss. The crushing debt imposed on them at the end of World War I led to unprecedented hyperinflation as they monetized their obligations, running their printing presses to create millions of worthless marks.
A few days ago, en route to the south of Italy, there was a heated exchange between an Italian chief steward and two Egyptian sheikhs wearing the robes of the Egyptian religious university, Al-Azhar. The dispute erupted over where the sheikhs were to sit on the plane: the steward insisted they sit in their assigned seats in economy class, while they insisted on moving to business class. They relayed their extreme displeasure at what they called European arrogance & inflexibility.
The interesting news was not that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pelted with stuff while visiting Cairo, the important issue was who was doing the pelting. Once upon a time, anti-American radicals threw things at U.S. leaders. But now….the hurlers of objects were people from the Free Egyptians Party and other Egyptian liberals. At the same time, leading Christians refused to meet with Hillary.
How should an American president use the military in an intimidating, persuasive manner, to induce Iran to give up her nuclear-weapons purpose? Very little has been discussed on this topic in the forums of punditry; virtually all treatments focus on the feasibility or proper method of a military attack campaign. Is there an “intimidation option,” short of a shooting war? And if so, what would it look like?
The tide seems to be turning in Syria. While the civil war is far from over, the regime is clearly weakening; the rebels are expanding their operations and effectiveness. There have also been more high-level defections. What does this mean and why is this happening? There are three main factors that are making a rebel victory seem more likely.
On 5 July, the very day that the Nouvel Observateur was published, a 17-year old Jew was beaten up in a train near Toulouse because he was wearing a necklace with a Star of David. The aggressors were two 18-year old Frenchmen of North African origin who had just applied to join the French army.
In Norway, for example, an ethnic Norwegian convert to militant Islam who has received terrorist training from al-Qaeda's offshoot in Yemen, is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies said on June 25. Although the terrorist-in-waiting is believed to still be in Yemen, even if he is found he cannot be extradited: under Norwegian law it is not a crime to attend a terrorist training camp.
Americans, however, have been reluctant to accept the notion that honor violence occurs on US soil, just as – until recently – they insisted that the radicalization of Muslims in Europe was not a problem that could confront Americans. But with events such as Nidal Malik Hassan's 2009 attack at Fort Hood we've learned otherwise: radical Islam is alive and well in these United States and with it, religious and culturally-based violence against women.
There are those who claim that the Islamization of Egyptian society reflects "the will of the people." But history teaches us that the will of the people is not always beneficial. Eight decades ago, the will of the German people brought Adolf Hitler to power, plunging mankind into genocidal wars and massacres that claimed more than fifty million lives. This example allows us to criticize the current cultural wave sweeping over Egypt.