Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Al-Qa'ida Uncoupling: Jabhat al-Nusra's Rebranding as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham

August 22, 2016  •  CTC Sentinel

Abstract: On July 28, 2016, Jabhat al-Nusra, which had previously identified itself as a branch of al-Qa'ida in Syria, announced the changing of its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham ('Conquest of al-Sham Front') in a video recording that for the first time revealed the appearance of its leader, Abu Muhammad al-Julani. The nominal decoupling of the organizations was approved and coordinated with al-Qa'ida's senior leadership and was designed to unify Islamist efforts in Syria and to make it more difficult for the United States and Russia to justify targeting the group. With its popularity on the rise and other rebel groups welcoming the announcement, the move appears to have paid off so far.

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Latest Article from Clifford May

Tracking freedom's enemies

August 17, 2016  •  The Washington Times

If I were to ask an intelligent person like you what happened in the 20th century, or the 19th or the 18th, you could probably sum up the most significant developments. But if I asked you what is happening in the 21st century, how would you reply?

Is the West in decline? Or is it just going through a rough patch? Is the rise of Islamic totalitarianism inexorable? Or will it hit a wall as did the atheistic totalitarianisms that preceded it? Is freedom in retreat or just pausing before its next advance? You see what I mean? It's not easy to describe the sea in which we swim.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: July 2016
"Islamist terrorism has arrived in Germany."

August 17, 2016  •  Gatestone Institute

July 1. A court in Bavaria ruled that a law that prohibits Muslim legal trainees from wearing headscarves is illegal. The district court in Augsburg ruled in favor of Aqilah Sandhu, a 25-year-old law student who filed a lawsuit against the state for barring her from wearing the headscarf at public appearances in court while performing legal training. The ruling said there was no legal basis for the restriction and "no formal law that obligates legal interns to a neutral worldview or a religious neutrality." Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback, arguing that legal officials as well as trainees in the court needed to present the appearance of impartiality, said he would appeal the ruling.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Tisha Be'av, a day of delight?

August 9, 2016  •  Jerusalem Post

This coming Saturday night, Jews around the world will gather together to commemorate Tisha Be'av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, when we recall many of the frightful tragedies that have befallen our people down through history.

Since the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av falls out this year on Shabbat, the observance of the fast day is deferred until the evening.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

How US states can promote Israeli-Palestinian peace

August 8, 2016  •  The Hill

The growing number of laws and resolutions approved by US states, designed to block anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions efforts have sent shock waves through many organizations concerned with the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Take the case of the Oakland-based Jewish Voice for Peace, whose executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, is an advocate of the BDS campaign. While the desire to persuade the Israeli government to change its policies is legitimate, she and the BDS movement make the demise of the two-state solution ever more likely.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

Of Modesty and Melania

August 5, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard

There's nothing to be embarrassed about," Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller told CNN when asked about his boss's reaction to the New York Post's publication of nude photos of his wife, Melania. "She's a beautiful woman."

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Latest Article from M. Zuhdi Jasser

After Qandeel Baloch's murder, is the world finally waking up to 'honor killings'?

August 5, 2016  •  Asia Times

The case of Qandeel Baloch, the "Kim Kardashian" of Pakistan, has rightly captured international headlines. A social media phenomenon, Baloch was known for posts that were provocative in the context of her home culture, even if they would be considered rather benign to many in the West, and certainly in the United States.

Honor-based violence – a type of violence in which families, sometimes with the help of the broader community, punish a victim (usually female) for a perceived social or sexual indiscretion, has long been a plague. This is certainly true in Pakistan – most especially in more insular communities where a more regressive interpretation of Islam is enforced.

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Bogus foreign-policy debates: How we're helping our enemies fool us

August 4, 2016  •  New York Post

World news has become complicated lately.

Or has it? Consider these headlines:

Abu Mohammed al-Julani, the leader of the Syrian al Qaeda affiliate group known as Jabhat al-Nusra, announced last week that his organization will henceforth be known as Jabhat Fath Al-Sham, and it will splinter from the al Qaeda constellation of terrorist organizations.

Don't be fooled. This isn't an acrimonious divorce; it's a gentlemen's agreement about how to put the best possible face on jihadist violence in Syria's chaotic civil war.

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Latest Article from Michael Rubin

U.S. should know by now that ransoming hostages with Iran only leads to terror

August 3, 2016  •  New York Daily News

On January 16, 2016, as the United States, Iran, and other world powers began to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the diplomatic deal to constrain Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, four long-imprisoned Iranian-American hostages boarded a flight in Tehran to begin their long trek home.

Secretary of State John Kerry credited the importance of "the relationships forged and the diplomatic channels unlocked over the course of the nuclear talks." He vehemently denied any talk of ransom.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

A New Law That Actually Plans to Waste 50 Percent of Overall Spending

August 2, 2016  •  Observer

A critically important—but little known—law will shape the presidency of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, even before they enter the Oval Office.

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Latest Article from Soner Cagaptay

Inside Turkey's Failed Coup: What Happened? Why? What Next?

July 22, 2016  •  The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

For most people who were born in Turkey or study the country, the most difficult image to see during last week's events was Ankara -- a city that had not been attacked or occupied since the fifteenth century -- being bombed by Turks. Ultimately, the July 15 plot proved to be a counterfeit coup. Although it was meant to look like a full-fledged coup carried out by the military's top brass, it was in fact a factional uprising within the military. Only about 20 percent of the country's generals were involved; they hoped to harness enough critical mass among top officers to subsequently mount a full coup, but they lacked widespread support. Their only significant backing came from the air force and gendarmerie -- there was no real support in the army, which comprises 65 percent of the armed forces. In fact, their nefarious plot began to unravel when the commander of the 1st Army went on television and declared, "This is not a coup."

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Turkey's Coup Attempt Has Played Straight Into Erdogan's Hands

July 20, 2016  •  National Review Online

Back in 2008, at the height of the global economic meltdown, Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Obama's designee for chief of staff, summed up his guiding political philosophy. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," he told the Wall Street Journal. "Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with." It looks like Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was listening. In the aftermath of last week's botched military coup, Erdogan has launched a far-reaching purge of political enemies, both real and imagined.

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