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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Bordering on Terrorism
Turkey's Syria Policy and the Rise of the Islamic State

November 24, 2014  •  FDD Research

Executive Summary

Southeastern Turkey has now become a jurisdiction for terrorism finance, weapons smuggling, illegal oil sales, and the flow of fighters to Syria. This pipeline serves the interest of several terrorist organizations, including Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) and the Islamic State (IS).

It is unclear whether Ankara is explicitly assisting these groups, or whether JN and IS are merely exploiting Turkey's lax border policies. Either way, it is clear that Turkey seeks to bring down the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria with the aid of irregular fighters.

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Michael Freund

Who's afraid of a Jewish nation-state?

November 24, 2014  •  Jerusalem Post

After the approval of the "Jewish state bill" by the cabinet on Sunday, Israel's Left now finds itself in quite a tizzy. Furious with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for daring to underscore the Jewishness of the State of Israel, various liberal leaders are foaming at the mouth, their hyperbole matched only by their hubris.

Writing in Haaretz, former education minister Yossi Sarid warned that "we have reached the end of our democratic rope," while Science Minister Yaakov Peri said that the bill reminded him of "countries that took upon themselves Sharia law." Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On went even further, blasting it as "a crime against Israeli democracy" and "one of the blackest stains in Israel's law books."

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Clifford May

Betting on Iran

November 19, 2014  •  The Washington Times

Negotiations with Iran are set to conclude on Monday. What are the odds they will end with Iran's rulers agreeing to verifiably dismantle their illicit nuclear weapons program? I'd wager 100 to one against that outcome — but I doubt I'd find a bookie willing to take my bet.

If a good deal is out of the question, what are the other options? The first is a "final agreement" that gives Tehran a lot in exchange for a little, but which President Obama would present as a triumph of diplomacy.

More likely is a "framework agreement," a statement of principles that will be the subject of yet another round of talks. Such a deal could include another sweetener — e.g., billions of dollars of additional sanctions relief for Iran.

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Tevi Troy

Another ObamaCare Deception

November 17, 2014  •  The Wall Street Journal

Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, is making himself a household name, and not in a good way. A series of videos have emerged in recent days showing Mr. Gruber—an architect of the Affordable Care Act—telling college audiences that major parts of the law were designed purposely to mask its true cost to individual Americans.

As Mr. Gruber put it, speaking last year at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania: "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass."

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Michael Rubin

Could Oman be the Next Crisis?

November 14, 2014  •  Commentary

In 1970, with British help and support, Qaboos bin Sa'id overthrew his father and took the reins of powers in the Sultanate of Oman. Sultan Qaboos was an enlightened monarch, and firmly guided the xenophobic and isolationist state back into the modern world. Oman has since been a model of neutrality and tolerance, often acting as a bridge between regional adversaries (it is no coincidence that Oman served as the initial go-between for U.S.-Iran talks). Nevertheless, when push came to shove, Oman has done what is needed to combat terrorism. U.S. aircraft based in Oman launched some of the initial airstrikes against the Taliban during Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Soeren Kern

Germany: Hooligans Declare War on Islamic Radicals

November 10, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

A group of nearly 5,000 football hooligans from across Germany gathered in the western city of Cologne on October 26 to protest the spread of radical Islam in the country.

The watershed march was organized by a new initiative called "Hooligans against Salafists," better known by its German abbreviation, HoGeSa, short for Hooligans gegen Salafisten.

HoGeSa is a burgeoning alliance between hooligans from rival football clubs who have temporarily set aside their mutual hatred for each other in order to unite against a common enemy: radical Salafists who want to replace Germany's democratic order with Islamic Sharia law.

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

State of war: The Iraqi Sunni actors taking on the Islamic State

November 2, 2014  •  IHS Jane's Terrorism & Insurgency Monitor

The security situation in Iraq rapidly deteriorated following the fall of Mosul in June 2014 during an insurgent offensive spearheaded by what was then the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but has since been renamed the Islamic State. Since then, much discussion has arisen on how the group can either be contained or 'rolled back' by reducing its territorial holdings on a substantial scale and thus significantly weakening its power base within the country. However, for such an objective, a fundamental prerequisite is a local Sunni Muslim force on the ground that can contest the Islamic State's control of Sunni majority areas of Iraq, notably the provinces of Anbar, Ninawa, and Salaheddine, as well as parts of Babil, Diyala, and Kirkuk.

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Judith Miller

Was the 'Klinghoffer' Premiere an 'Operatic Kristallnacht'?

October 23, 2014  •  Tablet Magazine

You don't have to be Jewish or know anything about opera to have an opinion about whether Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb should have had his head examined for staging a new production of The Death of Klinghoffer. Judging by the outpouring of reaction to the opera's performance Monday night, few New Yorkers, Jewish or goyish, seemed indifferent to John Adams's 1991 opera about the 1985 hijacking, by Palestinians, of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, and their murder of a 69-year old, wheel-chair-bound passenger.

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Latest Article from Jeff Stier

Calling for a different approach to tobacco and nicotine regulation

August 24, 2014  •  EuroActiv

Cigarette smoking is the most harmful form of tobacco use. Alternatives to smoking that supply users with, yes, addictive, but not particularly harmful nicotine, are significantly less dangerous.

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Pundicity

Latest Article from M. Zuhdi Jasser

I was bullied for criticizing Hamas

August 23, 2014  •  AZ Central

What happens in Syria, Egypt, Iraq or Gaza has an impact every day right here in the Valley.

Even in America, leading Muslim organizations and clerics bully with threats of ostracism those Muslims who dare to dissent. Old-guard ideologues, too, used to monopoly control, make it crystal clear to their Muslim critics: Take us on and we will make an example of you as a traitor to the Muslim community (the ummah).

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Pundicity

Latest Article from Timothy Spangler

Dictatorial dynasty in the making?

August 22, 2014  •  The Orange County Register

A dynasty is in the works in troubled Zimbabwe, rather than the comprehensive change that is much needed. This week, the wife of long-standing President Robert Mugabe was appointed to a high-profile, senior position in the ruling Zanu (PF) party. Grace Mugabe was appointed secretary of the party's Women's League, which entitles her to a seat on the party's governing politburo. The women's group also endorsed her husband, president since 1987, as their preferred candidate for the 2018 elections.

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Latest Article from Steven Emerson

The President's True Colors Finally Revealed

August 17, 2014  •  Jerusalem Online

When I first glanced at the headline on today's Jerusalem Online and reports in the Jerusalem Post and other Israeli newspapers, I thought they must have been a satire: "Washington officials have told Egypt that the US will guarantee Israel's commitment to any agreement signed." But it was not a satire. This was deadly serious, confirmed by other Israeli newspapers and sources in Cairo.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

Gaza: How we got here and what next?

August 15, 2014  •  YNet News

Despite the conviction in Israel that its military actions against Hamas in Gaza are justified, the notion that this third Gaza war in the past six years has been a consequence of the failure to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority is widely accepted across the globe.

For Palestinians, the argument continues, there is no choice but resistance and confrontation since diplomacy and non-violence have not ended the occupation. For that reason, many Palestinians claim that Hamas is fighting not simply to lift the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip but also to give them their freedom.

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Cutting The Caliphate Down To Size

August 14, 2014  •  National Review Online

Is America headed back to Iraq? On August 7, President Obama took the first step in that direction when he authorized the use of air strikes to prevent the further advance of the militant Islamic group once known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) and now known as the Islamic State. Since then, the U.S. military has commenced a limited bombing campaign against Islamic State detachments in northern Iraq and added 130 military advisers to the 300 already stationed in the country. The decision reflects a stark reality. In recent weeks, the Islamic State has cut a bloody swath across Iraq, capturing and holding territory at an unprecedented rate. As a result, the Washington Post reports, the group "now controls resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations." The current effort, however, appears to be as far as the White House is willing to go — at least for the moment. Having staked its political legitimacy on an exit from Iraq, the Obama administration is leery of doing much more. As a result, a true strategy for rolling back the Islamic State's advance is still sorely lacking.

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