Latest Article from Soeren Kern
November 26, 2014 • Gatestone Institute
A Spanish court is deliberating the fate of Imran Firasat, an ex-Muslim from Pakistan who faces imminent deportation because the Spanish government has deemed his criticism of Islam to be a threat to national security.
Firasat's lawyers, however, argue that sending him back to Pakistan or any other Muslim country would be the equivalent of a death sentence because Islamic Sharia law prescribes the penalty of death for Muslims who commit apostasy.
Firasat, now 36, obtained political asylum in Spain in 2006 because of death threats against him in both Pakistan and Indonesia for leaving the Islamic faith and marrying a non-Muslim.
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Latest Article from Michael Rubin
November 24, 2014 • CNN
A quip often attributed to Albert Einstein defines insanity as conducting the same actions repeatedly but expecting different results each time. By that characterization, insanity has been running rampant in Vienna, where diplomats from Iran and the P5+1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, have extended the deadline for talks aimed at resolving concerns over Iran's nuclear program.
The problem is not the attempt to resolve the crisis through diplomacy, but rather that the current diplomacy neither takes into account past Iranian behavior nor the lessons from similar diplomacy two decades ago to resolve North Korea's clandestine nuclear work.
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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
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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Latest Article from Michael Freund
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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Latest Article from Clifford May
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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Latest Article from Tevi Troy
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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Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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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Latest Article from Judith Miller
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
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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Latest Article from M. Zuhdi Jasser
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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Latest Article from Timothy Spangler
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
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
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
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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