Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Michael Freund

How the Bible pushed a man to flee North Korea

October 13, 2018  •  Jerusalem Post

As he strides into the room and sits down in a plush chair across a small table from me, it quickly becomes apparent that my interlocutor, a prominent defector from North Korea, spent a great deal of time in the military. Despite his ready smile and slightly mischievous sense of humor, Mr. Shim, as he asks to be called, has ramrod straight posture and fluid motions that readily reveal his army background.

After briefly glancing at me, with my kippah perched on my head, he grins and turns to the translator and says, with an unconcealed smile, "This is a first for me. I have never sat down and spoken with a Jew before."

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

Spain: Islamic State Recruiting in Prisons

October 12, 2018  •  Gatestone Institute

Spanish police have dismantled a jihadi network operating inside and across more than a dozen Spanish prisons. The network, allegedly linked to the Islamic State, was established and operated by one of the most implacable jihadis in the Spanish prison system — apparently under the noses of prison authorities.

The network's existence has called into question not only the effectiveness of security procedures in Spanish prisons, but also of Spanish "deradicalization" programs, which are aimed at "rehabilitating" Islamic militants for eventual "reinsertion" into society.

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Latest Article from Matthew RJ Brodsky

No Reconstruction Assistance in Syria Until Iran Withdraws and Jamal Khashoggi's Disappearance

October 11, 2018  •  Secure Freedom Radio / The Frank Gaffney Show

Matthew RJ Brodsky joins Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio to discuss America's strategic shift in Syria and reflect on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speech at JINSA. They also discuss the latest developments in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

As the US cuts funding, UNRWA employees forced to flee Gaza

October 11, 2018  •  Washington Examiner

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine evacuated at least 10 international senior officials from the Gaza Strip last Monday. The reason? These top staffers had received death threats following the announcement of budget cuts and planned layoffs by the agency.

This is all because U.S. had decided not to renew its funding — emboldened, perhaps, by the Taylor Force Act's prohibition on funding organizations that abet terrorism.

UNRWA confirmed later that it had "decided to temporarily withdraw part of its international staff from Gaza following a series of worrying security incidents affecting its personnel in the Strip."

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

No Safe Haven
The Saudi regime appears to have butchered a prominent dissident.

October 9, 2018  •  City Journal

Late last week, the Washington Post ran blank space where a column by dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for its Global Opinions section, should have appeared. The wordless column was a powerful expression of concern about Khashoggi's fate. A leading critic of the Saudi kingdom's leadership, Khashoggi had not been seen since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last Tuesday to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage. According to his fiancée, who accompanied him and waited outside, he entered the building at 1:30 pm and failed to emerge when the office closed at 5 pm. By the time the Post published the blank column, there was still hope that he was being held inside the consulate and would be released.

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Latest Article from Clifford May

Trump's new counterterrorism strategy

October 9, 2018  •  The Washington Times

"We remain a nation at war." President Trump's new National Strategy for Counterterrorism (NSC) begins with that simple statement of fact. The 21st century is an age of conflict. That's unlikely to change any time soon.

We don't like that. It's more comforting to believe, as President Obama apparently did, that "the tide of war is receding," that eliminating Osama bin Laden was tantamount to defeating al Qaeda; that such terrorist groups as the Islamic State are merely "JV" teams; and that we have experts trained to "counter violent extremism."

"This war, like all wars, must end," President Obama instructed us in 2013. "That's what history advises. That's what our democracy demands."

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

How The Middle East Can Help China's Muslims

October 9, 2018  •  Al-Hurra Digital

The proof is increasingly irrefutable: China's Uighurs are under assault. For nearly two years, details of an extensive campaign of official repression against the Muslim minority of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region have trickled out past the PRC's strict web of official censorship. The stories have detailed pervasive monitoring, curbs on Islamic traditions, and the mass detention of as many as one million citizens in the equivalent of "reeducation" camps. Now, a new investigative report by Estonian news portal Meduza had provided what is perhaps the most extensive – and damning – documentation to date regarding this campaign, and the extent to which the Chinese state is repressing and erasing the Muslim traditions and culture of its westernmost province. These revelations have left observers with two questions: What lies behind China's intensifying Xinjiang campaign? And what can and should be done about it?

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Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

The Middle East Studies Association and Islamic State Documents- Complaining About What?

October 8, 2018  •  History News Network

[Originally published under the headline "Why is the Middle East Studies Association Trying to Stop the Online Publication of Islamic State Documents?"]

Why would the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the primary umbrella organization for the field of Middle East studies, oppose the New York Times partnering with George Washington University (GWU)'s Program On Extremism to produce a public archive of the thousands of Islamic State (ISIS) documents the newspaper retrieved from northern Iraq?

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Latest Article from Henry I. Miller

Eco-Bullying Crosses the Pond
Activists' abuse of Freedom of Information laws is spreading to Europe

October 8, 2018  •  Daily Caller

Some bad ideas have originated in America. Reality television, spray-on cheese, pineapple pizza, and deep-fried Hostess Twinkies come to mind. But the most obnoxious of all may be eco-activist campaigners armed with Freedom of Information Act requests, or FOIAs, who pervert the intention of the law in order to undermine sound science, academic scholarship and the free exchange of ideas.

They're about to make a menace of themselves in Europe

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Unlikely Allies, Israel and Egypt Face Joint Challenge in Gaza

September 7, 2018  •  Real Clear Defense

The winds of war are blowing in Gaza. The last several months have been replete with rocket barrages, drones, incendiary balloons and kites (flaming or containing explosives) flying into Israeli airspace, and border breaches. Israel is working on solutions, but it is also looking to find help from an unlikely ally: Egypt.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met secretly earlier this month with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. A few days later, Egypt's intelligence chief, Abbas Kamal visited Israel as a guest of the Israeli National Security Advisor and probably also met Netanyahu. The conversations continue to focus on ways to tackle the crisis in Gaza – a territory that borders both countries.

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