Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Clifford May

Memo to presidential campaign advisers

November 25, 2015  •  The Washington Times

This memorandum is addressed to the brave souls advising presidential candidates. As you know, the recent terrorist attacks in France — and in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel — have altered the political landscape. With less than a year to go before the 2016 election, the landscape may stay altered even if there are no more attacks — and that seems unlikely.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Stop the Palestinian Tidal Wave of Violence

November 24, 2015  •  Hamodia

The past few weeks in Israel have been among the most vexing and upsetting in recent memory. It seems that hardly a day goes by without a multiplicity of attacks, as the Palestinians continue to wage a campaign of terror and violence fueled by primal hatred.

As I write these words, a Jewish family in Tzfat is mourning their 21-year-old daughter, Hadar Buchris, who was brutally stabbed to death Sunday by a Palestinian in Gush Etzion. Buchris had recently returned from a trip abroad, and was on her way to study Torah at a religious women's seminary in Bat Ayin when her life was abruptly cut short.

Sadly, her family is not the only one in recent weeks to see their world come crashing down on them.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

America the Vulnerable
Can it happen here? Yes.

November 23, 2015  •  City Journal

The toll of Islamist carnage keeps growing: 130 killed and 352 injured in Paris; 229 mostly Russian airline passengers killed in the skies over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula; 19 dead in Bamako, Mali, at the Radisson Blu, a hotel favored by Westerners. Germany has confirmed that plots to kill hundreds more were disrupted in the nick of time. France has extended its state of emergency for three months. Over the weekend, Brussels was virtually locked down as police hunted for suspects linked to the Paris attacks, who may be preparing another operation in Belgium, home of the European Union. Such assaults throughout the Middle East, Africa, and now Europe prompt an all-too-familiar question: Can militant Islamist terrorists strike the United States again?

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

History Is Clear: It's Discipline That Wins Presidential Races

November 20, 2015  •  Observer

As Thanksgiving approaches, it remains unclear who will emerge as the GOP presidential nominee. The standard methods of prognosticating have come up short in this year's muddled primary field. But there may be another way to sort through the candidates and predict the eventual winner. In politics, the most disciplined candidate typically wins. As Ronald Reagan's one-time campaign manager John Sears put it, "Discipline is nine-tenths of politics."

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Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

The Paris Attacks Reflect Intelligence Failure -- Not a Change in ISIS Strategy

November 20, 2015  •  Huffington Post

The recent attacks in Paris carried out by the Islamic State have led to widespread speculation about a possible shift in strategy on the part of ISIS. Taken in conjunction with the downing of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai and the bombings in the predominantly Shia Dahiyeh suburbs of Beirut, it is argued that ISIS is lashing out at the "far enemy" as it comes under pressure on the home fronts in Iraq and Syria, such as its recent loss of control of Sinjar, a town that formed part of a key route connecting the de facto ISIS capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

review of The Tail Wags the Dog

November 19, 2015  •  Jerusalem Post

Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King's College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth.

"Britain's 'original sin,' if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but in its attempted over-unification." Overall, the blunders of the great powers were in trying to impose their own wishful thinking instead of obtaining a real understanding of the Middle East.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

France's Politically Correct War on Islamic Terror

November 16, 2015  •  Gatestone Institute

French President François Hollande has vowed to avenge the November 13 jihadist attacks in Paris that left more than 120 dead and 350 injured.

Speaking from the Élysée Palace, Hollande blamed the Islamic State for the attacks, which he called an "act of war." He said the response from France would be "unforgiving" and "merciless."

Despite the tough rhetoric, however, the question remains: Does Hollande understand the true nature of the war he faces?

Hollande pointedly referred to the Islamic State as "Daesh," the acronym of the group's full Arabic name, which in English translates as "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," or "ISIL."

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Terror on the Cheap: Paris Attacks Required Little Funding

November 15, 2015  •  FDD Policy Brief

The U.S. government imposed sanctions on two French citizens in September for their ties to the Islamic State. One of them, Emilie Konig, who traveled to Syria in 2012 to fight for IS, "directed individuals in France to attack French government institutions." It is unknown whether Friday's Paris attacks are connected to this in any way. But even if there is a connection, traditional terror finance tools, such as designations, do little to counter this kind of attack.

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Latest Article from Michael Rubin

Do Kurds Have Legal Recourse Against Barzanis?

November 12, 2015  •  The Pasewan

Kurdistan is in a crisis, largely of its own making. Salaries of its civil service are in deep arrears. Declining oil prices and the fight against the Islamic State are excuses but not the reason: After all, the Iraqi government faces the same challenges but still pays its salaries. Baghdad has delivered its 17 percent revenue obligation enshrined in the constitution, and is in no position to hide its money; after all, Iraq's finance minister is Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani's uncle, and Oil Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has a long and close relationship with the Kurds.

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Latest Article from Jeff Stier

Common Sense Needed for Consumer Product Regulation

November 5, 2015  •  Inside Sources

It's the fourth quarter with under two minutes remaining in the activist-driven campaign against a widely-used plasticizer, diisononyl phthalates (DINP). Yet despite the chemical's overwhelming and well-established safety record, the outcome of a final regulatory determination by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) remains in doubt.

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Needed: A Strategy For Containing Iran

October 27, 2015  •  National Review Online

There is good reason to believe that it will do so in the near term, because the scope of the sanctions relief contained within the JCPOA is enormous - equivalent to a quarter of Iran's total economy. As such, complying with the terms of the deal makes good economic sense for Iran's ayatollahs, at least for the moment. That, however, does not signal an end to America's Iran problem. To the contrary, the entry into force of the JCPOA ushers in a new - and even more challenging - phase of American policy in the Middle East. Already, the nuclear agreement has begun to empower a range of destructive Iranian behavior. In recent weeks, the Islamic Republic has initiated major new procurement talks with arms suppliers such as Russia and China, conducted a high-profile ballistic-missile test in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and significantly expanded its military footprint in Syria. This adventurism, moreover, is poised to become more pronounced in the weeks and months ahead, as the economic benefits of the nuclear deal begin to kick in in earnest. Given the foregoing, U.S. policymakers need to begin thinking about the vulnerabilities that are likely to result from the agreement with Iran, as well as steps they can take in order to mitigate them.

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