Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Judith Miller

What Would Jane Say?

Autumn 2015  •  City Journal

A scrawny tree grows on Broome Street in downtown Manhattan, its presence modest and easy to miss. No plaque informs passersby that the tree was planted in honor of Jane Jacobs, the writer and activist whose advocacy and ideas about how cities thrive saved not only this street but all of SoHo, Washington Square, and much of Greenwich Village from destruction. The tree commemorates Jacobs's now-legendary (and victorious) nine-year battle with her nemesis, city planner Robert Moses, the champion of vast urban-renewal efforts that tore up entire neighborhoods in favor of bridges, expressways, and gigantic public-housing projects. Moses's initiatives, which included trying to make New York more automobile-friendly, made him, for Jacobs, "the master obliterator"—a slayer of cities.

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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 Soeren Kern

Germans Opposed to Mass Migration are "Free to Leave"

November 24, 2015  •  Gatestone Institute

Asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are continuing to pour into Germany in record numbers, despite freezing temperatures and snow.

More than 180,000 migrants arrived during the first three weeks of November, on track to surpass the previous monthly record of 181,000 migrants recorded in October.

With 300 newcomers now arriving every hour, Germany is expected to receive more than one million asylum seekers in 2015, and at least as many in 2016. After factoring in family reunifications, the actual number of migrants could exceed 10 million, and some believe that Germany's Muslim population is on track to nearly quadruple to an astonishing 20 million by 2020.

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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 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 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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