Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Making Sense Of Russian Strategy In Syria

September 22, 2017  •  Al-Hurra Digital

What shapes Russia's calculus in the Syrian theater? Since its formal decision to intervene in the Syrian civil war in September 2015, the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has become a guarantor of the stability of the Assad regime, as well as a key power broker in any conceivable solution to the ongoing crisis. Yet, two years on, Moscow's motivations for its continued presence in Syria are still not well understood by most observers, either in the Middle East or in the West.

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Latest Article from Matthew RJ Brodsky

Egyptian Middle East Peace Efforts, Hezbollah's Drones, and the Syrian Challenge to Israel

September 19, 2017  •  Perspectives with Denise Wood / i24News

Matthew RJ Brodsky joins Denise Wood on i24News "Perspectives" to discuss Egyptian President al-Sisi's meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and Egyptian attempts to facilitate Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. Egyptian-Israeli cooperation and relations are at a historic high level and the two leaders see eye to eye on many important issues, not the least of which is combating radical Islamist terrorism. One can't blame al-Sisi for staking out a role as peacemaker but it likely won't compel Israelis or Palestinians to take dramatic steps in that direction. Attempts at Fatah-Hamas reconciliation are also unlikely to bear fruit as the latest Hamas initiative was designed to undercut PA leader Abbas while he's in New York at the UN. One also shouldn't forget that the last flirtation with reconciliation provided the final torpedo that sunk the previous push for peace in 2014. Brodsky also discusses the latest Hezbollah drone that Israel shot down, which reflects the basic tit for tat and back and forth that exists between the two. The strategic decision of war and peace, however, rests in Tehran and Jerusalem--it's not Hezbollah's choice to make. An area of concern going forward is Syria, where Israel has had a relative free hand in striking Iranian weapons shipments since the civil war erupted in 2011. Should Assad regain control of all of Syria, will it curtail Israel's ability to strike there? Would the international community view such a strike as an attack against a sovereign nation -- even though Assad and Hezbollah are merely Iranian puppets?

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

State Department Waging "Open War" on White House

September 17, 2017  •  Gatestone Institute

The U.S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U.S. Congress.

The repayment demand, championed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.

The dispute is the just the latest example of what appears to be a growing power struggle between the State Department and the White House over the future direction of American foreign policy.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

Ukraine's Poroshenko asks US, others to send weapons, put pressure on Russia. Could it happen?

September 15, 2017  •  Fox News

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko called upon the United States and other nations to increase pressure on Russia to withdraw from Crimea and other territory it seized in its 2014 invasion by continuing the economic sanctions against Moscow and sending an international peacekeeping force to stop Russian soldiers and weapons from entering the country.

Speaking at the opening of the 14th annual Yalta European Strategy conference in Kiev, Ukraine's president delivered a hard-hitting speech criticizing Russian president Vladimir Putin and calling upon the U.S. and other Ukrainian allies to supply more advanced weapons to counter Russia's aggression. "History teaches us that Russia cannot be trusted," he said.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Palestinian human rights and wrongs

September 14, 2017  •  Jerusalem Post

After more than two decades, one of the most underreported stories in Israel is at last beginning to garner the attention that it most assuredly deserves.

Thanks to a groundbreaking decision by the Jerusalem District Court in July, the sordid saga of the Palestinian Authority's treatment of alleged "collaborators" with the Jewish state is finally coming to light, and the picture is anything but pretty.

In a detailed ruling that is nearly 2,000- pages long, Judge Moshe Drori unambiguously concluded that more than 50 Palestinian plaintiffs could sue the Palestinian Authority in Israeli courts for their detention and mistreatment at the hands of the Palestinian security forces.

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Latest Article from Clifford May

Fixing the United Nations

September 13, 2017

The United Nations was created in the wake of World War II by the major Allied nations that had prevailed — at an enormous cost in blood and treasure — over the Axis powers. Its founders proclaimed ambitious goals: to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights" and "promote social progress." That the U.N. hasn't come close to succeeding should, by now, be obvious.

But it's worse than that. The U.N. has become increasingly corrupt, its moral compass long ago broken. It's poorly managed. Gross misconduct is rampant.

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

How Do Palestinians Define "Terrorism"?

September 12, 2017  •  Wall Street Journal

The Taylor Force Act is gathering momentum in Congress. Named for a West Point graduate who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian during a 2016 trip to Israel, the bill would cut American aid to the Palestinian Authority until it takes "credible steps to end acts of violence" and stops paying stipends to convicted terrorists. The legislation recently passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with rare bipartisan support, and last week Sen. Lindsey Graham attached it to the 2018 Foreign Operations budget, all but guaranteeing it will go into effect next year.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

Follow the Money: The Israel-Boycott Movement and Its Accomplices

August 30, 2017  •  The National Interest

U.S. banking giant Comerica's closure of an account earlier this year held by an organization that wages legal and economic warfare against America and Israel may be the harbinger of a successful strategy against BDS.

BDS—or the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement—is a global effort that seeks to isolate the Jewish state from the international community in order to secure a Palestinian state by endangering Israel's existence. BDS seeks a one-state solution rather than an Israeli and Palestinian state living side by side in peace. Our research shows many BDS organizations are entwined with states and other entities that advance hate groups and terrorism at large.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

Trump's Reassuring Hurricane Response

August 30, 2017  •  The Wall Street Journal

President Trump visited Texas Tuesday to assess the damage from Hurricane Harvey and show concern for its victims. So far, his administration is largely getting praise for effective handling of the crisis. Washington's disaster authorities appear to be in sync with the state on roles and responsibilities; the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its leader, Brock Long, deployed resources as Harvey approached; and the government response as a whole appears well coordinated.

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Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Israel's Relations with the Syrian Rebels: An Assessment

July 3, 2017  •  Middle East Review of International Affairs

In light of media coverage regarding Israeli backing for certain Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime along the border with Israel in Quneitra governorate, this article provides a wider overview of the situation along Israel's borders with Syria. It also establishes a better context through provision of extra detail not otherwise present in recent media coverage. The article concludes with an assessment of Israeli policies and aims on the border, given the various concerns regarding the situation in Syria.


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Latest Article from Jeff Stier

Is $13.7 Billion a Good Price for Whole Foods?
The brilliant online behemoth absorbs a sometimes careless and deceptive grocery chain.

June 30, 2017  •  National Review

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross called Amazon's recent $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods a "clever move" because it marries Amazon's marketing and distribution expertise with a "high-quality, niche retailer." One suspects that perhaps Secretary Ross, a 79-year-old billionaire investor and art collector, doesn't do a lot of grocery shopping.

More to the point, as to the "high quality" of Whole Foods' operation and reputation, he might wish to check with his government colleagues at the FDA and Department of Justice, because Whole Foods' violations of state and federal law have been escalating: They've gone from defrauding their customers in various ways to adopting food-preparation practices that actually endanger them.

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