Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Michael Rubin

Why the Western Sahara Matters

Spring/Summer 2015  •  Journal of International Security Affairs

With the Middle East in chaos, it is understandable that few in Washington have time for the Western Sahara. After all, Syria has become the world's largest generator of refugees. Iraq continues to teeter on the brink of chaos, and both Yemen and Libya are mired in civil war. Iran is resurgent. Afghanistan's stability likely will not last long beyond the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Islamic State has re-introduced a twisted, reactionary version of the Caliphate, replete with plunder, rape, and slavery, and Boko Haram, which has now taken over vast swathes of northern Nigeria and moved into Cameroon as well, isn't far behind in its brutality. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, meanwhile, operates across the Sahel from Algeria to Sudan.

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Latest Article from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Islamic State Training Camp Textbook: "Course in Monotheism"- Complete Text, Translation and Analysis

July 26, 2015

Preface and Commentary

As mentioned in previous excerpt posts (here and here), the textbook "Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid" (Course in Tawheed/Monotheism) is the book that must be learned and understood by training camp recruits if they are to pass the recruitment and training processes. Written by the Bahraini cleric Turki Binali (who most recently appeared in official Islamic State propaganda giving a sermon in Raqqa province), it is issued by the Diwan al-Eftaa' wa al-Buhuth Committee that also deals with Islamic State fatwas and other theological treatises, most infamously one dealing with justifications for having female sex slaves.

The contents of this textbook can be divided and summarised as follows:

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Slam Dunk II: The Persian Version

July 23, 2015  •  The Daily Beast

"With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran's pathways to...a nuclear weapons program," said President Barack Obama. It "shuts down every path that Iran has to a nuclear weapon," echoed the president's press secretary, Josh Earnest. "This deal breaks each and every pathway to a weaponized nuclear device, including any potential covert effort," chimed in Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

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Latest Article from Clifford May

Scuttle Obama's Iran deal, or surrender

July 22, 2015  •  The Washington Times

The fundamental flaws in President Obama's deal with Iran have become well known. Among them: Iran's rulers will have the power to delay or even prevent inspections of suspected nuclear weapons facilities; Iran's rulers will receive tens of billions of dollars that they can spend as they please, including on terrorist groups; Iran's rulers will have several paths to nuclear weapons — they have promised only not to rush. In the past, such promises have hardly been ironclad.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

Islamic State Is Not Islamic, Sex Grooming Gangs, Sharia Sportswear
One Month of Islam in Britain, June 2015

July 21, 2015  •  Gatestone Institute

What follows is a summary of Islam and Islam-related issues in Britain during June 2015, categorized into four broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism; 2) British multiculturalism; 3) Islamic Sharia law; and 4) Muslim integration.

1. Islamic Extremism and Syria-Related Threats

A new report on surveillance warned that Britain is facing an "unprecedented" threat from hundreds of battle-hardened jihadists who have been trained in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The report said there are now more Britons trained in terrorism than at any point in recent memory.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Recovering endangered memories from the Holocaust

July 21, 2015  •  Jerusalem Post

It is "the Three Weeks," the somber period on the Jewish calendar between the fast days of the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha Be'av, so I guess it is only fitting that I just learned the tragic fate of a previously unknown relative of mine, who perished in the Holocaust.

Prior to the Second World War, the small village of Kanczuga, located about halfway between the southeastern Polish cities of Rzeszow and Przemysl, was a speck on the map, home to just 3,000 people, of whom some 40 percent were Jews. Among them were members of the Freund family, those who for one reason or another hadn't left when my own great-grandfather had made his way to America's shores decades previously.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

@POTUS: Twitter Is a Future Biographers' Best Friend

July 20, 2015  •  New York Observer

President Obama recently joined Twitter, and his feed is already providing some insights into the president that might have been unavailable to the public in his first six years in office. His first tweet read: "Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account." Not that interesting to be sure (like so much of Twitter), but subsequent tweets have weighed in on subjects as diverse as gay marriage and peas in guacamole. (FYI, he's for the former, opposed to the latter.)

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

Chattanooga's Lone Wolf

July 17, 2015  •  City Journal

Nothing in a profile of 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez would have suggested that he was about to open fire on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and kill four U.S. Marines and three other people on Thursday. By close of business Friday, federal and local law enforcement officials were still scrambling to learn more about the Kuwaiti-born American citizen of Palestinian-Jordanian descent and why he would stage such a shooting spree.

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Latest Article from Jeff Stier

Whole Foods Caught With Their Thumb On The Scale And Their Hand In Your Pocket

July 15, 2015  •  Forbes

Will the nation's largest municipal consumer protection agency crack down on misleading marketing claims about organic food by one of the most sanctimonious, greener-than-thou grocery chains?

We don't think it will, but there's a strong case—based on the law and the facts—that it should.

First some background. Nearly a week after New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) investigators found that Whole Foods Market ripped off unwitting customers by "routinely" overstating the weight of pre-packaged foods–including meats, seafood, dairy and baked goods–the store widely known as "Whole Paycheck Market" 'fessed up.

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Rebuilding The U.S.–Israel Alliance

July 14, 2015  •  National Review Online

Even before it was formally published late last month, Michael Oren's memoir of his time as Israel's envoy to the United States had ignited a firestorm of controversy, and for very good reason. His book, Ally: My Journey across the American–Israeli Divide, provides the most damning account to date of a "special relationship" that, on President Obama's watch, has deteriorated to an almost unthinkable degree, with the White House coming to view Israel and its often-pugnacious premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, as more of a problem than Iran's nuclear ambitions, Palestinian corruption, or the Syrian civil war. White House officials were quick to condemn the book and to demand that Netanyahu formally distance himself from Oren's account. (He has refused to do so.) But there can be little doubt that Oren's anecdotes are so striking precisely because they confirm what many people have long sensed: that all is not well between Washington and Jerusalem, and might not be for some time to come.

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