Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Clifford May

The kingdom, the power and the petroleum

February 22, 2017  •  The Washington Times

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia is changing. When government officials here tell you that, you take it with an oversized grain of salt. But when Saudi human rights activists say the same, you pay attention.

"Baby steps," is how one bright young woman phrases it. She has studied abroad and recently become an attorney, one of only about 120 women admitted to the bar in this gender-segregated country.

Female attorneys in Saudi Arabia can practice only family law. But, she believes, over time other doors will open. "There is at least an acknowledgement that we need to evolve," she adds. More than that, this country's rulers have adopted a plan to reform if not transform their kingdom -- the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

Who's Behind the Leaks?
Many in Washington wish the new president ill

February 17, 2017  •  City Journal

Call it the Oval Office virus. After less than a month in office, President Donald J. Trump, who as a candidate embraced WikiLeaks and a torrent of leaks about his rival Hillary Clinton's campaign, has become a champion of government secrecy. In a rowdy, 77-minute press conference Thursday, Trump said that he had personally instructed the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into the leak of embarrassing information about his conversations with foreign leaders and former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn's contacts with Russia. While it is unusual for a president to ask for such a criminal investigation, or to discuss it publicly, no law prevents him from doing so. "It could be perceived as a political witch hunt," warned Susan Hennessey, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and former intelligence agency lawyer.

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Standing With Israel On The Golan Heights

February 17, 2017  •  Wall Street Journal

Benjamin Netanyahu has achieved his primary objective of resetting ties with the U.S. after eight years of tensions. True, the Israeli prime minister and Donald Trump still need to bridge the gap on issues such as Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy and West Bank settlements. But they seem to be on the same page on a broad range of regional matters.

That could lead to a breakthrough on an issue of strategic importance to Israel. According to reports of the two leaders' meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu asked for U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

Germany's Migrant Rape Crisis: January 2017
Tolerating a "rape culture" to sustain a politically correct stance on mass migration

February 13, 2017  •  Gatestone Institute

Police reports show that Germany's migrant rape crisis continues unabated, although accurate statistics are notoriously non-existent, this in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. German authorities have repeatedly been accused of underreporting the true scale of the migrant crime problem in the country.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Europe's occupation hypocrisy

February 9, 2017  •  Jerusalem Post

After Monday's passage of the law aimed at regulating certain land issues in Judea and Samaria, Israel's ostensible friends in Europe wasted little time before lambasting the Jewish state in remarkably harsh terms. Mustering all the vitriol at their disposal, which appears to be boundless when the subject is Israel, the leaders of the Continent went on a rhetorical rampage that was as obscene as it was offensive.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

What Can Trump Do to Stop the BDS Movement?

February 6, 2017  •  Real Clear World

In late December, with just weeks left in his administration, former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a shot in the arm to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, or BDS. Obama instructed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, to abstain instead of vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution rebuking Israeli settlement activity.

Resolution 2334 deems Israel's presence in disputed territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be illicit. Combined five days later with a didactic anti-Israel speech from Secretary of State John Kerry, the resolution administered a body blow to Israel's brand.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

Trump wants health 'insurance for everybody.' Here's how the GOP can make it happen.

February 2, 2017  •  The Washington Post

Donald Trump's statement that his preferred replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would provide health "insurance for everybody" surprised those who have followed the contentious debate over the health-care law since its passage in 2010. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump's nominee for health and human services secretary, signaled agreement with the president when he said during his confirmation hearing that a Republican replacement for the ACA should cover more people.

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Latest from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

Black Syrians: The Case Of The Yarmouk Basin

January 19, 2017 at 8:21 pm

The existence of people in some parts of the Middle East to the north of the Arabian Peninsula (i.e. to the north of Saudi Arabia) who are ethnically black but Arab in culture and language has been documented in wider media to a certain extent. For example, in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra, a considerable population of such black people can be found, thought to be descended from slaves brought to the area from Africa during past centuries. Known by the Arabic terms zanji or 'abd (plurals zanj and 'abid respectively- the latter considered more derogatory with the connotations of slavery), black Iraqis have suffered problems of discrimination at the hands of their lighter-skinned compatriots.

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Latest Article from Michael Rubin

Setting traitor Manning free is a betrayal by Obama

January 19, 2017  •  New York Post

As the clock winds down on his presidency, President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic and military documents to WikiLeaks.

Manning told Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker and confidant, that she hoped her leak would spark "worldwide discussion, debates and reforms."

"If not," she added, "then we're doomed as a species."

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Latest Article from Matthew RJ Brodsky

Is the Two-State Solution at Risk Because of Israeli Settlements?
A Comprehensive Response, Part VI

January 19, 2017  •  The Huffington Post

After eight years, it's not surprising that the world has become familiar with the Obama administration's mantra: Israeli settlements in the West Bank are the greatest obstacle to peace. In their approach to the issue, the unique innovation was in both form and substance. Reality, however, was quite different from the picture they painted. There is no fact-based reason to believe the two-state solution is dying as a result of Israeli construction, housing permits, or outward settlement expansion. The U.S. abstention at the UN wasn't motivated by "grave concerns" for the peace process where they could not, "in good conscience" veto the resolution. Nor did they have an intervention with Israel out of love; there was no moral and ethical imperative to save Israel from itself. The lack of progress in the peace process stems from President Obama's original sin, which was making a thorny side-issue the centerpiece of his approach.

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Peril In Peru
Islamic Terror Shifts South

January 18, 2017  •  Foreign Affairs

It might just be the most important terrorism case you've never heard of. Last fall, prosecutors in the Peruvian capital of Lima launched formal legal proceedings against a 30-year-old alleged Hezbollah operative named Mohammed Hamdar. The trial, now underway, has major regional—indeed, global—implications for the fight against international terrorism. The case dates back to October 2014, when Peruvian police arrested the then-28-year-old Lebanese national in Lima's Surquillo district. When he was apprehended, Hamdar had traces of suspicious chemicals on one of his hands. The same residue was also found in his apartment. He later tested positive for contact with nitroglycerine, a common ingredient in the production of explosives. Additionally, during the course of his subsequent interrogation, he admitted that he was a member of Hezbollah and that the group had asked him to conduct surveillance throughout the country. Peruvian authorities, however, believe that his writ was broader still and that Hamdar was, in fact, casing several soft targets as a prelude to a major terrorist attack—one that may have been timed to coincide with the UN Climate Change Summit, scheduled to take place in Lima later that year. The Hamdar affair is important because it provides proof that Latin American countries are not immune from the threat posed by radical Islamist terrorism. But the case is significant for a broader reason as well. If properly adjudicated, it could supply a powerful precedent that could help spur an expansion of national counterterrorism legislation in Peru and provide a model for other countries in the region in their own dealings with Hezbollah, its chief sponsor Iran, and other radical actors.

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