Must Counterinsurgency Wars Fail?

By Daniel Pipes, | Tuesday, September 09, 2008

When it comes to a state fighting a non-state enemy, the impression widely exists that the state is doomed to fail.

[..] The list of “unwinnable wars” goes on and includes, for example, the counterinsurgencies in Sri Lanka and Nepal. “Underlying all these analyses,” notes Yaakov Amidror, a retired Israeli major general, is the assumption “that counterinsurgency campaigns necessarily turn into protracted conflicts that will inevitably lose political support.”

Amidror, however, disagrees with this assessment. In a recent study published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Winning Counterinsurgency War: The Israeli Experience, he convincingly argues that states can beat non-state actors.

September 9, 2008 | 2 Comments » | 13 views

The Revolutionary Guards’ Role in Iranian Politics

Ali Alfoneh:

Almost three decades after the Islamic Republic’s founding, former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders are infiltrating the political, economic, and cultural life of Iran. Half the members of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet are former IRGC officers, and he has appointed several IRGC officers to provincial governorships. The IRGC’s rise has been deliberate. Facing both external opposition to Tehran’s pursuit of an indigenous nuclear enrichment capability and internal pressures for political and economic reforms, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei considers the IRGC officer corps more apt at crisis management than the bureaucratic teams of either former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-97) or Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005). IRGC chief General Mohammad Ali Ja’fari’s announcement of internal restructuring to prepare the IRGC to counter “internal threats to the Islamic Republic” reflects the organization’s expanding role. The Council of Guardians, which screens candidates before elections, privileged IRGC veterans, who won the bulk of seats in the March 2008 parliamentary elections. Whereas there has always been tension within the Islamic Republic’s elite concerning whether the Revolutionary Guards’ political or military role should be dominant, recent shifts suggest the debate is concluding as the IRGC cements a commanding influence over political decision-making. …

Continue reading…

Cross-posted at and IsraPundit

September 9, 2008 | 1 Comments » | 11 views

A Modest Proposal for Middle East Peace

by Victor Davis Hanson , National Review Online

The U.N. need only take five simple steps.

There seems to be a growing renewed animus against Israel lately. Arun Gandhi, grandson of the purported humanist Mahatma Gandhi, thinks Israel and Jews in general are prone to, and singularly responsible for, most of the world’s violence. The Oxford Union is taking up the question of whether Israel even has a right to continue to exist. Our generation no longer speaks of a “Palestinian problem,” but rather of an “Israeli problem.” So perhaps it is time for a new global approach to deal with Israel and its occupation.

Perhaps we ought to broaden our multinational and multicultural horizons by transcending the old comprehensive settlements, roadmaps, and Quartet when dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, a dispute which originated with the creation of Israel.

September 9, 2008 | 7 Comments » | 19 views

War on Christians in the Middle East must be stopped

By Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

An Islamic court in Shiraz, Iran, has just convicted two men of being infidels. Their crime? Converting to Christianity. The possible sentence? Death. Not too far away in Saudi Arabia, an outraged father recently hacked his own daughter to death for the same “abomination.”

In the daily drumbeat of Mideast news, there is one story of historic proportion that goes nearly unreported: the persecution and systematic destruction in the Islamic world of some of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

Sure, we hear when a Catholic bishop is murdered in Iraq, when machete-armed fanatics attack Egyptian Copt worshipers, or when churches are torched in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

September 9, 2008 | 29 Comments » | 37 views

Bygone Days: The strategic agreement that never was


US president Ronald Reagan had a craving for jelly beans. He started chewing them in the early 1960s when he gave up smoking. On entering the White House in 1981, he had crystal jars of jelly beans placed on his desk in the Oval Office, on the table in the cabinet room, in the suites of his guest house and on Air Force One, where a receptacle was fashioned to prevent spillage during turbulence. Guests at Ronald Reagan’s inaugural balls consumed 40 million jelly beans, almost equaling the number of votes he received in the election, or so the tabloids blazed.

“I can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without first passing around a jar of jelly beans,” Reagan quipped to prime minister Menachem Begin when they met for the first time in early September 1981. “You can tell a lot about a fella’s character by whether he picks out all of one color, or just grabs a fistful. Here, take a few.”

September 8, 2008 | 4 Comments » | 26 views

Israeli Strategy After the Russo-Georgian War

By George Friedman, Stratfor

The Russo-Georgian war continues to resonate, and it is time to expand our view of it. The primary players in Georgia, apart from the Georgians, were the Russians and Americans. On the margins were the Europeans, providing advice and admonitions but carrying little weight. Another player, carrying out a murkier role, was Israel. Israeli advisers were present in Georgia alongside American advisers, and Israeli businessmen were doing business there. The Israelis had a degree of influence but were minor players compared to the Americans.

More interesting, perhaps, was the decision, publicly announced by the Israelis, to end weapons sales to Georgia the week before the Georgians attacked South Ossetia. Clearly the Israelis knew what was coming and wanted no part of it. Afterward, unlike the Americans, the Israelis did everything they could to placate the Russians, including having Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert travel to Moscow to offer reassurances. Whatever the Israelis were doing in Georgia, they did not want a confrontation with the Russians.

September 8, 2008 | 3 Comments » | 12 views

Obama: Terror groups have ‘legitimate claims’

Asserts U.S. needs foreign policy that ‘looks at the roots causes of problems’

By Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – The Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations have “legitimate claims” that are being “weakened” by the violence the terror groups carry out, Sen. Barack Obama stated in an interview today with the New York Times.

Speaking with columnist David Brooks, Obama said the U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.”

The presidential candidate compared Hezbollah to Hamas, stating they both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.”

Brooks was speaking to Obama for clarification on an earlier statement the Illinois senator made implying Lebanese militias should be tempered with enticements.

Regarding Hezbollah, Obama earlier declared: “It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.”

Brooks took issue with that statement, writing it has the “whiff” of “appeasement.”

September 8, 2008 | 4 Comments » | 50 views

GOP 2008 Platform – I like it

The Republicans’ Call to Arms
By Phyllis Schlafy Monday, September 8, 2008

[..] The Republican Party Platform, hammered out by a grassroots committee with representatives from every state, gives Republicans a basis on which to rebuild their party. It’s a “call to arms,” a platform of bold colors with no pastel shades, just as Ronald Reagan described the 1976 Platform that Delegates adopted after rejecting the Ford-Kissinger platform.

This year’s Platform is a complete break from the ponderous 2004 Platform, which strung together 40,000 tiresome words. The 2008 Platform isn’t about personalities; it’s about principles.

The 2004 Platform had endorsed the “Free Trade Area of the Americas,” a foolish notion to bring about the economic integration of the Western Hemisphere and allow cheap labor to replace American jobs. The 2008 Platform sensibly calls for “a Western Hemisphere of sovereign nations with secure borders,” and the committee unanimously rejected the goal of a “North American Union” modeled on the European Union.

September 8, 2008 | 14 Comments » | 11 views

Why Is A Former Lawyer For Pollard Defending Palestinian Terrorists?

Check out My Right Word, who made the connection.

The New York Times has only part of the story:

When a Palestinian gunman burst into a bat mitzvah celebration in northern Israel in 2002, killing 6 people and wounding more than 30, the attack sparked anger and despair, and military retaliation by Israel. It also prompted a lawsuit in New York, which has taken an unusual turn.

September 8, 2008 | 2 Comments » | 14 views

Albuquerque, NM and Rehovot, Israel: Booming Cities Team to Roar as Sisters

By Andrew L. Jaffee,
(An abbreviated version of this article originally appeared in the Albuquerque Journal, July 24, 2008.)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Sunny and dry most of the year, the city is home to a major research institute and several colleges and universities. The high-tech economy is booming, but an agricultural tradition persists. The workforce is diverse, highly-skilled and multilingual. For leisure, families go to numerous restaurants and cafes, an interactive science museum and art galleries. Sound familiar?

Welcome to Rehovot, Israel, Albuquerque’s new sister city. By leveraging the commonalities between the two cities, Albuquerque businesses may expand into a new market, increase sales, share technologies, and form partnerships. City and state government already have infrastructure to help Albuquerque businesses penetrate into Rehovot.

Story continues below…

One of Rehovot’s city parks. Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Rehovot.

September 2, 2008 | 18 Comments » | 28 views

Dangerous Talks with Syria


The current indirect talks between Israel and Syria are highly unlikely to result in a peace agreement. The talks, far from playing any positive role for Israel, are mistaken both in terms of our values and in terms of our practical interest. They are being conducted by an irresponsible government with no public mandate, and are already causing real harm. We should be working to isolate the Syrian regime, not rehabilitating it.

From the point of view of values, the government’s approach is fundamentally mistaken. The Golan Heights were taken in a just war in 1967, a war which was provoked by an extremist and reckless Ba’athist regime in Damascus. Our presence is both legal and essential. The Golan Heights must be retained under Israeli sovereignty.

The Syrian regime preached the destruction of Israel, and was directly responsible for the deterioration which made the 1967 war inevitable. There is no moral content to the claim by the same regime that its “rights” were violated by defeat in a war which it had actively sought. Independent Syria controlled the Golan Heights for exactly 21 years. Its borders are based not on some ancient patrimony, but rather on the division of the Ottoman Empire by the Western powers after 1918. Syrian rhetoric regarding its connection to this area lacks all content.

September 2, 2008 | 6 Comments » | 12 views

Assad to host four-way Damascus summit for dictating peace terms to Israel

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s talks with Bashar Assad in Damascus will be joined Thursday, Sept. 4, by Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar ruler Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar.

Their meeting on Middle East issues will end by calling on Israel to clear the way for peace by agreeing to cede the Golan to Syria.

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources note: In view of the Olmert government’s paralysis in external affairs, the four leaders will be free to shunt Israel’s interests aside and endorse the Syrian position – even as the French and Turkish leaders pose as friends of the Jewish state.

September 2, 2008 | 2 Comments » | 11 views

EU MP’s and Israel MK’s coalition to stop Islam

MK Eldad to Screen ‘Fitna’ in Jerusalem

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

( Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (NU-NRP) will screen a section of the controversial short film Fitna, as part of a press conference announcing the formation of a new coalition of European lawmakers on Wednesday. In the conference, Eldad will also announce “a first-of-its-kind summit in Jerusalem for the establishment of a defensive coalition of European legislators.”

The new coalition, Eldad explained, is geared towards those European Parliament members who recognize that the expansion of Islam poses a severe threat to Western civilization. He plans to host a summit of like-minded European legislators in Jerusalem towards the end of 2008. “The jihad must be stopped,” Eldad said. “If Jerusalem capitulates, Europe is next.”

September 2, 2008 | 0 Comments » | 9 views

A New Strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Jerusalem Issue Brief Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Former Chief of Staff, Israel Defense Forces

Solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says mainstream public opinion, and the rest will follow. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of many afflicting the Middle East, and it is by no means the dominant one.

The Palestinian leadership continues to evade accountability. Today the watchword is “weakness.” The image of political impotence has become a precious asset in the Palestinian strategy. The problem is not Abbas’ actual capabilities. The problem is his unwillingness and lack of determination to create and govern a viable and accountable state.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others have called for more foreign assistance for the Palestinians. This strategy has no chance of success if it is not linked to reforms. Unless the Palestinians are first convinced through education to give up the extremism which informs their
national and religious aspirations, they cannot be expected to be full partners in building a vibrant Palestinian economy.

The central conflict of the Middle East is not territorial but ideological; not about borders but about Islamic Jihadism and Western liberty. No ideology, least of all radical Islam, can be defeated by concessions, which encourage, energize, and inspire Jihadists. Those who wish for peace must face and assimilate this fact, and realize that territorial concessions, or any concessions in any realm in the struggle against militant Islam, have been consistently counterproductive.

From Oslo to Annapolis, we have engaged in a top-down strategy. We aimed to reach a political horizon or a final settlement agreement with the Palestinian leadership, hoping that political reform among Palestinians would follow. I propose we replace this approach with a bottom-up strategy in which the PA first proves its willingness and ability to govern.

September 2, 2008 | 2 Comments » | 9 views