August 3, 2020

Desperately Seeking Relevance

A protester leads a group of Egyptians in anti-Muslim Brotherhood chants, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)

Jerusalem Post, 25/7 The conflict between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel became inevitable after a series of decisions and actions made clear that the movement was not interested in defusing tensions and returning to the cease-fire that had shakily pertained since 2012. These actions included the attempt to infiltrate a terrorist team into Zikim on July 8, the continued firing of rockets after the rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, the failure to respect the humanitarian … [Read more...]

Shifting Mideast Sands Reveal New Alliances

Egyptian General Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi

A number of events in recent weeks cast light on the current intersecting lines of conflict in the Middle East. They reflect a region in flux, in which new bonds are being formed, and old ones torn asunder. But amid the confusion, a new topography is emerging. This was the month in which a long-existent split in the Sunni Arab world turned into a gaping fissure. On March 5th, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced that they were withdrawing their ambassadors from the … [Read more...]

You Still Don’t Understand Islamism, Do You?


Around 2007, I gave a lecture at the Defense Department. One of the attendees presented a scenario suggesting that the "problem of Islam" was not political but a problem of verbiage. There was a secret debate happening in the Defense Department and the CIA in which some people thought that all Muslims were a problem, some believed that only al-Qa'ida was a problem, and still others thought the Muslim Brotherhood was a problem. The main problem, however, was that all Islamism was a … [Read more...]

Brotherhood in Retreat


Jerusalem Post, 11/10 Reports surfaced this week suggesting that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is seeking to relocate from his current base in the Qatari capital of Doha. Hamas has indignantly rejected these claims. This shouldn’t be taken as authoritative – the movement also dismissed evidence that it was leaving Damascus in 2012 until the move was complete and could no longer be denied. If it turns out that the Hamas leadership is indeed on its way out of Qatar, this is the latest … [Read more...]

Meet the New Mubarak

Egyptian General Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi

For many Egyptian supporters of the July 3 coup against the Muslim Brotherhood-led government, coup leader General Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi is a figure of veneration. Posters bearing the general’s visage alongside that of Gamal Abd al-Nasser have appeared all over Cairo. Nasser, of course, initiated the officers’ regime which held sway in Egypt from 1952 until the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. He also, in 1954, presided over the bloody repression of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi, for … [Read more...]

Supporting the “Peace Process” and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: Misinformation

There's an Arab proverb that goes like this: When an enemy extends his hand to you cut it off. If you can't, kiss it. Who do you think is being classified as the cutting or the kissing treatment today?     In contrast to the let's-empower-our enemies approach, two of the best Middle East expert journalists in the world have just written from different perspectives on the real Middle East and the results are refreshing. But in other media the odds are fixed at four to one … [Read more...]

How Revolutions Work: Turkey, America, and the Arab World

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    [The Executioner removes the Mad Hatter's hat in preparation for beheading him]  The Mad Hatter: "I'd like to keep it on."  Executioner: "Suit yourself. As long as I can get at your neck." --Lewis Carroll, "Alice in Wonderland"    A fascinating article on Islamism in Turkey that also reflects on the situation in Arabic-speaking countries has been written by Soner Cagaptay, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Turkish research … [Read more...]

Syria: Obama Administration is Arming-and Training Militarily?-Radical Islamists


In a new development, as indicated by statements from Secretary of State John Kerry and other sources, the Obama Administration is not only arming but now training Syrian rebels. We  know that the weapons are going to radical Islamists--both Muslim Brotherhood and smaller groups. We don't know from which groups these people now being trained militarily by the CIA in Jordan. It has been suggested that these are only Syrian army defectors who are thus likely not to be from radical Islamist … [Read more...]