Middle East Provocations and Predictions

by Daniel Pipes
Mackenzie Institute
September 9, 2015

The Middle East stands out as the world’s most volatile, combustible, and troubled region; not coincidentally, it also inspires the most intense policy debates – think of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Iran deal. The following tour d’horizon offers interpretations and speculations on Iran, ISIS, Syria-Iraq, the Kurds, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Islamism, then concludes with some thoughts on policy choices. My one-sentence conclusion: some good news lies under the onslaught of misunderstandings, mistakes, and misery.


Iran is Topic No. 1 these days, especially since the nuclear deal the six great powers reached with its rulers in Vienna on July 14. The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” seeks to bring Tehran in from the cold, ending decades of hostility and inducing Iran to become a more normal state. In itself, this is an entirely worthy endeavor.

The problem lies in the execution, which has been execrable, rewarding an aggressive government with legitimacy and additional funding, not requiring serious safeguards on its nuclear arms program, and permitting that program in about a decade. The annals of diplomacy have never witnessed a comparable capitulation by great powers to an isolated, weak state.

The Iranian leadership has an apocalyptic mindset and preoccupation with the end of days that does not apply to the North Koreans, Stalin, Mao, the Pakistanis or anyone else. Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i et al. have reason to use these weapons for reasons outside of the normal military concerns – to bring on the end of the world. This makes it especially urgent to stop them.

Ali Khamene'i (r) is often placed along side Ayatollah Khomeini in Iranian iconography.

Ali Khamene’i (r) is often placed along side Ayatollah Khomeini in Iranian iconography.

Economic sanctions, however, amount to a sideshow, even a distraction. The Iranian government compares to the North Korean in its absolute devotion to building these weapons and its readiness to do whatever it takes, whether mass starvation or some other calamity, to achieve them. Therefore, no matter how severely applied, the sanctions only make life more difficult for the Iranian leadership without actually stopping the nuclear buildup.

The only way to stop the buildup is through the use of force. I hope the Israeli government – the only one left that might take action – will undertake this dangerous and thankless job. It can do so through aerial bombardment, special operations, or nuclear weapons, with option #2 both the most attractive and the most difficult.

If the Israelis do not stop the bomb, a nuclear device in the hands of the mullahs will have terrifying consequences for the Middle East and beyond, including North America, where a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack must be considered possible.

To the contrary, if the Iranians do not deploy their new weapons, it is just possible that the increased contact with the outside world and the disruption caused by inconsistent Western policies will work to undermine the regime.


The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State, Daesh) is the topic that consumes the most attention other than Iran. I agree with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, that Iran is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS. But ISIS is also a thousand times more interesting. Plus, the Obama administration finds it a useful bogeyman to justify working with Tehran.

Emerging out of almost nowhere, the group has taken Islamic nostalgia to an unimagined extreme. The Saudis, the ayatollahs, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Shabaab each imposed its version of a medieval order. But ISIS went further, replicating as best it can a seventh-century Islamic environment, down to such specifics as public beheading and enslavement.

This effort has provoked two opposite responses among Muslims. One is favorable, as manifested by Muslims coming from Tunisia and the West, attracted moth-like to an incandescently pure vision of Islam. The other, more important, response is negative. The great majority of Muslims, not to speak of non-Muslims, are alienated by the violent and flamboyant ISIS phenomenon. In the long term, ISIS will harm the Islamist movement (the one aspiring to apply Islamic law in its entirety) and even Islam itself, as Muslims in large numbers abominate ISIS.

One thing about ISIS will likely last, however: the notion of the caliphate. The last caliph who actually gave orders ruled in the 940s. That’s the 940s, not the 1940s, over a thousand years ago. The reappearance of an executive caliph after centuries of figurehead caliphs has prompted considerable excitement among Islamists. In Western terms, it’s like someone reviving the Roman Empire with a piece of territory in Europe; that would get everybody’s attention. I predict the caliphate will have a lasting and negative impact.

Syria, Iraq, and the Kurds

In certain circles, Syria and Iraq have come to be known as Suraqiya, joining their names together as the border has collapsed and they have each simultaneously been divided into three main regions: a Shiite-oriented central government, a Sunni Arab rebellion, and a Kurdish part that wants out.

This is a positive development; there’s nothing sacred about the British-French Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 which created these two polities. Quite the contrary, that accord has proven an abject failure; conjure up the names of Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein to remember why. These miserable states exist for the benefit of their monstrous leaders who proceed to murder their own subjects. So, let them fracture into threes, improving matters for the locals and the outside world.

As Turkish-backed Sunni jihadis fight Iranian-backed Shi’i jihadis in Suraqiya, the West should stand back from the fighting. Neither side deserves support; this is not our fight. Indeed, these two evil forces at each others’ throats means they have less opportunity to aggress on the rest of the world. If we do wish to help, it should be directed first to the many victims of the civil war; if we want to be strategic, help the losing side (so neither side wins).

As for the massive flow of refugees from Syria: Western governments should not take in large numbers but instead pressure Saudi Arabia and other rich Middle Eastern states to offer sanctuary. Why should the Saudis be exempt from the refugee flow, especially when their country has many advantages over, say, Sweden: linguistic, cultural, and religious compatibility, as well as proximity and a similar climate.

The rapid emergence of a Kurdish polity in Iraq, followed by one in Syria, as well as a new assertiveness in Turkey and rumblings in Iran are a positive sign. Kurds have proven themselves to be responsible in a way that none of their neighbors have. I say this as someone who, 25 years ago, opposed Kurdish autonomy. Let us help the Kurds who are as close to an ally as we have in the Muslim Middle East. Not just separate Kurdish units should come into existence but also a unified Kurdistan made up from parts of all four countries. That this harms the territorial integrity of those states does not present a problem, as not one of them works well as presently constituted.

Read more


unholyalliancePowerline, by Scott Johnson, July 12, 2012:

The David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Texas retreat took place last month in Dallas. I have posted videos of the presentations by Stanley Kurtz and Bret Stephens at the retreat. Other videos from the retreat are posted here.

In the video below, Daniel Pipes presents a survey of the Middle East in the Age of Obama. It works as an excellent companion to Stephens’s presentation; Pipes provides a regional close-up following Stephens’s global view (to borrow the title of Stephens’s weekly Wall Street Journal column). As with the the other two videos, I commend this one to your attention with the thought that it is worth your time. Even if you follow the news closely I think you are likely to learn something from this presentation.

The son of Richard Pipes, the prominent historian of Russia, Daniel Pipes is a brilliant student of the Middle East. He is the author of notable books including The Rushdie Affair and, most recently, Nothing Abides.

One of the ladies at PolitiChicks caught up with Pipes after his presentation in Dallas last month. She asked him to identify the greatest threat to the United States (video below). Let’s just say that we’re on the same wavelength.

I have been a reader and fan of Pipes for a long time. I saw him speak about Islamic terrorism before a campus audience at Yale in 2005 or so. He struck me as a scholar with the soul of a warrior. I caught up with Pipes in Minneapolis in 2012 when he was in town for a family wedding and posted a brief video in which I inarticulately asked him about the current relevance of the Rushdie affair here.


Politichicks also interviewed Andrew McCarthy. They discussed threats to U.S. & justice for Benghazi

Failed analysis offered as remedy to “failed ad”

Islamic-Jew-hatredJihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, May 26, 2015:

While Pamela Geller lives under armed guard over a live and imminent threat from the Islamic State, Daniel Pipes seizes the opportunity to…defend the freedom of speech and decry the threats against her? No. He chose instead to attack her ad criticizing Islamic anti-Semitism.

More below, and Pamela Geller has additional important information here.

“SEPTA ad campaign a spectacular failure,” by Daniel Pipes, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 26, 2015:

Did a controversial, austere, black-and-white advertisement that ran for one month on Philadelphia buses achieve its goal of winning sympathy for Jewish victims of Muslims?

The ad was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative and placed on buses operated by SEPTA, the regional-and state-run authority. The ad read: “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran. Two thirds of all U.S. aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop the hate. End all aid to Islamic countries. IslamicJewHatred.com.” A November 1941 photograph ran with the caption, “Adolf Hitler and his staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world, Haj Amin al-Husseini.” SEPTA received $30,000 to run the 30-by-80-inch ad on 84 buses out of SEPTA’s 1,400 buses during April.

No, the ad failed to achieve its goal, and spectacularly so. Count the ways:

To begin with, the text is factually inaccurate. Husseini was never “leader of the Muslim world.” He was a British appointee in the Mandate for Palestine, where Muslims constituted less than 1 percent of the total world Muslim population.

The term “leader of the Muslim world” is a perfectly reasonable summation of Husseini’s power and influence. Yes, he was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem by the British. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the end of the caliphate, by virtue of his position alone as Mufti of the third holiest city in the Muslim world, Husseini had as good a claim as anyone to being the foremost authority in the Muslim world as anyone.

What’s more, the British appointment is not remotely the whole story of the Mufti’s influence. While he lived in Berlin from 1941 to 1945, he made broadcasts from Berlin in Arabic, appealing to the entire Arabic-speaking world to support the Nazis, and raised up a Muslim SS division in Bosnia, where no one seems to have rejected his authority on the basis that he was a British appointment for Jerusalem only.

Even as National Socialist Germany collapsed in defeat and ruin, he didn’t lose his influence. In 1946, the Arab League appointed al-Husseini not just a member, but the chairman, of the Arab Higher Committee. The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan (Jordan from 1946) and Yemen (North Yemen, later combined Yemen). Are those countries not the heart of the Muslim world?

The Arab Higher Committee, with Husseini as its chairman, wielded so much influence that it was given the same diplomatic status as the Jewish agency for Palestine in the partition of Israel in 1948. The political committee of the general assembly of the United Nations, without a dissenting vote, decided to invite the Arab Higher Committee to testify before it on the issue of Israel and the Arab Muslims.

Second, Husseini’s meeting with Hitler did not represent a permanent or universal alliance between Muslims and Nazis; it was a one-time, opportunistic consultation between a fugitive Palestinian figure and his patron.

Pipes reveals that there is a bit more going on in this photo than a “one-time, opportunistic consultation” by noting in passing that Hitler was Husseini’s “patron.” (Incidentally, Pipes’ reference to Husseini as a “Palestinian,” however, is anachronistic, as the Muslim Arabs of Palestine were not referred to as “Palestinians” until the Soviets and Arafat invented the “Palestinian” nationality in the 1960s, so as to defuse Israel’s image as a tiny Jewish state arrayed against numerous surrounding huge Arab states: an even smaller people was invented, menaced by the mighty Israeli war machine.)

In any case, “Husseini’s meeting with Hitler did not represent a permanent or universal alliance between Muslims and Nazis,” but the meeting was far more than a “one-time, opportunistic consultation,” either. Husseini was important enough in Berlin to play a role in the Third Reich’s extermination of Jews. SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dieter Wisliceny, a close collaborator of Adolf Eichmann, testified that “the grand mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1938, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews the importance of which must not be disregarded. He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with whom he had been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considers this as a comfortable solution of the Palestine problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and has constantly been cited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he has visited incognito the gas chamber in Auschwitz.”

The statement referred to in the affidavit was made by Eichmann in his office in Budapest on June 4, 1944; the confirmation by Wisliceny was given some days later, also in Budapest.

Further, according to testimony at the Nuremberg trials, “the mufti was a bitter arch enemy of the Jews and had always been the protagonist of the idea of their annihilation. This idea the mufti had always advanced in his conversations with Eichmann.”

Eichmann had before all this been in charge of efforts to deport the Jews from Europe. After the Mufti weighed in, the Nazi efforts shifted from deportation to extermination — confirming Wisliceny’s account.

Third, the ad’s demand makes no sense: How does ending $10 billion in U.S. military assistance to Afghanistan “stop the hate” against Jews? How does continuing it encourage “Islamic Jew-hatred”?

As Dr. Pipes well knows, anti-Semitism is rampant in the Islamic world, including in Afghanistan. The ad is calling for U.S. aid to Muslim countries to be contingent upon their efforts to end anti-Semitism — efforts which are non-existent at this point. U.S. aid continues to encourage “Islamic Jew-hatred” (Pipes’ sneer quotes betray his unwarranted skepticism regarding the concept) by doing nothing whatsoever to counter it.

But more important to the ad’s failure was the hostile response it provoked. Rather than win support for Jews as victims of Muslims, it instead rallied the Philadelphia establishment to support Muslims as victims of Jews. A Jewish Exponent headline summed up the reaction: “Contempt for SEPTA Bus Ads Brings Groups Together.” Mayor Nutter convened an outdoor meeting under the city’s famous LOVE sculpture that brought together activists, clergy, journalists, and intellectuals, where he denounced the “misguided and opportunistic political tactics” behind the bus ad….

Pipes goes on in this vein for several paragraphs, detailing the opposition to the ad from various Leftist multiculturalists. It is surprising that he accords such respect to this opposition, since those he invokes — the Philadelphia mayor, Leftist Jewish groups, a Roman Catholic archbishop — have never shown any awareness of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat or of Islamic anti-Semitism, or any indication that they have any will at all to oppose them, even with the most watered-down and empty of gestures. Nor will he ever win their love except by engaging in empty, toothless gestures of his own. One would think that he would have been tipped off to how clueless and compromised SEPTA is by the fact that it, as he puts it, “sent a long valentine to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)” — but he seems to think this is more our fault than SEPTA’s.

If the first rule of advertising is to make sure to convey your message effectively, this inaccurate, strange, and aggressive bus advertisement must rank as an all-time disaster, damaging the cause it meant to serve while helping those it intended to harm. It’s like a Coke ad that sends customers flocking to Pepsi.

In reality, the ad seems to have very neatly smoked out those who are compromised and unwilling to state unpopular and unwelcome truths from those who are willing to grasp the nettle and stand for the truth no matter what may come from the cowards, trimmers, and collaborators of the world.

But as an alternative, Pipes offers his “militant Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution” mantra, which stands out now as one of the most spectacularly failed analyses in the entire sorry history of the “war on terror”:

How might have the ad been more effectively composed? Simple: by distinguishing between the religion of Islam and the totalitarian ideology of Islamism, as in, “Radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution. Non-Muslims and patriotic Muslims must band together to fight ISIS, Boku [sic] Haram, CAIR, and ISNA. Islamist-Watch.org.” The picture might have featured novelist Salman Rushdie talking to television host Bill Maher, a liberal who criticizes radical Islam.

“Moderate Islam is the solution,” eh? Well, here we are almost fourteen years after 9/11, and where is it? There is Zuhdi Jasser, there is Tawfik Hamid, there is Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, there is a handful of others, but what they offer is a non-traditional Islam with no foundation in Islamic theology or history, and no significant backing among Muslims. There is no large-scale movement among Muslims to combat the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and other jihadis, much less CAIR and ISNA. There is no moderate Muslim organization with a large membership or influence among Muslims. I share Pipes’ hope that such an org eventually arises, but how long are we going to keep counting on it when it is so obviously not happening?

It’s a soothing solution for the ignorant and uninformed (such as Mayor Nutter, Catholic archbishops, liberal rabbis, etc.), but it is hardly a viable solution, and it is a manifestly failed analysis. Yes, Dr. Pipes, such an ad would have made everyone feel good. But it would have recruited absolutely no “new cadres for the battle against our common foe, the Islamists,” and would not have sparked the public debate that our ad sparked, that drew attention to numerous important issues, including the war against the freedom of speech, the nature of Islamic anti-Semitism, and more.

Failed analysis is not the solution; it’s the problem. Want proof? Run your ad, Dr. Pipes, and see what will happen: absolutely nothing.

Also see:

ISIS Attacks on the West

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
May 22, 2015

The May 3 assault on a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, prompted much discussion about the assailants’ connections to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh. Did ISIS run them as agents? Are they part of a new network of terror in the West?

Clearly, the Garland jihadis had some connections to ISIS. The leader, Elton Simpson, used Twitter to trade calls for violence with Muhammed Abdullahi Hassan (also known as Mujahid Miski), 25, an ISIS recruiter who grew up in Minneapolis. On April 23, Hassan tweeted: “The brothers from the Charlie Hebdo attack did their part. It’s time for brothers in the US to do their part,” attaching a Breitbart.com story about the Muhammad cartoon contest. This appears to be what brought the Garland event to Simpson’s attention; Simpson retweeted this call to action and responded: “When will they ever learn. They are planning on selecting the best picture drawn of [Muhammad] in Texas.” Hassan then further goaded Simpson: “One individual is able to put a whole nation onto its knees.”


The tweet that began the assault that took place ten days later in Garland, Texas.

After the Garland attack, ISIS took credit for it, calling the gunmen, Simpson, 30, and Nadir Hamid Soofi, 34, “two soldiers from the soldiers of the caliphate” whose deaths would win them “the highest rank of paradise.” Its Bayan Radio exploited the attack to warn Americans that “what is coming will be worse and more bitter,” with “soldiers of the Islamic State” doing “terrible things.”


Elton Simpson pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS.

But, so far as is known, neither Simpson nor Soofi took money from ISIS, received arms or training from it, discussed their plans with it, or sought its permission to proceed. Nor did either of them visit Syria or Iraq.

This fits a pattern: ISIS does not plan and direct attacks but takes advantage of its high profile to incite Muslims to turn against their non-Muslim neighbors, as happened already in Oklahoma City. It offers spiritual guidance, target selection, and inspiration; it is not in the business of logistics, command, and control. When it claims credit, it claims so for inspiration, not organization.

Therefore, one can probably dismiss as braggadocio ISIS’ boast to have trained 71 soldiers in 15 of the U.S. states who are “ready at our word to attack any target we have desired,” much less that 23 of them have volunteered for “missions like” the Garland attack. But U.S. law enforcement does follow thousands of individuals like Simpson and Soofi who communicate with ISIS and could at any time erupt into to violence. The years-long surveillance of Simpson, after all, proved useless. The “lone wolf” concept has become irrelevant at a time of global jihad, when every pious Muslim is potentially a “soldier of the caliphate.”


The scene of the Garland, Texas, attack.

Unlike Al-Qaeda (whose model we are more familiar with), which communicates intensely with its agents and directs their moves in detail, ISIS is not primarily in the business of organizing elaborate plots to strike Western infidels. Rather, it aims to control territory in the Middle East (such as in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq). It calls Western Muslims to move to Syria; attacks in the West are only a fallback, primarily promoted by smuggling its members across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Nonetheless, the ISIS model is the more dangerous. Its attacks may be amateurish and less deadly than Al-Qaeda’s but they potentially can occur far more often. Its assaults are easier to foil but harder to anticipate. The ISIS approach is the more effective if one counts not corpses but political impact – for example, dissuasion from ridiculing Muhammad.

In other words, inspirational links are more worrisome than organizational ones. All ISIS needs do is publish a target’s name in its magazine or tweet encouragement on social media and a potential army is notified; it need not develop secure communications, train cadres, move money across borders, choose and scope out targets, order strikes, and give tactical directions.

A BBC analysis misses the point when it holds that if ISIS can “prove that it planned and directed [the Garland attack] – rather than just staking a claim after the event – then that would be a significant development.” Not so; ISIS is all the more formidable for not planning and directing but simply talking and writing.

Indeed, just as the Iranian regime presents the greatest danger to the Middle East, ISIS presents the next, more evolved, and most threatening form of Islamist violence in the West. Will these mortal enemies be recognized in time?

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

Daniel Pipes outmaneuvers RT reporter in interview on the Iran negotiations

Russia-Today-LogoRussian news channel RT’s Oksana Boyko aggressively interviews Daniel Pipes on the Iran negotiations and Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Pipes handles it masterfully!

h/t Vlad Tepes

Daniel Pipes explains “the Obama doctrine” on foreign policy

obama-foreign-policy (1)

Published on Apr 12, 2015 by Rebel Media

Ezra Levant reports for TheRebel.media:

Dr. Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum says that there’s a coherent strategy underpinning the apparent chaos we’re witnessing around the world, especially in the Middle East.

Pipes explains that the situation makes sense if viewed through the lens of an “Obama doctrine”: “Snarl at your friends, smile at your enemies.”

Part of it is incompetence on the President’s part, says Pipes, but much of what’s happening is the direct result of Obama’s anti-American ideology — and even his personal psychology.

This thought-provoking, in-depth interview covers a lot of ground: the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia and much more.

Why Politicians Pretend Islam Has No Role in Violence

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
March 9, 2015

Prominent non-Muslim political figures have embarrassed themselves by denying the self-evident connection of Islam to the Islamic State (ISIS) and to Islamist violence in Paris and Copenhagen, even claiming these are contrary to Islam. What do they hope to achieve through these falsehoods and what is their significance?

First, a sampling of the double talk:

President Barack Obama tells the world that ISIS “is not Islamic” because its “actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith.” He holds “we are not at war with Islam [but] with people who have perverted Islam.”


Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama agree that violence perverts Islam.

Secretary of State John Kerry echoes him: ISIS consists of “coldblooded killers masquerading as a religious movement” who promote a “hateful ideology has nothing do with Islam.” His spokesperson, Jen Psaki, goes further: the terrorists “are enemies of Islam.”

Jeh Johnson, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, assents: “ISIL is [not] Islamic.” My favorite:Howard Dean, the former Democrat governor of Vermont, says of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”

Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, has declared himself a Muslim?

Europeans speak identically: David Cameron, the Conservative British prime minister, portrays ISISas “extremists who want to abuse Islam” and who “pervert the Islamic faith.” He calls Islam “a religion of peace” and dismisses ISIS members as not Muslims, but “monsters.” His immigration minister, James Brokenshire, argues that terrorism and extremism “have nothing to do with Islam.”

On the Labour side, former British prime minister Tony Blair finds ISIS ideology to be “based in a complete perversion of the proper faith of Islam,” while a former home secretary, Jack Straw, denounces “the medieval barbarity of ISIS and its ilk” which he deems “completely contrary to Islam.”

Across the channel, French president François Hollande insists that the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher criminals “have nothing to do with the Muslim faith.” His prime minister, Manuel Valls, concurs: “Islam has nothing to do with ISIS.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte echoes the same theme: “ISIS is a terrorist organization which misuses Islam.” Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a left-wing German politician, calls the Paris murderers fascists, not Muslims. From Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agrees: “Extremism and Islam are completely different things.”

This is not a new view: for example, prior U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also aired their insights about what is and is not Islam, though less assertively.

Summarizing these statements, which come straight out of the Islamist playbook: Islam is purely a religion of peace, so violence and barbarism categorically have nothing to do with it; indeed, these “masquerade” and “pervert” Islam. By implication, more Islam is needed to solve these “monstrous” and “barbaric” problems.

But, of course, this interpretation neglects the scriptures of Islam and the history of Muslims, steeped in the assumption of superiority toward non-Muslims and the righteous violence of jihad. Ironically, ignoring the Islamic impulse means foregoing the best tool to defeat jihadism: for, if the problem results not from an interpretation of Islam, but from random evil and irrational impulses, how can one possibly counter it? Only acknowledging the legacy of Islamic imperialism opens ways to re-interpret the faith’s scriptures in modern, moderate, and good-neighborly ways.

Why, then, do powerful politicians make ignorant and counterproductive arguments, ones they surely know to be false, especially as violent Islamism spreads (think of Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and the Taliban)? Cowardice and multiculturalism play a role, to be sure, but two other reasons have more importance:

First, they want not to offend Muslims, who they fear are more prone to violence if they perceive non-Muslims pursuing a “war on Islam.” Second, they worry that focusing on Muslims means fundamental changes to the secular order, while denying an Islamic element permits avoid troubling issues. For example, it permits airplane security to look for passengers’ weapons rather than engage in Israeli-style interrogations.

According to non-Muslim politicians these Taliban members have nothing to do with Islam.

My prediction: Denial will continue unless violence increases. In retrospect, the 3,000 victims of 9/11 did not shake non-Muslim complacency. The nearly 30,000 fatalities from Islamist terrorism since then also have not altered the official line. Perhaps 300,000 dead will cast aside worries about Islamist sensibilities and a reluctance to make profound social changes, replacing these with a determination to fight a radical utopian ideology; three million dead will surely suffice.

Without such casualties, however, politicians will likely continue with denial because it’s easier that way. I regret this – but prefer denial to the alternative.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

March 9, 2015 addendum: For many more details on the cases cited here, see my weblog entry “Islam vs. History” at DanielPipes.org.



Also see:

Syria’s Civil War Could Stabilize Its Region

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 26, 2015

Population shifts resulting from Syria’s four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That’s because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic minority status to ethnic majority status, encouraging like to live with like.

Before looking at each country, some background:

First, along with the Balkans, the Middle East contains the most complex and unsettled ethnic, religious, linguistic, and national mix in the world. It’s a place where cross-border alliances deeply complicate local politics. If the Balkans set off World War I, the Middle East might well spark World War III.

Second, historic tensions between the two main Muslim sects, Sunni and Shi’i, had largely subsided before Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in 1979. Driven by Tehran’s aggression, they have since flared anew.


The brutal 8-year war, 1980-88 between Iran and Iraq did much to exacerbate Sunni-Shi’i hostility.

Third, the imperialist European powers nearly ignored the identity of the peoples living in the Middle East as they defined most of the region’s borders. Instead, they focused on rivers, ports, and other resources that served their economic interests. Today’s jumble of somewhat randomly-defined countries (e.g., Jordan) is the result.

Finally, Kurds were the major losers a century ago; lacking intellectuals to make their case, they found themselves divided among four different states and persecuted in them all. Today, they are organized for independence.

Returning to Syria and its Arab neighbors (and drawing on Pinhas Inbari’s “Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region“):

Syria and Iraq have undergone strikingly similar developments. After the demise of monstrous dictators in 2000 and 2003, each has broken into the same three ethnic units – Shi’i Arab, Sunni Arab, and Kurd. Tehran dominates both Shi’i-oriented regimes, while several Sunni-majority states (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar) back the Sunni rebels. The Kurds have withdrawn from the Arab civil wars to build their own autonomous areas. Once-ambitious dictatorships barely sustain functioning foreign policies. Also, the century-old boundary separating Syria and Iraq has largely vanished.

Syria: The part of Syria still ruled by Bashar al-Assad is becoming more Shi’i. An estimated half of the pre-war Syrian population of 22 million has been driven from its homes; of them, the 3 million refugees, mostly Sunni, who fled the country are unlikely to return both because of the continuing civil war and the Assad regime’s revocation of their citizenship. The regime appears also to have intentionally reduced its control over the area near the border with Jordan to encourage Sunnis to flee Syria. In another ploy to increase the Shi’i population, reports indicate it has welcomed and re-settled about 500,000 Iraqi Shi’is, conferring Syrian citizenship on some.


Bashar al-Assad must have been a better ophthalmologist than dictator.

Iraq: The Syrian civil war provided the Islamic State (or ISIS/ISIL) with an opportunity to move into Iraq, seizing such cities as Fallujah and Mosul, leading to an exodus of non-Sunnis (especially Shi’is and Yazidis), and remaking Iraq along ethnic lines. Given the country’s intermingled population, especially in the Baghdad area, it will be years – perhaps decades – before the sides sort themselves out. But the process appears inexorable.

Lebanon: Sunnis are growing more powerful, beating back the Iranian influence. The million new Sunni refugees from Syria now constitute 20 percent of the country’s population, roughly doubling the Sunni community. Also, Hizbullah, the dominant Shi’i organization in Lebanon, is neglecting its own constituency and losing influence domestically by fighting on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria.


Hizbullah militiamen in Syria reduces the group’s influence in its home country, Lebanon.

Jordan: The recent influx of Syrian refugees follows an earlier wave of approximately one million Iraqi refugees. Together, the two groups have lowered the percentage of Palestinians in Jordan to the point that the latter probably no longer constitute a majority of the country’s population, a shift with major political implications. For one, it reduces the potential Palestinian threat to the Hashemite monarchy; for another, it undermines the Jordan-is-Palestine argument championed by some Israelis.

In brief, Iraq and Syria are devolving into their constituent religious and ethnic parts, Lebanon is becoming more Sunni, and Jordan less Palestinian. However gruesome the human cost of the Syrian civil war, its long-term impact potentially renders the Middle East a less combustible place, one less likely to trigger World War III.

What Actually Causes American Fear of Islam and Muslims?

by Daniel Pipes
Feb 13, 2015
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

An ambitious 81-page document, Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America, just appeared from the Center for American Progress, a liberal Democratic organization. Unlike its first iteration, in which a group with a $40-million annual budget and deep ties to big business had the nerve to claim that seven much smaller institutions were overpowering the country through their financial clout, this one looks at what the alleged “Islamophobia network” actually does.

3073The report, written by Matthew Duss, Yasmine Taeb, Ken Gude, and Ken Sofer, makes for interesting reading. Its premise is that critics of Islamism (1) are really anti-Islamic and (2) have single-handedly distorted a the fundamental American value, namely a “basic respect for the rights of minority groups throughout the country.” According to the CAP study, “the views of anti-Muslim actors stand in stark contrast to the values of most Americans.”

By dint of hard work, however, “a well-funded, well-organized fringe movement can push discriminatory policies against a segment of American society by intentionally spreading lies while taking advantage of moments of public anxiety and fear.” This effort “takes many shapes and forms”: a general climate, cynical political efforts, and institutional policies. Despite some setbacks, continues the CAP narrative, the network’s efforts “continue to erode America’s core values of religious pluralism, civil rights, and social inclusion.”

Those fingered as part of this network (I am one) should be perversely proud of our accomplishment: Just a handful of lying individuals manage to subvert a core American value – and all this with what CAP itself estimated to be less than $5 million a year!

The (Hindu) Rama Temple in Lemont, Illinois, raises few issues.

The (Hindu) Rama Temple in Lemont, Illinois, raises few issues.

Another way of putting it: the United States hosts about as many Buddhists and Hindus combined as it does Muslims. Yet, when did Buddhists or Hindus try to change the existing order or engage in violence on behalf of their faiths? Who ever hears about them? Who fears them?But there is a more convincing reason why Americans fear Islam and Muslims. The news is filled almost daily and even several times daily with bulletins from one Islamist front or another. I hardly need rehearse the repertoire; just turn to the day’s headlines. ISIS and theCharlie Hebdo-like massacre most dominate the news, but Islamists are all the time winning unfavorable attention for themselves by making aggressive cultural demands (say, wearing a face-covering burqa in the courtroom), pushing the superiority of Islam (don’t dare say a negative word about Muhammad), or apologizing for some repulsive practice (such as honor killings or female genital mutilation).

Maybe it’s Islamists who are prompting powerful and spontaneous responses through their threatening behavior. Maybe we critics are not “intentionally spreading lies” but honestly interpreting Islamist aggression and supremacism. Maybe CAP and its ilk should blame the fear of Islam less on we critics and more on the Islamists themselves. (February 13, 2015)

Does Europe Have No-go Zones?

by Daniel Pipes
The Blaze
January 20, 2015

Comments by Steven Emerson on Fox News have prompted a heated debate over whether predominantly Muslim “no-go” zones exist in Europe. On Jan. 11, Emerson said they “exist throughout Europe … they’re places where the governments like France, Britain, Sweden, Germany don’t exercise any sovereignty. .. you basically have zones where Shariah courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don’t go in, and where it’s basically a separate country almost, a country within a country.”

Steven Emerson spoke on Fox News Channel on Jan. 11 about Muslim-dominated areas of Europe.

Steven Emerson spoke on Fox News Channel on Jan. 11 about Muslim-dominated areas of Europe.

Although Emerson, whom I admire for his moral courage and investigative skills, immediately apologized for his “terrible error” of saying that cities like Birmingham, England, “are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go,” he did not address the larger question of whether no-go zones, in fact, do “exist throughout Europe” and are places where governments “don’t exercise any sovereignty.”

Is he right about this?

In a 2006 weblog entry, I called Muslim enclaves in Europe no-go zones as a non-euphemistic equivalent for the French phrase Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones. No-go zones subsequently became standard in English to describe Muslim-majority areas in West Europe.

After spending time in the banlieues (suburbs) of Paris in January 2013, as well as in their counterparts in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Malmö, and Stockholm, however, I have had second thoughts. I found that those areas “are not full-fledged no-go zones” — meaning places where the government had lost control of territory. No war lords dominate; Shari’a is not the law of the land. I expressed regret back then for having used the term no-go zones.

A travel agency in Berlin in October 2010.

A travel agency in Berlin in October 2010.

So, what are these places? A unique and as-yet un-named mix.

On the one hand, West European states can intervene anywhere and at any time in their sovereign territory. As the shoot-out in Verviers and the subsequent raids in Belgium suggest, their overwhelming advantage in force – including military, intelligence, and police – means they have not ceded control.

After a terrorist attack in May 2014, police were out in force in the Jewish area of Antwerp, Belgium.

After a terrorist attack in May 2014, police were out in force in the Jewish area of Antwerp, Belgium.

On the other hand, governments often choose not to impose their will on Muslim-majority areas, allowing them considerable autonomy, including in some cases the Shariah courts that Emerson mentioned. Alcohol and pork are effectively banned in these districts, polygamy and burqas commonplace, police enter only warily and in force, and Muslims get away with offences illegal for the rest of population.

The Rotherham, England, child sex scandal offers a powerful example. An official inquiry found that for sixteen years, 1997-2013, a ring of Muslim men sexually exploited – through abduction, rape, gang rape, trafficking, prostitution, torture – at least 1,400 non-Muslim girls as young as 11. The police received voluminous complaints from the girls’ parents but did nothing; they could have acted, but chose not to.

According to the inquiry, “the Police gave no priority to CSE [child sexual exploitation], regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime.” Even more alarming, in some cases, “fathers tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused, only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene.” Worse, the girls “were arrested for offences such as breach of the peace or being drunk and disorderly, with no action taken against the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault against children.”

Another example, also British, was the so-called Operation Trojan Horse that flourished from 2007 until 2014, in which (again, according to an official inquiry), a group of school functionaries developed “a strategy to take over a number of schools in Birmingham and run them on strict Islamic principles.”

What does one call Rotherham and Birmingham? They are not no-go zones, neither in terms of geography or sovereignty. This is where we – Emerson, others (such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal), and I stumbled. The English language lacks a readily-available term for this. And for good reason: I know of no historical parallel, in which a majority population accepts the customs and even the criminality of a poorer and weaker immigrant community. The world has never seen anything comparable to the contemporary West’s blend of achievement, timidity, and guilt, of hugely superior power matched by a deep reluctance to use it.

Instead of no-go zones, I propose semi-autonomous sectors, a term that emphasizes their indistinct and non-geographic nature – thus permitting a more accurate discussion of what is, arguably, West Europe’s most acute problem.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

The War On Israel and the Middle East


Below are the video and transcript to the panel discussion “The War on Israel and the Middle East,” which took place at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 20th Anniversary Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 13th-16th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. 

Daniel Pipes: I’d like to make three geostrategic points in my few minutes, and I apologize in advance for having to leave, but the plane schedule is as it is. The first point is that — and this has been said before, I’d like to reiterate it — that Iran is a far greater threat than ISIS, and we are making an extraordinary mistake in joining with the Iranians against ISIS. Need one point out that ISIS has perhaps $5 million a day in oil revenue and 15,000 troops and, granted, a dynamism, but that Iran is a powerful state of 75 million people, an oil revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars, and an army of hundreds of thousands and, of course, a terror network and is building up their weapons? I would predict to you, ladies and gentleman, that ISIS, which appeared so suddenly, will disappear suddenly as well because it has so many enemies, it is so overextended, it is trying to do so much at the same time that it is going to collapse before very long and it is going to disappear as a state whereas Iran is going to be a longer lasting entity.

Let me also predict that the real importance of ISIS, Islamic state, ISIL, Daesh, call it what you will, lies not in this sizeable state that now exists between Bagdad and Turkey but rather in the resurrection of the idea of the caliphate. The last executive caliph with power was in the 940s — 940s, not 1940s — a long, long time ago. Yes, the institution of the caliphate continued until 1924, but it was meaningless. It was just a title. The actual caliphate, executive caliphate, disappeared over a millennium ago and then suddenly, this man who calls himself Caliphate Ibrahim resurrected it on June 29, 2014, and this has sent a frisson of excitement through the Muslim world, and this has created the notion of a feasible caliphate once again after having been gone for a millennium, and this is important. I can well imagine other groups taking up this same standard and demanding that they be accepted as the caliphate. I can further imagine that states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even Iran in its own Shiite way taking up the claim of caliphate and so this turns Islamist politics into an even more radical direction than it has been in the past and therefore is a very negative development, but that is an idea, and the notion that the U.S. government should be working with Iran against ISIS is madness, just simple madness.

Iran is the ultimate enemy, which is my second point. Iran is of course the ultimate enemy today. The acquisition by Iranian leadership of nuclear weapons will not only change the Middle East but will change the world. Other tyrants have had nuclear weapons — think of Stalin and Mao — but there’s something different about this group of tyrants in that they’re thinking about the end of days. They’re apocalyptically minded. They have ideas that, were they to deploy nuclear weapons, they would bring forward the days of the Mahdi, the Dajjal, and the other sequence events leading to the day of resurrection, so they are even more dangerous. Now, I could have a nice seminar extending for hours on whether they actually would deploy nuclear weapons or not, but I don’t want to find out, and I suspect you don’t either. It is absolutely imperative that they be stopped from doing that and that would not be easy because the Iranian leadership, like the North Korean leadership, is absolutely determined to get nuclear weapons and will pay whatever price is necessary. In North Korea it was mass starvation. In Iran, it will be economic deprivation and other problems, but they’re going to go ahead and while computer viruses and targeted assassinations and bombings, which have been taking place, will certainly slow things down, they cannot stop it. The only way to stop it is through use of force against the Iranian nuclear installations.

So, that I think is all pretty clear, but I’m going to go beyond that and say that when the happy day comes that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is overthrown — and that is a prospect that is real; we saw one run up toward it in June 2009 and it was suppressed, but it wasn’t eliminated and there will be further attempts — and it is certain that one of these days, the Islamic Republic will collapse. When that happens, I suggest to you, the Iranian people who are sick of this ideological state will become quite friendly. Posts show that the overwhelming majority of Iranians hate their government and hate the Islam that their government is purveying. I think that Iranians will be good friends when that day comes.

In contrast, I think our great problem in the Middle East will be Turkey. Turkey, which is also a very substantial state of some 80 million people and which is in an important strategic location, has a real economy, an educated population. Turkey has approached Islamism – well, the Turkish leadership has approached Islamism — in a far more intelligent way than the Iranians. I call Khomeini, “Islamism 1.0,” and Erdogan, “Islamism 2.0.” Khomeini used revolution and violence and so forth and his successor rules despotically, but Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the dominant figure of Turkish politics, is a far more clever figure who has won I think nine elections in 13 years of various sorts, parliamentary, referendum, residential, has tripled the size of the economy and is a figure of enormous importance and popularity in the country. He has a very strong base. This is a not a despotism. Now, granted, over time, he’s becoming increasingly authoritarian, autocratic, unpleasant, decisive, but he has won his place democratically, and he will last and his regime will last much longer than Khomeini’s, and I believe as one looks at 10-20 years in the future, it will be Turkey, not Iran, that will be our great problem and that we should be preparing for that today.

Read more with Ken Timmerman, Daniel Greenfield and Caroline Glick

Is CAIR a Terror Group?

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan explains why his government considers CAIR to be terrorist.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan explains why his government considers CAIR to be terrorist.

By Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
November 28, 2014

We who follow the Islamist movement fell off our collective chair on Nov. 15 when the news came that the United Arab Emirates’ ministerial cabinet had listed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as one of 83 proscribed terrorist organizations, up there with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.

This came as a surprise because the UAE authorities themselves have a record of promoting Islamism; because CAIR has a history of raising funds in the UAE; and because the UAE embassy in Washington had previously praised CAIR.

On reflection, however, the listing makes sense for, in recent years, the Islamist movement hasgravely fractured. Sunnis fight Shi’is; advocates of violence struggle against those working within the system; modernizers do battle against those trying to return to the seventh century; and monarchists confront republicans.

This last divide concerns us here. After decades of working closely with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its related institutions, the Persian Gulf monarchies (with the single, striking exception of Qatar) have come to see the MB complex of institutions as a threat to their existence. The Saudi, Emirati, Kuwaiti, and Bahraini rulers now view politicians like Mohamed Morsi of Egypt as their enemies, as they do Hamas and its progeny – including CAIR.

While the Gulf monarchs have not become any less Islamist, they have acquired a clear-eyed appreciation of the harm that MB-related groups can do.

Having explained why the UAE listed CAIR on its terror manifest, we must pose a second question: Is the listing warranted? Can a Washington-based organization with ties to the Obama White House, the U.S. Congress, leading media outlets, and prestigious universities truly be an instigator of terrorism?


CAIR can rightly be so characterized. True, it does not set off bombs but, as the UAE’s foreign minister explains, “Our threshold is quite low. … We cannot accept incitement or funding.” Indeed, CAIR incites, funds, and does much more vis-à-vis terrorism:

Apologizes for terrorist groups: Challenged repeatedly to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, CAIR denounces the acts of violence but not their sponsors.

Is connected to Hamas: Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and many other governments, indirectly created CAIR and the two groups remain tight. Examples: in 1994, CAIR head Nihad Awad publicly declared his support for Hamas; and the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Hamas front group, contributed $5,000 to CAIR; in turn, CAIR exploited the 9/11 attacks to raise money for HLF; and, this past August, demonstrators at a CAIR-sponsored rally in Floridaproclaimed “We are Hamas!”


The Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas front group, made an early $5,000 donation to CAIR to help establish it.

Settled a lawsuit: CAIR initiated a libel lawsuit in 2004 over five statements by a group called Anti-CAIR. But two years later, CAIR settled the suit with prejudice (meaning that it cannot be reopened), implicitly acknowledging the accuracy of Anti-CAIR’s assertions, which included:

  • “CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists”;
  • “CAIR … is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries”;
  • “CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists”; and
  • “CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations.”
For two years, 2004-06, CAIR sued Anti-CAIR, eventually to settle with prejudice.

Includes individuals accused of terrorism: At least seven board members or staff at CAIR have been arrested, denied entry to the US, or were indicted on or pled guilty to or were convicted of terrorist charges: Siraj Wahhaj, Bassem Khafagi, Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Rabih Haddad, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, and Nabil Sadoun.

Is in trouble with the law: Federal prosecutors in 2007 named CAIR (along with two other Islamic organizations) as “unindicted co-conspirators and/or joint venturers” in a criminal conspiracy to support Hamas financially. In 2008, the FBI ended contacts with CAIR because of concern with its continuing terrorist ties.

On learning of the UAE listing, CAIR called it “shocking and bizarre,” then got to work to have the Department of State protest and undo the ruling. Nothing loath, department spokesperson Jeff Rathke noted that the U.S. government, which “does not consider these organizations to be terrorist organizations,” has asked for more information about the UAE decision. The UAE minister of state for Foreign affairs replied that if organizations can show that their “approach has changed,” they are eligible to appeal “to have their names eliminated from the list.”

Pressure from the Obama administration might reverse the UAE listing. Even so, this will not undo its lasting damage. For the first time, an Islamist government has exposed the malign, terroristic quality of CAIR – a stigma CAIR can never escape.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


Also  see:


The Hotheads vs. the Moderates

Gates of Vienna, by Baron Bodissey:

The major divide within the Counterjihad movement is between those who believe in the “Moderate Muslim”, and those who don’t.

Nine years ago, in the early days of this blog, whenever the topic of the Moderate Muslim came up I used to say, “The jury is still out on whether he exists or not.” And the jury was out as far as I was concerned — I had only just begun observing the Great Jihad, and was still gathering evidence.

Well, that was 2005, and this is 2014. I’ve collected enough data now. The jury’s in: The Moderate Muslim does not exist.

Mind you, in a strict ontological sense he does exist. You can find a few moderate Muslims here and there. Sincere, well-meaning, decent people who adhere only lightly to the Koranic basis of their religion, and wish to mold it into something humane and modern. Men like Tarek Fatah and Zuhdi Jasser. Women like Irshad Manji. You can’t help but like them (some of them, anyway), and their stance in the face of death threats from their less moderate co-religionists can be admirable.

But they are few in number. None of them leads a large broad-based following. There is no Moderate Muslim with devoted disciples crowding around him trying to touch the hem of his garment. None of them stands on a podium in front of thousands of cheering supporters. They work for (or found) modestly-funded think-tanks and appear from time to time on TV, eloquently presenting their polite, humane point of view.

The rest of the supposed moderates — people like Tariq Ramadan and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — are really just skilled taqiyya artists for the Muslim Brotherhood, suave persuasive fellows with golden tongues — sometimes several of them apiece. In truth they are no more moderate than Yusuf al-Qaradawi, but simply adept obfuscators whose job it is to anesthetize the cultural elites in Western countries so that they never feel the Islamic stiletto sliding between their ribs.

The rest of 21st-century Islam — Sunni or Shiite or Sufi, Asian or Middle Eastern or African or European — is a seething mass of superstitious backwardness, trapped in an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy* that requires rapine, slaughter, mass destruction, and world domination.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I bring all of this up because of the question and answer session that followed Geert Wilders’ speech in Denmark yesterday.

Daniel Pipes is perhaps the most prominent proponent of the Moderate Muslim. Or, to be more exact, a Moderate Islam. In his disagreement with Geert Wilders, he asserted that in the last forty years Islam has changed — for the worse, unfortunately — and it’s possible that it may change again. Why, asked Dr. Pipes, should we write off the possibility that Islam may change for the better? That Islamic scholars may reinterpret the core foundational texts of Islam in such a way that their religion could be led into a humane modernity?

Daniel Pipes might thus be styled a Moderate Counterjihadist, while Geert Wilders and Lars Hedegaard — not to mention a large chunk of the Danes in the audience, and myself — are the Hotheads. We find the desperate search for the Moderate Muslim to be a faintly ludicrous enterprise.

Even if the longed-for change were to arrive someday, what purpose does it serve to dwell on that faint possibility? Should we modify our policies towards Islam as it exists and is widely practiced now? Would we be well advised to pause and wait for Moderate Islam to somehow, against all odds, appear and revolutionize the Muslim world?

Dr. Pipes acknowledges that we must fight “Islamism”; in that he completely agrees with Messrs. Hedegaard and Wilders. So what practical change of policy would he propose, given his belief that Islam may someday change for the better?

If Islam were to undergo such a change, it would have to occur entirely within Islam itself, with no input from the infidel world. Any interference by non-Muslims in Islamic theological exegesis could only arouse anger and resistance, and might further harden the traditional ijtihad codified a millennium ago.

Therefore hoping for Moderate Islam can produce no useful, practical results for us. None whatsoever.

And to persist in focusing on the Moderate Muslim might even be dangerous. The vain hope of discovering large numbers of Moderates might well attenuate the grim, determined response which will soon become absolutely necessary — in fact, it is already past due — to deal with the nasty realities of our time.

Fortunately, the wind is blowing in the direction of the Hotheads. Thanks to the antics of ISIS and the “lone wolves” of Western jihad, more and more people are latching onto what Geert Wilders says and nodding their heads in agreement.

And, strangely enough, Geert Wilders found himself in the novel position of being a “moderate” compared to one of the Danes in the audience, who told Mr. Wilders that he didn’t go far enough.

The time of the Hotheads is fast approaching.


Below is a video of the speech delivered by Daniel Pipes last Sunday in Copenhagen on the 10th Anniversary of Theo Van Gogh’s Assassination.

Think Tanks for Sale or Rent

by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
September 15, 2014

In a eyebrow-raising 4,000-word exposé, “Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks” published in the New York Times on September 7, Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams and Nicholas Confessore look into the novel issue of foreign governmental financing for American think tanks.

The trio found that while the total scope “is difficult to determine … since 2011, at least 64 foreign governments, state-controlled entities or government officials have contributed to a group of 28 major United States-based research organizations.” Using the sketchy available information, they estimate “a minimum of $92 million in contributions or commitments from overseas government interests over the last four years. The total is certainly more.”

In exchange for this largesse, the research institutions in question offered their donors two main benefits: One, they pressured staff members both to “refrain from criticizing the donor governments” and “to reach conclusions friendly to the government [that had provided] financing.” And two, they have been “pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities.” The result: Overseas money has thrown doubt on the legitimacy and objectivity of think-tank research while “increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington.”

My responses, a week later, to this bombshell of a report:

Some of this funding has been given clandestinely, with think tanks taking money under the table while benefiting from a moral image of disinterestedness. In the most prominently egregious example, the government of Qatar, as the NYT reported, “funneled hundreds of millions to Hamas-led Gaza and encouraged its rocket and tunnel assault on Israel,” also signed a four-year $14.8 million deal in 2013 to fund the Brookings Institution where Martin Indyk serves as vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program. Indyk worked for Secretary of State John Kerry from July 2013 to June 2014 as special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. As someone on the same payroll as is Israel’s mortal enemy, how could Indyk be expected to act in a neutral way?

Martin Indyk (right) with his former boss, Secretary of State John Kerry.

The president of Brookings, Strobe Talbott, not only did not apologize or show a shred of embarrassment that foreign governments underwrote some 12 percent of his funding, but had the temerity to respond that “think tanks should take money from foreign governments.” Deploying such self-serving buzzwords as “governance” and phrases like “the philanthropic culture is changing,” he fatuously argued that it “is entirely appropriate for us to work with [governments] when we have the capacity to contribute analysis and prescription on issues that they are dealing with in the policy realm.”


The Brookings Institute, founded 1916, is both the oldest American think tank and a leader ​in taking monies from foreign taxpayers.

The Times article exposed – astonishingly – the corruption of liberal establishments such as the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress, and the National Democratic Institute. How honest, honorable, and unexpected from a newspaper that has become the nation’s billboard for unthinking liberal bromides. Conversely, the exposé found not a penny going to conservative institutions such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Hudson Institute. (If the Times continues with journalism of this caliber, I might even pay for its iPhone app!)


Mitchell Bard tells about the real Middle Eastern lobby working in Washington.

Similarly, concerning the Middle East, where the article mentions several countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) whose governments play this influence-and-opinion-buying game, not one of them is called Israel. This pattern emphatically verifies the thesis presented by Mitchell Bard in the subtitle his 2010 book, The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East (Harper). As Steven J. Rosen, formerly of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, notes, if “measured by level of effort, if not results, the Arab lobby is equal, or superior to, anything done by the friends of Israel.”

Finally, the Times exposé placed all think-tanks on the defensive. If white-shoe organizations like Brookings are on the take, none of us is exempt from suspicion. In this light, the organization I head (slogan: “Promoting American interests”) immediately issued a press release, “The Middle East Forum Takes No Funds from Foreign Governments,” which stated unequivocally that “we have never sought or taken funding from any foreign government, nor from any agent of a foreign government. And we never will.”

More broadly, as John B. Judis argues, “foreign funding of think tanks is corrupting our democracy.” Therefore, it’s time for all research organizations presenting themselves as providing objective analysis to take a similar pledge, or else to label clearly who bought and paid for their conclusions.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

Is CAIR Lying about a Rally for Hamas?

by Daniel Pipes
Gatestone Institute
August 22, 2014

A “Stop the Bloodshed in Gaza” rally in downtown Miami on July 20 featured aggressive Islamist chants typical of anti-Israel events. In English, the demonstrators yelled “We are Hamas!” and “We are Jihad!” (as can be seen and heard here). In Hebrew, a Hamas partisan screamed at an Israel-supporter, “Son of a bitch” and “Go to Hell!” and made an obscene arm gesture. In Arabic, the crowd chanted the infamous “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jew, Muhammad’s army will return” (a reference to a massacre of Jews under the auspices of Islam’s prophet in A.D. 629).

As I say, just a typical anti-Israel demonstration, and far from the worst. Typical – except that some of its sponsors desperately seek respectability.

In a July 23 report on the demonstration, investigative researcher Danielle Avel posted a scan of a glossy paper flier advertising the event, listing its seven sponsors:

American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Syrian American Council of South Florida (SAC), American Muslims for Emergency & Relief (AMER), and American Muslims Foundation.

The event’s Facebook page lists a coalition of eight organizations, some of which overlap with those on the flier:

Join us & spread the word! In coordination with our coalition: Al-Awda Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-FL, POWIR, Broward Green Party, CAIR, National Lawyers Guild (South Florida), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – FAU, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – FIU.

Two groups in particular, CAIR and ICNA, caught Avel’s eye because they aspire to invitations to the White House, appearances on network television and at leading universities, and other signs of public acceptance. What took place in Miami, she correctly noted, reveals their true extremism.

Six days later, on July 29, CAIR’s Florida chapter responded with a denial:

CAIR-Florida was not part of, did not plan, did not sponsor, did not participate in, and had absolutely nothing to do with the July 20 rally. If any document lists CAIR-Florida as a sponsor of the event, that listing was included without CAIR-Florida’s permission.

I doubt the veracity of this denial for several reasons.

  • CAIR’s mendacity is so widespread that I have an entire bibliography of my writings exposing the reasons not to trust it.
  • The flier, of which I have a copy, twice states that Sofian Zakkout organized the rally. Zakkout is so close to CAIR, he’s effectively a staff volunteer: he coordinates with it, is quoted by it, seeks helpfrom it, and is listed as a contact by it. (For more on Zakkout, see Avel’s exposé.) A year earlier, he listed CAIR’s Florida branch on another rally flier. It beggars the imagination that he would list CAIR without authorization.
  • The Facebook page still lists CAIR as a sponsor, two weeks after CAIR’s statement of denial.
  • Perhaps CAIR seeks to conceal the truth through semantics. Both the national organization (on the Facebook page) and the Florida chapter (on the flier) are listed as sponsors. The July 29 statement only denies permission from the latter, not the former. It is more than credible that CAIR nationalgave its permission to be listed as a sponsor while CAIR’s Florida chapter did not.

Given these facts, I disbelieve CAIR’s statement.

I do believe it sponsored the vile event in Miami; that its denial of that sponsorship is false; and that the despicable words at the Miami rally revealed the true face of CAIR.

CAIR must not be validated by invitations and appearances. It should be treated as a marginal and despised group like the Ku Klux Klan or the Nation of Islam.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


Also see: