Dr. Daniel Pipes: Trump’s “extreme vetting” should include THESE questions

pipesThe Rebel, by Ezra Levant, February 11, 2017:

Trump has repeatedly promised that going forward, would-be immigrants would be subjected to “extreme vetting.” Dr. Daniel Pipes joins us to talk about his comprehensive list of suggested questions and methodology that he says the Trump administration could and should use during this process:

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

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.

ISIS

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.

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THE MIDDLE EAST PROSPECT

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.