Muslims take Manhattan: 2014 Muslim Day parade


Guns for peace, pre-confiscation. (Image: pakayhall, Vigilant Squirrel Brigade)
Guns for peace, pre-confiscation. (Image: pakayhall, Vigilant Squirrel Brigade)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

Whither Camp David?

Is anyone THIS inept?

In deciding the famous case between two women claiming the same child, King Solomon propounded his “splitting the baby” solution because he knew there would be no need to actually cut the baby in two.  It would be clear from the claimants’ responses who the real mother was.

The Obama administration, by contrast, makes “splitting the baby” a regular feature of its policies.  This is invariably a bad idea.  At best, you end up with two pieces of a dead baby: something no one can use, everyone will be upset over, and that gives at least one party to your compromise nothing else to lose.

The latest instance of splitting the baby is the administration’s decision to impose a putatively friendly, encouraging, partial suspension of aid to Egypt, as a method of rebuking the Egyptians for ousting Mohammed Morsi, without cutting off aid altogether. Continue reading “Whither Camp David?”

Egypt: This is big

This will change everything.

One way to gauge the import of the conflict erupting in Egypt is by looking at the character of media coverage in America.  Both sides of the political spectrum have been slow to advance narratives of blame.  What’s going on in Egypt doesn’t fit into any pat, off-the-shelf narratives.

There has been a curious absence of “themage” on the left: no unified narrative about this all being the fault of Bush-era failures of good fellowship, or of the plight of the Palestinians, or (my personal favorite) of warmongering arms dealers, oil mavens, or ([insert ROTFLOL here]) international banks.

Meanwhile, blame-fixing criticisms of President Obama are getting little traction on the right.  (I even saw Sean Hannity shouted down by other conservatives the other day, when he was advancing an Obama’s-to-blame theory.)  I have the sense that most on the right see – Continue reading “Egypt: This is big”

A unified theory of Benghazi

Arms, and influence.

There are several threads that converge in the emerging drama of the Benghazi attack on 9/11/2012.  One relates to the involvement of terrorists out of Egypt, with whom ousted president Mohammed Morsi is implicated.   A theory about their purpose focuses on securing the release of the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdul Rahman, sought by Morsi and referenced by him on several occasions as an issue between Egypt and the United States.

One thread involves that “awful Internet video,” Innocence of Muslims, and the fomentation of an attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo – by associates of the Morsi government – at the same time as the attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.  Regarding this thread, one supposition about the significance of the attacks is that they were meant to pressure the U.S. into clamping down on “defamation of Islam.”  But an equally important issue is the question why the video figured so large in the official explanation of the Benghazi attack offered by the Obama administration – in contravention of the assessment provided by the intelligence community.

A third thread Continue reading “A unified theory of Benghazi”

Morsi down, Saudis up in battle for Syria

Saudis on fire.

Mohammed Morsi’s call for holy war in Syria spooked the Egyptian military, and it alarmed the Saudis too.  I suspect it even played a role in the decision of Qatar’s new emir to depose his father (long a supporter of Morsi and promoter of Islamist influence in the Arab Spring nations) at the end of June.  The new Sheikh Tamim has moved quickly to shift some of his father’s key policies, and we are likely to see more solidarity between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks – but with the Saudis now edging into the lead.

As Qatar’s profile changes, there will be a significant shift in the dynamics of Islamism, one of whose best-organized factions (Qaradawi and his International Union of Muslim Scholars) has had a reliable source of funding and tacit national support from the oil-rich emirate.  There will be blowback within Qatar, of course; the new emir will have to tack and trim to discourage the kind of protests and terror attacks that now routinely menace neighboring countries like Iraq, Bahrain, and Jordan.  As Turkey’s Islamist minister to the EU, Egemen Bagis, warns us, Islamism is here to stay.  (Bagis is the Turkish minister who threatened Angela Merkel in June with an “inauspicious end” and “severe retaliation,” if a resumption of Turkey’s EU negotiations were blocked because of the Erdogan government’s recent response to protesters.)

But as the drama unfolds, factions will bob upward and downward Continue reading “Morsi down, Saudis up in battle for Syria”