How can a Palestinian state be built? For those who believe that the “two-state outcome” is important, and this includes the governments of Europe and the United States, that’s a critical question. Former prime minister Salam Fayyad had an answer: start building, now, under the Israeli occupation, despite the occupation, against the occupation. Get ready for independence step by step. Read more »
The new Iranian government under President Hassan Rohani is very often being described as “moderate” these days. For example, The Wall Street Journal‘s story on his election was entitled “Moderate Cleric Hassan Rohani Wins Iran Vote.” The Financial Times referred to his “moderate outlook.” One could cite a hundred more examples. Read more »
In The Wall Street Journal today, I explain why I believe American law, interests, and values require a suspension of aid to Egypt. (The opposite side is taken by my friend John Bolton, in the Journal as well, here. The Journal sums up my argument this way: “By contravening U.S. law, the Obama administration is sending a dangerous message to Gen. Sisi.” Not a bad summary. Read more »
Yesterday the United States announced that it would guarantee up to $1.25 billion in loans to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The announcement from the State Department said this:
The United States today re-affirmed its strong commitment to the people of Jordan by signing a sovereign loan guarantee agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The United States’ guarantee makes it easier for the Government of Jordan to borrow money from international capital markets and provide critical services to its citizens as it enacts economic reforms while also hosting more than half a million refugees fleeing the violence inside Syria. The signing of this loan guarantee agreement fulfills the commitment made by President Obama in Amman, Jordan, March 22, 2013, when he announced his intention to work with Congress to provide loan guarantees to Jordan this year. This will be the first U.S. loan guarantee to the Government of Jordan. Pursuant to the loan guarantee agreement, the United States would guarantee repayment of principal and interest on the issuance of up to a $1.25 billion, seven-year Jordanian sovereign bond. Read more »
Today Israel will free 26 murderers, a price exacted by the PLO before it would return to peace negotiations. Israel has entered into such deals before, for example freeing over 1,000 prisoners in exchange for the captured corporal Gilad Shalit. But in that case the decision was Israel’s own, and the United States rightly played no role. Weighing whether the maintenance of its policy of bringing every soldier home was worth the price was an Israeli, not an American, responsibility. Read more »
Why did the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt behave in ways that led to its removal from power so quickly–and with widespread public support for that move? Can the Brotherhood (or “MB”) ever change, or is that a foolish Western misunderstanding of the group? Read more »
Is there a future for the Jewish communities of Europe?
Two-thirds of a century after the Second World War, this question remains a troubling one–above all to many Jews who live there. It is examined in depth in a brilliant new article entitled “You Only Live Twice” by Michel Gurfinkiel in Mosaic, the invaluable web site dealing with Jewish life, thought, and religion. Gurfinkiel is a French journalist and writer who for some years edited the conservative journal Valeurs Actuelles, is the founder and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, and serves on the board of governors of the Consistoire, the organization representing France’s Jewish communities. Read more »
Is there anything the United States can do to slow or stop the recent advances being made by Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, who are getting valuable help from Iranian and Hezbollah troops?
Unfortunately, the message from the Obama administration and from the Pentagon is “no.” From those sources we hear that the only military options are hopelessly expensive and dangerous. CJCS chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey once said 700 sorties would be needed before we even start, to suppress Syrian air defenses, and billions of dollars would be spent. Sen. John McCain has rightly excoriated Gen. Dempsey and the others who are taking this misleading line. Read more »
This may seem to be a simple question, but efforts to answer it show that it is actually complex. For one thing, what’s a “settlement?” What are the “major blocks?” How many Israelis live in the major blocks and how many in smaller settlements beyond the security fence? Are those settlements growing? Read more »
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.