ISIS Threatening To Open A New Front In Lebanon

Is ISIS about to make the situation in the Levant even worse?

EU Names Hezbollah Terrorist Group

The foreign ministers of the European Union have officially designated the military wing of the Lebanese Shi’ite organization Hezbollah as a terrorist group: (Reuters) – The European Union agreed on Monday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist, a move driven by concerns over the Lebanese militant group’s roles in a […]

Syria’s Civil War Inspiring Sectarian Violence Outside Syria

Syria’s violence is slipping across it’s borders.That’s not good news at all.

Israel Bombs Syria Over Weapons Transfer

Yesterday we had yet another indication of just how easy it is for the civil war in Syria to turn into something far more dangerous: WASHINGTON — Israel aircraft bombed a target in Syria overnight Thursday, an Obama administration official said Friday night, as United States officials said they were considering military options, including carrying out their […]

How to Spot Bogus “The Jihadists are Hooking up with Latin American Drug Cartel” Stories

Since 9/11 there has been a steady trickle of stories about jihadists hooking up with Latin American drug cartels and the like. Here is a guide of story points that can help you identify when such a story is almost certainly bogus.

Trump Bows to Radical Islam!

Apparently the new Miss USA is a Muslim.  To Debbie Schussel this means that Donald Trump is a “dhimmi” (which means, “a non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law”):  “Donald Trump, Dhimmi: Miss Hezbollah Rima Fakih Wins Miss USA; Rigged for Muslima? Miss Oklahoma’s Arizona Immigration Answer.” Now, I do not […]

Obama Continues Indefinite Detention of Terrorism Suspects

Rusty Shackleford: Bush-Hitler: Holding terrorists indefinitely without charge in Gitmo. Hope-Change: Holding terrorists indefinitely without charge somewhere else. As Jacob Sullum notes in much more thorough post, it’s a natural consequence of the Obama administration’s continuing the Bush perspective that we’re at war with terrorists. In Holder’s view, then, we are engaged in a war […]

Mahdi Army Transforming into Salvation Army?

The Mahdi Army might soon be the Iraqi equivalent of the Salvation Army, Gina Chon reports for the Wall Street Journal. Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — long a thorn in the side of the U.S. military and Iraqi government — intends to disarm his once-dominant Mahdi Army militia and remake it as a social-services organization. […]

Tony Snow Dies of Cancer

Tony Snow has died. He was only 53. CNN Breaking: Former White House press secretary Tony Snow has died at the age of 53 after a second battle with cancer. Snow, who had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a recurrence of the disease, left his White House job September. 14, 2007, and joined CNN as […]

Is Time on the Iranians’ Side?

That’s the central claim of David Ignatius’s column in the Washington Post this morning: So imagine that you are Qassem Soleimani, commander of a covert Iranian army deployed across the Middle East: You doubt the Bush administration would run the risk of a military strike against Iran, but you can’t be sure. You think America […]

Decapitation as a Counter-Terror Strategy

Aaron Mannes has done an extensive statistical analysis on the effectiveness of decapitation (in the figurative as well as the literal sense) in counter-terrorism. It is conventional wisdom that removing an organization’s leaders is an effective counter-terror strategy, but the quantitative analysis is less clear on the issue. Most of the successes focus on specific […]

Mullen: We ‘Will Have to Deal with Iran in the Very Near Future’

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a very profound statement at Monday night’s Atlantic Council awards dinner that has received virtually no press notice: That we “will have to deal with Iran in the very near future.” Here’s the context: We also live in a time where Iran routinely […]

Defeated Maliki Accepts Cease-Fire

Six days of Shiite-on-Shiite warfare in Basra appear over after Mahdi militia chief Moktada al-Sadr sued for peace* and the government agreed in a deal brokered by Iran. Whether this gets scored a “win” for Sadr or Prime Minister Maliki will likely vary depending on the predisposition of the evaluator. Based on what we know […]

Counterinsurgency Dulling Combat Skills?

Thomas Ricks reports that Matt Matthews, a historian at the Army’s Combat Studies Institute, has written a new report concluding that “five years of fighting insurgents in Iraq may also have dulled U.S. soldiers’ skills at more conventional combat.” The study, apparently, isn’t a case study of the U.S. military but rather the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah […]

Hezbollah Leader Imad Mughniyeh Killed

Imad Mughniyeh, the man behind the the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut and the TWA Flight 847 hijacking, has been killed. A senior Hezbollah commander suspected in some of the highest-profile international terrorist attacks of the last 25 years has died in an explosion in Syria, Hezbollah TV said Wednesday. Imad Mughniyeh […]

Most Saudis Oppose al Qaeda

A recent survey of Saudi Arabian adults finds a complicated view of America, terrorism, and freedom. Most Saudi Arabia citizens interviewed in a poll oppose terrorism and want closer ties with the United States. But many Saudis remain opposed to making peace with Israel, according to what researchers call an unprecedented survey of the kingdom. […]

Does a Muslim Belong in the Cabinet?

Mansoor Ijaz reports that Mitt Romney has announced he would not appoint a Muslim to the cabinet were he elected president. His reasoning is a mite peculiar: I asked Mr. Romney whether he would consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that […]

Defining ‘Success’ for the Annapolis Conference

Like most analysts, Peter Brookes sees little chance that the Annapolis Conference will solve the longstanding Arab-Israeli crisis. He does think, however, that it is already a resounding success. The bulk of his column is devoted to the obstacles that will almost surely prevent much substantive change. Several major players have an interest in keeping […]

Lebanon President Steps Down without Successor

Lebanon’s president stepped down at midnight, as required by law, with no successor in place, leaving the country in constitutional crisis. Reuters reports a power vacuum: Lebanon stepped into uncharted territory on Saturday when time ran out on attempts to find a new president before President Emile Lahoud’s mandate expired. Lahoud, a pro-Syrian retired general […]

Condoleeza Rice’s Highs and Lows

While Condoleeza Rice’s tenure as Secretary of State is, so far as I’m aware, not set to expire for another fourteen months, the AP has nonetheless rolled out a story on Rice’s Highs and Lows. Interestingly, the listed highs are pretty substantial and the lows seem to be almost entirely happenstance. Among the lows: Getting […]

Israeli Soldier Exposes Breasts to Flee Interrogation

Now, here’s a headline you don’t see every day: “Soldier flees interrogation by exposing breasts.” An IDF soldier fled an interrogation room by exposing her breasts to a stunned officer. The soldier was interrogated at the Biranit army base on the northern border after she refused to undergo a drugs test. A short while after […]


Monday’s essay by Christopher Hitchens defending the term “Islamofascism” drew quite a bit of blogospheric reaction. Matt Yglesias responds to it with what amounts to a straw man and yet backhandedly makes a valid point. [The term] provide[s] a spurious patina of unity and sameness to diverse phenomena involving Muslims Behaving Badly so that al-Qaeda, […]

September Attack on a Nuclear Reactor?

I really wish that there were new information in the New York Times report on Israel’s air attack on a Syrian facility early in September. It looks to me as though the same info continues to be chewed over and presented in different ways: WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 — Israel’s air attack on Syria last month […]

France to Rejoin NATO Military Command

All signs point to France rejoining NATO’s military structure more than forty years after declaring its independence and kicking the alliance headquarters out of Paris. Norman Polmar provides some background: France is expected to soon rejoin NATO’s military command after a 40-year absence. The French government withdrew from the NATO military structure in 1966 (although […]

North Korea Smuggling Nukes to Syria and Iran?

The U.S. has quietly acknowledged that Israel did in fact bomb Syrian territory last week — apparently to take out suspected nuclear weapons installations. After days of silence from the Israeli government, American officials confirmed Tuesday that Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes inside Syria last week, the first such attack since 2003. A Defense Department official […]

The Emerging Middle East Security Paradigm

I’d like to draw your attention to a very interesting article from Parameters, “Iran and the United States: The Emerging Security Paradigm in the Middle East” (hat tip: Mark Safranski). The argument of the article is two-fold: Iran is a crucial player not only in the Middle East, but more broadly in west Asia and […]

Losing The War Against Radical Islam?

Fareed Zakaria notes that there are several hopeful signs in the fight against Islamist terrorism, including the capture of important leaders and several schisms threatening to break apart alliances in Iraq and elsewhere. Moreover, he argues, the jihadists face numerous structural problems. The split between Sunnis and Shiites—which plays a role in Lebanon as well—is […]

Arab Agenda

Marc Lynch has been keeping track of the major agenda items at the wide circulation Arab media — specifically, “al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya programs (since they are the two most-viewed TV stations with a region-wide audience) and the content of major Arab op-ed pages” — for several years in an effort to track anti-Americanism and the […]

Failed States Index 2007

Foreign Policy has published the latest edition of The Failed States Index 2007. It is not a cause for celebration: Few encouraging signs emerged in 2006 to suggest the world is on a path to greater peace and stability. The year began with violent protests that erupted from Indonesia to Nigeria over the publication of […]

Mahdi Army Disintegrating into Splinter Groups

The Mahdi Army appears to be breaking up. (No word on whether Yoko Ono is somehow involved.) The violent Shiite militia known as the Mahdi Army is breaking into splinter groups, with up to 3,000 gunmen now financed directly by Iran and no longer loyal to the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, adding a potentially even […]

More on the Former Iranian Defense Minister (Updated)

The Washington Post is now confirming the Asharq Alawsat story I noted yesterday: A former Iranian deputy defense minister who once commanded the Revolutionary Guard has left his country and is cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, providing information on Hezbollah and Iran’s ties to the organization, according to a senior U.S. official.Ali Rez Asgari disappeared […]

Iranian General Re-Appears

This has got to have some folks in Iran nervous: A RETIRED Iranian general who went missing in Turkey last month has defected and sought asylum in the US, according to a well-connected Arabic newspaper published in London. The newspaper, al-Shark al-Awsat, cited “high-profile” sources saying former Iranian deputy defence minister and Revolutionary Guard commander […]

Assassinating Iranian Nuclear Scientists

Glenn Greenwald, who as of today is blogging for Salon, has a rather shocking post up entitled, “Extremist Bush supporter calls for murder of scientists.” I figured some whacked out global warming foe had gone over the edge. It turns out the culprit is none other than “University of Tennessee Law Professor and right-wing blogger […]

Experts Say U.S. Losing War on Terror

Foreign Policy magazine has conducted a survey in conjunction with the liberal Center for American Progress of “more than 100 of America’s top foreign-policy experts—Republicans and Democrats alike,” dubbing it The Terrorism Index. Highlights: 75 percent say the United States is losing the war on terror 81 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous […]

The End of War as We Know It

Elliot Cohen reviews The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World, a controversial new book by British General Rupert Smith. A key excerpt: [T]he U.S. military still has a long way to go in adapting to the world in which it finds itself. On the walls in our war colleges still […]

Secret Israel-Syria Peace Pact?

Haaretz Correspondent Akiva Eldar reports that the governments of Israel and Egypt held a “series of secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006” that created a series of “understandings.” An agreement of principles will be signed between the two countries, and following the fulfillment of all commitments, a peace agreement will be […]

Death of the Arab Nation-State?

Yoav Fromer expands the Iraq as Humpty Dumpty meme at TNR, perhaps even more soberly: Despite utopian visions of an Arab nation-state with a modernized economy, social justice, and constitutional republicanism, the reality was sobering. Failed central planning, lack of capital, excessive military expenditures, and inadequate education–among other factors–cut short grandiose plans. The result plunged […]

New Intelligence Chairman Clueless on Terrorism

CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein interviews incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes on his views about major terrorist groups. It turns out he has no clue whether al Qaeda is Sunni or Shiite and has apparently never heard of Hezbollah. The dialogue went like this: Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or […]

Hezbollah Training Iraq’s Mahdi Army

Michael Gordon and Dexter Filkins report that Hezbollah is training al-Sadr’s Shiite militia. A senior American intelligence official said Monday that the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah had been training members of the Mahdi Army, the Iraqi Shiite militia led by Moktada al-Sadr. The official said that 1,000 to 2,000 fighters from the Mahdi Army and other […]

Iraq Study Group Wants Diplomacy with Iran and Syria

The Iraq Study Group, headed by James Baker, will recommend overtures to Iran and Syria in an effort to solve the crisis. A draft report on strategies for Iraq, which will be debated here by a bipartisan commission beginning Monday, urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but […]

Iran and Syria Helping Hezbollah Rearm

Thanks to help from their benefactors Iran and Syria, Hezbollah has rearmed to something approaching pre-war levels. Iran is smuggling weapons through Syria to re-arm Lebanese allies Hizballah, despite renewed efforts by United Nations peacekeepers and the Lebanese army to seal off the mountain borders with Syria in the wake of last summer’s war between […]

Pierre Gemayel, Lebanese Parliamentarian, Assassinated

Pierre Gemayel, a third generation leader of Lebanon’s Christian minority, was assassinated this morning. Prominent anti-Syrian Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday, his Phalange Party radio station and Lebanon’s official news agency reported. His fatal shooting will certainly heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where the leading Muslim […]

Iran Grooming Bin Laden Successor

A bizarre story in London’s Telegraph is entitled “Iran plotting to groom bin Laden’s successor.” The details are scarce: Iran is trying to form an unholy alliance with al-Qa’eda by grooming a new generation of leaders to take over from Osama bin Laden, The Daily Telegraph can reveal. Western intelligence officials say the Iranians are […]

Cutting and Running With Honor

Via Jim Henley, I see that former NSA head William Odom argues in the LAT that cutting and running is our only option in Iraq and that the only question is how to overcome the political obstacles to doing so. To be sure, Odom has been opposed to the war from the start and is […]

Is the UN Good for Anything?

I’ve often commented that the United Nations deserves its bad rap for futility in collective security matters but that it is actually quite effective in its humanitarian endeavors, including pure peacekeeping missions (as opposed to peace enforcement missions that require active combat). Mark Leon Goldberg, responding to a bit of snark from the good folks […]

Maher Arar

You know, I have to wonder…where is Michelle Malkin in regards to the Maher Arar case. OTTAWA, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Canadian police wrongly identified an Ottawa software engineer as an Islamic extremist, prompting U.S. agents to deport him to Syria, where he was tortured, an official inquiry concluded on Monday. Maher Arar, who holds […]

Kissinger: West Must Unite to Avoid War of Civilizations

Henry Kissinger argues that internecine bickering over the Iraq War and misunderstanding of the consequences of the Israel-Hezbollah war could lead to dire consequences. He calls for a comprehensive cross-Atlantic strategy to stave off a “war of civilizations.” Everything returns to the challenge of Iran. It trains, finances, and equips Hezbollah, the state within a […]

U.S. Embassy in Syria Attacked

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus came under attack this morning. Islamic militants attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy in Damascus on Tuesday using automatic rifles, hand grenades and at least one van rigged with explosives, the government said. Four people were killed in the brazen attack, including three of the assailants. No Americans were hurt, […]

A New Strategy for Iran

Jonathan Rauch has an essay recommending a different strategy for containing Iran that ignores the rather foolish dichotomy of “all-out war or all-out surrender” that seems to be being pushed by Iran hawks. Here’s a tidbit: Today, the United States enjoys overwhelming conventional superiority over Iran, a fact that Iran knows well and respects. But […]

Bush American Legion Speech

After controversial speeches to the American Legion by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, President Bush yesterday delivered a speech that, finally, outlines his strategy in the fight against the Jihadists in a succinct, comprehensive way. The enemies of liberty come from different parts of the world, and they take inspiration from different sources. […]

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