The week that was

The issue of linkage has been on our minds of late.  From the well-publicized testimony of Gen. David Petraeus underscoring the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in adversely affecting U.S. strategic interests, to Roger Cohen echoing that notion in the New York Times in the language of ‘The Biden Effect’, there is a growing appreciation of the interconnectedness of, ...

GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images

The issue of linkage has been on our minds of late.  From the well-publicized testimony of Gen. David Petraeus underscoring the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in adversely affecting U.S. strategic interests, to Roger Cohen echoing that notion in the New York Times in the language of 'The Biden Effect', there is a growing appreciation of the interconnectedness of, and reactions to, American policies in the Middle East.  On the Channel this week,  Mark Perry followed up on his initial Petraeus scoop with some historical perspective on the U.S. military's relationship to the Israel-Palestine portfolio, while in a much discussed piece, Thomas Hegghammer brought to bear the debate on whether it is America's policies, or its culture writ large, that most focuses the animus of anti-Western jihadism.  Money quote from Hegghammer after the break:

  My claim is a moderate one: Palestine matters and should be taken into consideration by counterterrorism strategists. I am not saying that Palestine is the only cause of anti-Western jihadism or even the most important one. However, of all the causes over which Western policymakers have influence, Palestine is probably among the most significant. I am also not suggesting that active militants will lay down their arms if a peace agreement is signed. What I am saying is that in such an event, recruitment will likely be reduced. The available evidence suggests that images of dead Palestinians facilitate recruitment to anti-American jihadi organizations.

The Channel had a round up of some of the ongoing human rights questions in many Middle Eastern countries. Joe Stork uncovered the recurring trend of torture in Bahrain and the Kingdom's refusal to address such violations; Uri Zaki analyzed the Israeli Defense Forces' policy of closed military zones in Bil'in and Na'alin; Issandr El Amrani argued that Egyptian civil society is at risk as the Mubarak government moves against NGOs; and Dalia Mogahed of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies looked at new data on the freedom of women in the Middle East.

The issue of linkage has been on our minds of late.  From the well-publicized testimony of Gen. David Petraeus underscoring the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in adversely affecting U.S. strategic interests, to Roger Cohen echoing that notion in the New York Times in the language of ‘The Biden Effect’, there is a growing appreciation of the interconnectedness of, and reactions to, American policies in the Middle East.  On the Channel this week,  Mark Perry followed up on his initial Petraeus scoop with some historical perspective on the U.S. military’s relationship to the Israel-Palestine portfolio, while in a much discussed piece, Thomas Hegghammer brought to bear the debate on whether it is America’s policies, or its culture writ large, that most focuses the animus of anti-Western jihadism.  Money quote from Hegghammer after the break:

 

My claim is a moderate one: Palestine matters and should be taken into consideration by counterterrorism strategists. I am not saying that Palestine is the only cause of anti-Western jihadism or even the most important one. However, of all the causes over which Western policymakers have influence, Palestine is probably among the most significant. I am also not suggesting that active militants will lay down their arms if a peace agreement is signed. What I am saying is that in such an event, recruitment will likely be reduced. The available evidence suggests that images of dead Palestinians facilitate recruitment to anti-American jihadi organizations.

The Channel had a round up of some of the ongoing human rights questions in many Middle Eastern countries. Joe Stork uncovered the recurring trend of torture in Bahrain and the Kingdom’s refusal to address such violations; Uri Zaki analyzed the Israeli Defense Forces’ policy of closed military zones in Bil’in and Na’alin; Issandr El Amrani argued that Egyptian civil society is at risk as the Mubarak government moves against NGOs; and Dalia Mogahed of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies looked at new data on the freedom of women in the Middle East.

And the rest…

Sasha Polakow-Suransky offered a unique historical parallel in discussing how AIPACs current support of Israel wasn’t always so unqualified–underscoring its trepidation with Israel’s dealings with apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.  Shifting gears, Ben Simpfendorfer discussed the strategic interests of China in the Gulf, while Bilal Y. Saab argued that we really have no idea what Iran would do in the case of an attack on its soil.    

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