Home Ed: 36: February/2011

Ed: 36: February/2011

The Israeli Way of War

The dry forest on the Israeli-Lebanese border provided shade but little relief. Rain had not fallen for months, and the blistering season-long heat wave that would later set parts of northern Israel on fire was currently burning down forests in Russia.

Barak’s Bolt from the Blue

With his 15-year-old political stocks in the doldrums and his stint as prime minister from 1999 to early 2001 a distant memory, Defence Minister Ehud Barak was already being politically eulogised. However, the retired general showed that even at 69 he could still manage the sort of state-of-the-art ambush for which he earned fame as a soldier.

Iran and “Covert Action”

We're in an era of "covert action." In the US, that phrase went into disrepute in the 1970s, when Congress' Church Committee exposed hare-brained CIA plots to eliminate foreign leaders, such as assassinating Fidel Castro with exploding cigars. President Ford banned assassinations, a chastened CIA cast many veteran officers into the cold, and Congress imposed new limits on covert activities.

The Prison of Hate

But the ultimate source of Arab backwardness, unmentioned by most of these studies, lies in the debasement of the Arab mind. When the only diagnosis Egyptians can offer for their various predicaments - ranging from sectarian terrorism to a recent spate of freak shark attacks at a Sinai beach resort - is that it's all a Zionist plot, you know that the country is in very deep trouble.

Essay: The Case for Pessimism

Palestinian political elites, of both the so-called "secular" and Islamist varieties, are dead set against partitioning the Land of Israel/Palestine with the Jews. They regard all of Palestine as their patrimony and believe that it will eventually be theirs.

Media Microscope: On the Fault Line

Sadly, it seems there will always be those who, regardless of the true nature of tensions in the Middle East, and despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary, sheet all the blame home to Israel.

The Last Word: Sea of Blood Libels

On a balmy summer's day in Sydney recently, a friend who is a respected intellectual figure and religious personality in a significant Muslim-majority country told me some of the contemporary claims about Jews and Israel which he encounters, from leading public figures, on a daily basis.

Editorial: The Winds of Change

The winds of change appear to be blowing once again in the Middle East. Will the historical events in Tunisia be a defining moment for Arab states in finally moving away from tyrannical rule and towards the path of democratisation? Or will Lebanon, where Iran’s terrorist clients Hezbollah are seeking to call the shots, be the template for the region’s future?

Scribblings: Time to rethink Fayyadism?

[The study] does not mean that Fayyad should not be supported. He remains almost certainly better than any alternative. But it does mean there should be some scepticism directed at Fayyad's claims to be building the institutions of statehood. That is not true if those institutions are completely dependent on a huge, ongoing flow of foreign aid.