International Affairs

International Affairs

Sea, sand, Lake Habbaniya and summer ... in Iraq

What's the first word or phrase that you think of when someone mentions Iraq? Most would say "suicide bombings." Others would say "war." But I doubt that many, if any, would say "beach."

This past Sunday's New York Times carried the remarkable story of Lake Habbaniya, a former terrorist stronghold that has now become a place for Iraqis, Sunni and Shiite, to come together and leave behind the travails and uncertainty of their daily lives:

A few hours outside Baghdad in the middle of Iraq’s vast western desert is a sight that could understandably be mistaken for a mirage: a long, sandy beach filled with thousands of people swimming and dancing barefoot under the hot sun without apparent care ... It is amazing, but it is real: for the first time since the outbreak of the sectarian war in 2006, Iraq is enjoying a beach season.

Ling and Lee and the Al Gore Religion

I am sure every American is delighted that the two journalists were safely removed from the desperation of North Korea’s twilight. If ever there was a realm that time has passed by, it is that one. The kind of thing Kafka used to write about: People stuck in the time warp of their youthful glory days when the trends and the stirring movements had well passed and the world had passed them by. Nostalgicos. But there is something about these two reporters that makes them seem more like missionaries than reporters.

And this story is so much like a modern-day retelling of the classic story of American missionaries getting “accidentally” caught alone somewhere behind the lines and some high-profile American politician or celebrity or both like Bill Clinton is sent out to save them — isn’t this Jesse Jackson’s job? — out there in the Godless realm of the Foreign Devil, raising the celebrity’s profile and the profile of the whatever, esoteric, Christian cause that no one has ever heard of before but everybody knows all about now.

Netanyahu’s Speech for Peace: Is Anyone Listening?

This piece is also published in The Washington Times.

I really don't get it. On June 14, less than a month after his meeting with President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave one of the most comprehensive, thoughtful and highly personal speeches supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process of any Israeli prime minister in recent years, perhaps ever.

One would have thought his speech would have been big news in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. Mr. Netanyahu for the first time clearly stated he would support a two-state solution, albeit with understandable requirements to guarantee Israel's security, despite leaving a different impression during last month's U.S. visit.

Whose Supreme Leader?

One of my favorite public moments was in the mid-1970s at a football game in New York. Howard Cosell, the most prominent announcer in his day, was in the stands looking for a few celebrities to talk to at halftime. He was having a playful little back-and-forth chatter with John Lennon, who had not long before moved to New York. Then he said to him, “I’ll see you, John. I’ve got to go interview the Gipper now.”

Lennon said, “Who’s the Gipper?”

America's Credibility in Iran

What's happening in Iran is INSANE.

We should applaud the brave Iranians who are in the streets demanding liberty and their freedom from the oppression of the ayatollah. Who is speaking up for these people fighting for their lives, trying to get their freedom after decades of repression?


TO: President Bashar al-Assad
FR: Committee on Election Strategy
RE: Lessons Learned from Ahmadinejad Election

Dear Mr. President,

While most analysts and fellow dictators look at the election of our comrade Mahmoud and think “amateur,” we actually believe that it shows the future for elections in our region of the world.

What, No Halo?

U.S. politics is boring.

From The Associated Press:

The current reformist salvo is a video clip sent by e-mail and on CDs of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad telling a top cleric, Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli, that a "light" enveloped him during his address to the U.N. General Assembly in 2005 and that the crowd stared without blinking during the entire speech.

The Approaching Armageddon

The Obama administration is globally known for appeasement to despot countries that will only betray them in a matter of time.

As our president embarks upon his travels to the Middle East this week, one could only pray that he will speak the cold truth to his Arab partners.

The situation in the Middle East is about to reach a tipping point. In May 2009, Iran launched a missile capable of striking Israel. In defiance of U.N. resolutions and sanctions, Iran has been developing the capability to make a nuclear bomb for years. It is not an unreasonable inference that if Iran, under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had the capability, it would destroy Israel.

What Brits Should Be Kept Out of the U.S?

Earlier this week, the British government decided that Michael Savage should be kept out the U.K. because he spews hate on his radio talk show. I am not going to defend everything Savage has ever uttered on his radio program, but he is not exactly the next coming of Adolf Hitler. He is a talk-show host. Give me a break.

That got me thinking, though. We here in the States should take this opportunity to retaliate by keeping some dangerous British citizens out of this country.

Netanyahu Can Be Israel’s Nixon-to-China Peacemaker

The following article appears in The Washington Times of Monday, April 13.

A very wise Republican friend of mine, star pollster Frank Luntz, has made it a science to convince politicians of the supposedly self-evident proposition that words count.

New Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is known in Israel and throughout the world as a man of the right. He is often referred to as a "hard-liner" when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians. The early impression in American and European media has been that Mr. Netanyahu, as one Jerusalem-based think tank fellow put it, "has refused to commit himself to a two-state solution."