Hizballah

Cedar Siding

IT'S HARD TO find anyone who hasn’t gotten excited about what has taken place in Beirut since the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister. For the hip young demonstrators who gather downtown every evening to protest the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, the collapse last week of their country’s pro-Syrian government was a big step closer to the modern political culture they desire. For weary foreign journalists stumbling in from Iraq, this is the best riot they’ve ever covered.

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Center Right

Jerusalem, Israel--The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, had planned on offering the usual complaints when he visited Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. There was the stalled road map, Israel's security fence, and the recently announced expansion of West Bank settlements close to the Green Line. But, before he arrived in Jerusalem, something happened that changed Lavrov's agenda: the massacre of Russian children by Chechen Islamist terrorists.

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During the Oslo peace process, Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident turned politician, was a lone, even eccentric, voice on the Israeli right. Where others on the right condemned Oslo for betraying historic claims or vital security needs, Sharansky attacked it for betraying democracy. By imposing dictatorship on the Palestinians, he argued, Israel was repeating the mistake made by Western democracies that sought stability by accommodating rather than challenging communist regimes.

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White Lie

Who's next? As Saddam Hussein's regime crumbled this week, that was the question being asked by commentators across the globe. And, when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took to his podium to declare that the United States would hold Syria "accountable" for its weapons shipments to Iraq—a charge backed up by Secretary of State Colin Powell—it seemed the Bush team had finally provided the answer.

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I. That investment in education is critical for economic growth, improved health, and social progress is beyond question. That poverty is a scourge that the international aid community and industrialized countries should work to eradicate is also beyond question. There is also no doubt that terrorism is a scourge of the contemporary world.

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Good Fences

The bearded Hezbollah man, arms folded and half-smiling, stood alone at the border fence on his daily vigil, just across from the Israeli army outpost called Tziporen. Beside him was a large metal sign imprinted with photographs of dead Israeli and South Lebanese Army soldiers--including a severed head--and the taunt in Hebrew, "Sharon, don't forget your soldiers are still in Lebanon," a reference to three Israeli soldiers kidnapped in the fall of 2000, whom the army believes didn't survive. I moved toward the fence to get a closer view but was stopped by an Israeli officer.

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Fevered Pitch

ON THE AFTERNOON of September 26, George W. Bush gathered 15 prominent Muslim- and Arab-Americans at the White House. With cameras rolling, the president proclaimed that “the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good.” It was a critically important moment, a statement to the world that America’s Muslim leaders unambiguously reject the terror committed in Islam’s name. Unfortunately, many of the leaders present hadn’t unambiguously rejected it. To the president’s left sat Dr.

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Uncivil

“Anyone who thinks Islam is a religion of peace has never been to the Sudan,” said the county commissioner in Malual Kon, a small village nestled among farms and swampy grassland about ten miles from the front line of the country’s civil war. There, where Christians and animists have spent almost 20 years resisting the Sudanese government’s self-declared jihad, political correctness is in short supply. “They teach their children that killing a non-Muslim is a key to paradise,” the Christian official explained further.

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Counting

For many months now, since the beginning of the second intifada (and, truth be told, for years before that), I had suspected that Americans simply couldn't grasp Israel's human losses. The numbers weren't big enough to truly register: three one day, thirteen another, maybe one the next. Up and down, ad infinitum, interrupted occasionally by a stretch of quiet (which meant, of course, not that bombs weren't sent—simply that Israel's sappers had defused them). So I began to make the gruesome calculations in my head. Given that there are roughly six million Israelis and roughly 300 million Americ

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Profound disappointment creased the usually impassive face of Warren Christopher the night of May 29. The secretary of state and his staff on the seventh floor of the State Department were hearing about the election returns from Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, a committed foe of trading the Golan Heights for peace with Hafez al-Assad's Syria, had defeated Shimon Peres, Israeli architect of the land-for-peace enterprise. Christopher had invested more than three years of effort, as well as presidential, national and personal prestige in trying to broker such a deal.

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