Near & Middle East
Judean Death Cult

Judean Death Cult

As I read the article, I started shaking. Tears streamed down my face. It was about an old man in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. On Friday night, eight members of his family, including his sons, daughters and grandchildren, had finished their Iftar meal and sat down to watch a popular television show. A few minutes into it, an artillery shell ripped through their home, killing them all, including children aged six, two, and one. More»

Always in the Way

Always in the Way

As the death toll mounts in Gaza and images of the carnage spill onto our computer screens, anti-war Jews are bombarded with accusations of betrayal, acquiescing to global anti-Semitism and blaming oneself. It’s not the first time violence between Israel and the Palestinians has pitted Jew against Jew. But Operation Protective Edge shows how blind devotion to Israel, for many, trumps all other Jewish concerns.  More»

The Way You Jihad Me

The Way You Jihad Me

The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant triggers a lot of Pakistani anxieties. The group’s activities in northern Iraq crystallize many fears about jihad and revolutionary Islamism. For many Pakistanis, especially if they are liberal elites, ISIS is being seen as the worst-case conclusion to the Taliban-led insurgency. More»

United Arab Babylons

United Arab Babylons

I have wistful memories of the United Arab Emirates. I spent much of my childhood gazing over the sand dunes, and playing knockoff Super Nintendo games that couldn’t save properly. I felt safe and fulfilled in the paradisaical oasis. More»

Iraq Invades the West

Iraq Invades the West

The first news I received about the events now snappily referred to as the #ISIScrisis was that 500,000 thousand Iraqis were fleeing to somewhere, from somewhere, because of something. Such is the degree to which upheavals in the Middle East have become white noise. More»

The Appeal of Russia

The Appeal of Russia

On March 27th 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abstained from the vote at the UN General Assembly on a resolution on Crimea. It was de facto support for Russian aggression. The significance of this event may not have hit the mainstream just yet, but it may soon outpace it in its own trajectory. More»

Blair on Putin

Blair on Putin

Every now and then, Tony Blair pops up out of nowhere and reminds us all he’s still out there on his private jet. It’s almost routine now. Of course, it should go without saying that politicians like Blair have never been as interested in combating genuine issues, like climate change, as they have been in waging wars in the Middle East.  More»

Assisting Cairo

Assisting Cairo

What has ultimately determined how much, and to whom the U.S. extends aid is the potential leverage it affords over another country. Officials often justify sending main battle tanks, irrigation canal grants, and baby formula overseas to promote American values. More»

Qutb and the Jews

Qutb and the Jews

For all of Sayyid Qutb’s positive contributions to the Muslim world (and there were a few, despite his influence on figures like Osama Bin Laden) we cannot ignore the negatives. The most infamous is his pivotal role in inspiring modern Islamic anti-Semitism with his influential work Our Struggle Against the Jews (1950). The irony is that Qutb often sounds very Jewish. More»

Qutb's Communism

Qutb’s Communism

For all his shortcomings, I find Sayyid Qutb to be treated somewhat unfairly. This was probably inevitable. After all, Qutb’s prison writings as a disenchanted member of the Muslim Brotherhood helped inspire two of the region’s most fear-inducing ideologies: Islamism, and Salafi jihadism. More»

Muhammad the Anti-Capitalist

Muhammad the Anti-Capitalist

Would the Prophet Muhammad have been anti-capitalist?  Obviously, we cannot know. The Prophet’s experiences with mystical poetry, called “Revelation” by believing Muslims, are firmly grounded in their historical setting. They cannot offer direct insight on capitalism any more than they can provide a critique of Italian Futurism More»

Imperial Disappointments

Imperial Disappointments

Noam Chomsky, the celebrated academic and political commentator, is perhaps the most famous left-wing public intellectual alive. Since rising to widespread prominence as a fierce critic of the Vietnam War, he has developed into something of an American Solzhenitsyn: a dissident bitterly denounced at home, but admired internationally (thankfully without the gulags.) More»