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inFOCUS Quarterly

Fall 2014

Europe: Whole and Free?


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Articles by the JPC

Chemical Weapons Revelations in the Middle East

by Shoshana Bryen
October 17, 2014 | American Thinker

Two chemical weapons-related stories this week should be considered separate, not necessarily interchangeable, parts of a whole.

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Support Allies, Not Terrorists

by Shoshana Bryen
October 15, 2014 | Gatestone Institute

Fighters in Kobani found desperate ways to slow down ISIS over the weekend, but lack serious weapons and intelligence to advance their position. Under the circumstance of immediate and critical fighting, Kerry's international party should have been trying to aid the Kurds, our friends and the mortal enemy of ISIS, instead of trying to lavish more international funds on Hamas and Fatah -- two sides of a movement dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

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Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Kobani

by Shoshana Bryen
October 13, 2014 | American Thinker

Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby told reporters he understood that U.S. air power wouldn't save Kobani, but there is a "larger strategy" in place.  The primary goal of the campaign is not to save Syrian cities and towns, U.S. Central Command officials said, but to go after ISIS senior leadership, oil refineries, and other infrastructure that would curb the group's ability to operate.  If the strategy is to allow ISIS to advance its murderous agenda against Kurds and others while we "plink" its leaders from above, it is a humanitarian, military, and political disaster of a strategy.

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Every War Must End

by Shoshana Bryen
September 29, 2014 | American Thinker

"The fact that from generation to generation, powerful people make the same horrendous mistakes allows us to get meaningful lessons by writing about the past. Indeed, when it comes to starting, fighting and ending wars we find that we, our ancestors, and those before them have continued that march of folly… from the Battle of Troy to Vietnam. Now happily folly is sometimes canceled by prudence and foresight, and sometimes by sheer good luck. The good luck, or you might call it providence, explains why we are still here."

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'Every War Must End'

by Shoshana Bryen
September 24, 2014 | American Thinker

"Thirteen years ago this October, we started bombing Muslims in the Middle East. We're still bombing them. Does any sane person think that 13 years from now, we're not going to still be bombing them?" Democratic operative James Carville answered his own question. "Of course we will. And… maybe there is no alternative."

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We Already Built an Iraqi Army Once, Now What?

by Shoshana Bryen
September 12, 2014 | American Thinker

Secretary of State Kerry is in the Middle East, looking for regional allies for President Obama's proposal to deal with the threat of the Islamic State (IS). That is entirely appropriate -- IS poses a more immediate and dire threat to regional players than it does to the United States. Convincing Turkey and Qatar to stop funding and supporting jihadists, for example, would be an excellent start.

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The Conditions of Victory and Peace

by Shoshana Bryen
September 9, 2014 | Gatestone

The Israeli public is in a notably bad mood. The Hamas rockets have, for the time being, stopped; the current cease-fire is holding. The tunnel threat, a strategic one most Israelis had not understood until several days into the war, has been alleviated; many Hamas rocket manufacturing facilities have been destroyed; a substantial percentage of the Hamas arsenal has been used up; and Hamas achieved none of its strategic goals.

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North Korea's Hamas Connection: "Below" the Surface?

by Gabriel Scheinmann and Victor Cha
September 4, 2014 | The National Interest

Since the recent conclusion of the war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, the United States and Israel have begun pointing fingers at the Islamist terrorist group's usual benefactors: Iran, Syria, Qatar and Turkey. However, there's an additional, somewhat-oddball patron about five thousand miles away—North Korea. As then secretary of defense Robert Gates asserted in August 2010, "The fact is that North Korea continues to smuggle missiles and weapons to other countries around the world—Burma, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas—and they continue with their development of their nuclear program." A recent report in The Telegraph highlighting an arms deal between North Korea and Hamas only grazes the tip of a much deeper relationship. Below the surface, Hamas' vast tunnel architecture and its tactical use of tunnels to conduct surprise assaults behind Israeli lines suggest an even more nefarious North Korean role.

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The Grim Lessons of "Protective Edge"

by Gabriel Scheinmann and Raphael Cohen
August 31, 2014 | The American Interest

After nearly two months of fighting, Israel and Gaza have agreed to an open-ended ceasefire, and for the third time in six years, Israel finds itself looking back at its attempt to stop the barrage of rockets fired at its citizens from the Hamas-controlled enclave of Gaza. Ever since withdrawing from Gaza in 2005, Israel has sought to prevent the smuggling of weaponry into the coastal territory and to deter militants from firing rocketry by exacting significant tolls on Hamas and other terrorist organizations operating in the Strip. While many have highlighted Protective Edge's technological innovations and the calls for radical changes to the status quo—be it in the reoccupation of Gaza, the international demilitarization of Hamas, or a jump-start to a true peace negotiation—in the end, most of the operation's tactical and strategic lessons were quite traditional. For all the attempts to find technological quick fixes or enforce a permanent settlement, Operation Protective Edge has highlighted that a war of attrition, known as a "long war", remains the only viable strategy in the current environment.

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The Beheading of James Foley and Other Unintended Consequences

by Shoshana Bryen
August 21, 2014 | Gatestone Institute

There is a reason the American military asks of its civilian commanders, "Don't tell us what to do, tell us what you want done." Giving the military an executable military mission to accomplish is the most important responsibility of civilian command. A strategic plan helps the military respond quickly to the unintended consequences that result from every mission, without sliding into incremental and often unplanned escalation.

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What is ISIS, Where did it Come From, and When Did the US Know it was There?

by Shoshana Bryen and Michael Johnson
August 20, 2014 | Jewish Policy Center

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), currently controls about one-third of Iraq. It is a combination of a non-al-Qaeda revival of the al-Qaeda-sponsored Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) organization that tried to take over western Iraq 2003—2006, and Sunni Syrian rebel groups including the Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra), which also has ties to al Qaeda.

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Memorable visit to the Yazidis shows promise of a modern Middle Eastern society

by Gabriel Scheinmann
August 18, 2014 | The Washington Post

The city of Lalish, as many refer to the holy center of the Yazidi faith, is a bit of a misnomer. Wedged into the side of a small hill several hours' drive north of Irbil in Kurdistan, the hamlet is remote and modest and has only one entry point, a partially paved strip that was guarded, at the time of my visit, by Kurdish pesh merga troops. The small group looked and acted more like parking attendants than hardened fighters. In the small valley between the hills, gas flares dotted an otherwise tranquil landscape seemingly undisturbed by modernity.

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The "Disengaged" President Punishes Israel

by Shoshana Bryen
August 15, 2014 | American Thinker (blog)

Google "president disengaged" and 1,290,000 entries pop up. Okay, fair enough. Google is not the best way to take the measure of President Obama's active engagement in the workings of the world. So note that today is the funeral of Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, USA, the highest-ranking American military officer killed in Afghanistan, and the first Major General killed in combat since 1970.The president will be in Martha's Vineyard, not at Arlington Cemetery.

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