Revamp NATO to Fight Radical Islam

Feb. 16 2017

Surveying NATO’s checkered record since the fall of the Soviet Union, Rafael Bardají and Richard Kemp argue that the alliance must be expanded and revamped to save it from obsolescence.

NATO should accept that we are all under attack by Islamist extremist forces of all kinds. President François Hollande said that France was at war, and the rest of the allies cannot sit idle by his side. NATO must make the fight against Islamic terrorism its core mission. . . .

In order to reinforce our Western world, NATO must invite to become members countries that are alike in the defense of our values and with the willingness to share the burden in this civilizational struggle. It should [therefore] invite without delay Israel, Japan, Singapore, and India to become members.

Defense expenditures should be revised and increased, but ceilings and burden-sharing are not the problem. We don’t expend more because current leaders do not feel compelled to do so. Furthermore, to spend more on the same will not change our ability to confront the threats and challenges we face. There is a myriad of things that can be done to put NATO back on track. . . .

But above all, what NATO needs is a vision and an impulse to transform from the new U.S. president and administration. Yes, Mr. President, we agree with you that NATO has become obsolete. But we believe you can make it relevant again. Your allies will follow.

Read more at Telegraph

More about: Donald Trump, Francois Hollande, NATO, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam

Mahmoud Abbas’s Appointment of a New Deputy Chairman Won’t Prevent a Violent Succession Struggle

Feb. 24 2017

Last week, amid ongoing concern over his refusal to choose a successor, the aging president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elevated two of his associates to important positions within his Fatah party. Mahmoud al-Aloul, a PLO veteran who was close to Yasir Arafat’s inner circle, was named deputy party chairman, and Jibril Rajoub, who served as the head of Arafat’s Preventive Security Force in the West Bank, became the secretary general. The move, writes Yoni Ben Menachem, has calmed some of the internal tensions within Fatah, but only in the short run:

Both . . . Aloul and Rajoub, are unacceptable to the Fatah Central Committee as possible successors to Abbas as PA president or Fatah chairman. As soon as Abbas is in a state of incapacity, a harsh and violent succession struggle will ensue. . . .

Aloul and Rajoub are already making the most of their promotions to try and clear their path to the PA leadership and remove any obstacle in their way. . . . [The two] are themselves keen political rivals. But, although each sees himself as Abbas’s [rightful] successor, they appear to have a common interest in getting rid of [the current PA prime minister, Rami] Hamdallah, as quickly as possible. He does not belong to the Fatah movement and was appointed to the post because of his personal ties with Abbas. . . .

Abbas will have to contend as soon as possible with a pack of Fatah figures who want to succeed him. The pound of flesh he tossed to Aloul and Rajoub in the form of senior positions in the movement’s leadership will only satisfy them for a very short time. They will not stop trying to undermine him—especially Rajoub who is known to be a tireless subversive in Palestinian politics. Also involved in the effort will be [Abbas’s longtime rival Mahmoud] Dahlan and Marwan Barghouti, [the mastermind of the second intifada, who is currently in an Israeli prison], who are likely to join forces, and General Majid Freij, who has already forged ties with the new CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

The current calm in the Fatah leadership is only temporary. Despite Abbas’s new appointments last week, it could collapse at any moment.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs