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Temple Mount Riots Past and Present

Aug. 10 2017

The recent Palestinian riots over Israel’s installation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount—a preventive measure in the wake of a terrorist attack and the discovery of large caches of arms being stored there—were hardly the first of their kind. Making some comparisons with other, similar outbreaks of violence, Manfred Gerstenfeld believes this won’t be the last:

In the past, the . . . Palestinian Authority (PA) was able to control riots. A typical case in point was the “al-Aqsa intifada” which began in late September 2000. Though presented as a spontaneous response to Ariel Sharon’s Temple Mount visit, several Palestinian Liberation Organization and PA officials (including Marwan Barghouti) later admitted that the violence had been planned well in advance by Yasir Arafat. All that was required was a handy pretext to start it.

Since then, the stature in the western world of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas has steadily increased. [But, in] contrast to his glowing image among Europeans, Abbas is seen by most Palestinians as very weak. His Fatah movement supported the riots, partly because it fears losing even more influence if it does not. He is playing a dangerous game, however. If the riots continue, Abbas may lose control over them. If it is true that he has canceled the PA’s security collaboration with Israel, [as he has claimed], he might find himself in immediate danger. If he is without the protection of the Israeli security services, it will be much easier for Hamas sympathizers to target him.

Another recurrent pattern is the abuse of holy or protected places. During Israel’s military campaigns against Hamas, the terrorist group often hid weapons in mosques, universities, and schools. . . . Still another . . . is the behavior of foreign media, which habitually turn aggressors into victims and vice-versa. . . .

The Temple Mount riots created a perfect [prototype for future violence]. Commit a crime against Israel related to al-Aqsa. If Israel reacts with enhanced security measures, incite rioting by declaring the mosque to be in danger.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada, Temple Mount

 

Getting It Right in Afghanistan

Aug. 23 2017

While praising the president’s announcement Monday night that the U.S. will be sending 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio express their “doubt [that] this will be enough to win the war.” They also warn against the dangers of a complete or partial American withdrawal and offer some strategic recommendations:

Al-Qaeda is still a significant problem in South Asia—a potentially big one. President Obama frequently claimed that al-Qaeda was “decimated” and a “shadow of its former self” in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That wasn’t true. The Obama administration’s counterterrorism campaign dealt significant blows to al-Qaeda’s leadership, disrupting the organization’s chain of command and interrupting its communications. But al-Qaeda took measures to outlast America’s drones and other tactics. The group survived the death of Osama bin Laden and, in many ways, grew. . . .

Al-Qaeda continues to fight under the Taliban’s banner as well. Its newest branch, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, is deeply embedded in the Taliban-led insurgency. . . . There’s no question that Islamic State remains a serious problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it still doesn’t threaten the Afghan government to the same degree that the Taliban/al-Qaeda axis does. . . .

Iran remains a problem, too. The Iranian government has supported the Taliban’s insurgency since 2001. Although this assistance is not as pronounced as Pakistan’s, it is meaningful. The U.S. government has also repeatedly noted that Iran hosts al-Qaeda’s “core facilitation pipeline,” which moves fighters, funds, and communications to and from South Asia. Any successful strategy for turning the Afghan war around will have to deal with the Iranian government’s nefarious role. The Russians are [also] on the opposite side of the Afghan war.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Iran, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy