In December, Nikki Haley, the current U.S. ambassador to the UN, denounced the world body for its condemnation of America’s recognizing of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Her performance put many in mind of a 1975 speech given by her late predecessor, Daniel P. Moynihan, assailing the UN’s infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution. Six years later, Moynihan returned to the same themes in a seminal Commentary essay, “Joining the Jackals,” in which he skewered the then-outgoing Carter administration for abstaining from two anti-Israel votes at the Security Council and for the generally craven attitude of its UN delegation. Greg Weiner, the author of a biography of Moynihan, revisits the statesman’s career in Turtle Bay and his commitment to Israel and to the West—and to the meaning of words. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 31 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)
When Daniel P. Moynihan Stood for Israel, and for Truth, at the UN
The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There
With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:
The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.
The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .
As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.