If Emmanuel Macron Is Serious about Combating Radical Islam, His Deeds Must Match His Rhetoric

Oct. 20 2020

On September 26, a Pakistani-born teenager injured two people with a meat cleaver outside of the former Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. And on Friday, a French history teacher was decapitated after receiving threats for showing students cartoons of Mohammad in the context of a discussion of freedom of speech. France’s President Emmanuel Macron, shortly before the beheading, had given a forceful speech about the dangers of Islamism to French society. Praising his words, Ayaan Hirsi Ali urges Macron to put his money where his mouth is:

In his speech, Macron . . . said that the “challenge is to fight against those who go off the rails in the name of religion . . . while protecting those who believe in Islam and are full citizens of the republic.” If he really means this, perhaps he could provide security and support to those French Muslims courageously speaking out against radical Islam? . . . In the effort to combat the extremists, it is vital to distinguish the Muslims pushing for real change from the Islamists with silver tongues. A great many French Muslims are fighting against the Islamists, and Macron could do far more to support them.

French law [already] allows the government to reject naturalization requests on grounds of “lack of assimilation, other than linguistic.” So in the spirit of this law, Macron should start to repatriate asylum-seekers who engage in violence or the incitement of violence—particularly against women.

In foreign policy, he could tackle the ideological extremism that is disseminated by the governments of Qatar and Turkey—among others—through their support of Islamists. . . . He could take a much stronger stand against the Iranian regime—bilaterally as well as at the EU level—for its hostile activities on European soil, its vicious cruelty towards its own population, and its efforts to export revolutionary Islamism throughout the Middle East. This would also mean further strengthening France’s ties to Israel, the UAE, and Egypt and demanding that Saudi Arabia stop funding Wahhabi extremists abroad.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Emmanuel Macron, European Islam, France, Islamism

In Prospective Negotiations with Iran, the U.S. Has the Upper Hand. President-Elect Biden Is Determined Not to Use It

In a recent interview with a writer for the New York Times, Joe Biden expressed his willingness to reenter the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran (formally known as the JCPOA) without new preconditions. Noah Rothman comments:

[S]ome observers believe Biden has provided himself with an escape hatch. Biden reiterated his insistence that there could only be a new deal so long as “Iran returns to strict compliance.” [But if] Iranian compliance were a real sticking point, Biden might have dwelled on—or even mentioned in passing—the kind of inspections regime that would verify such a thing. But he did not.

[Under the terms of the deal], Iran provided inspectors access to declared nuclear sites but not military sites where illicit activities were likeliest to occur. A subsequent agreement allowed inspectors to access suspected sites but only with at least 24-days-notice—enough to dispose of the evidence of small-scale work on components related to a bomb. But functionally, that 24-day timeline could be reset by Iran, which could stretch the delays out for weeks—ample time to deceive inspectors.

The JCPOA was never designed to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear-nation status. It was only aimed at dragging that process out while reshuffling the region’s geopolitical deck in Iran’s favor and ultimately providing a patina of legitimacy to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Any talk about exhuming and reanimating this agreement that glosses over its weak verification regime suggests that the Biden administration, like the Obama administration, will settle for any deal—even a bad one.

Such an approach seems particularly shortsighted when the Islamic Republic has been pushed onto the defensive, reeling from economic woes, the devastating effects of the coronavirus, and a series of assassinations. Rather than press America’s advantage, when “Iran is on the ropes,” writes Rothman, Biden “is committed to negotiating from a position of weakness.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Iran, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy