Weekly Briefing – May 24-30, 2014

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Saturday, May 31st, 2014 @ 2:57AM

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Time to Debunk Political Islam Rachel Ehrenfeld – Islamism has been accepted by the West as simply another political point of view and its growing efforts and sometimes violent acts to force its dictates, has been met with little, if any resistance especially since September 11, 2001. On May 23, 2014, the Sunday Review of the New York Times published an op-ed by Shadi Hamid. In “The Brotherhood Will Be Back,” the author, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center, put political Islam’s cards on the table: “Liberals would say that their solution is the only acceptable compromise. In a liberal society, everyone—secular and Salafi alike—can freely express their religious preferences. But the notion that liberalism is ‘neutral’ can be accepted only within a liberal framework. Islamists cannot fully express their Islamism in a strictly secular state.” While subtly making the usual arguments about moderate and extremist Islamists, Hamid points out Islamism’s growing role in the Arab Spring phenomenon.  And since the majority of people in Muslim countries, he claims, believe in the superiority of Shari’a Law, it ought to be the law of the land whatever the political regime.…more

New Calls for Jihad Against Russia Rachel Ehrenfeld – The Crimean Tatars opposition of Russia is nothing new. In 2010, they opposed the election of the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych as Ukraine’s president, and after he fled the country, more than 20,000 Tatars held a rally in support of the new pro-Western government. Islamist proselytism of Crimean Muslims has increased since the fighting against Assad began in Syria. By early March 2014, at least 100 of them were reportedly fighting alongside the rebels in Syria. But since Putin’s invation of Crimea, Islamist leaders called all Muslims to jihad against Russia. More recently, Chechen Islamist leaders have been calling on Crimean Tatars to launch jihad against Russian forces in Ukraine. This time the call is to Muslims in the Ukraine and Crimea from the Army of Immigrants and Supporters, which is fighting in Syria. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reports on The Deputy Commander of the Army of Immigrants and Supporters Call[ed] on Muslims in Ukraine and Crimea to Wage Jihad against Russia.…more

Misreading Ukraine Rachel Ehrenfeld – An international “intellectual marathon” of political thinkers of divergent persuasions took place in Kyiv, on May 15-19, 2014, to discuss Ukraine’s future. “Ukraine: Thinking Together” was the brainchild of the New Republic’s literary editor Leon Wieseltier and Yale historian of Central and East Europe Timothy Snyder. The conference was sponsored by the American, German, French and Polish embassies, numerous intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and the Ukrainian ministries of foreign affairs and culture. This extraordinary event included Russian, Western European and American participants who joined local and regional intellectuals to talk about the political future of Ukraine. Yet, most of the Western media has pretty much ignored it.…more

Hard Truths, Difficult Choices: Recommendations to the G-7 on Bolstering Energy Security Gal Luft – In advance of next week’s G-7 meeting in Brussels aimed at seeking ways to strengthen Europe’s energy security, Dr. Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), and a member of ACD’s Board of Advisors, “calls on Europe to strike a better balance between environmental and energy security strategies, adopting a more positive sentiment toward currently rejected sources of base load electricity like coal, nuclear power and unconventional gas”.…more

Economic Growth is Not EnoughSol W. Sanders – Events in Thailand give the lie to conventional wisdom that rapid economic development leads inevitably to political progress and stability, were such evidence still required. Thailand has made remarkable economic progress in the last half century, climbing into the ranks of middle income countries. Hit by the 1996-97 East Asian Financial Crisis and then later by the 2007-08 worldwide financial debacle, its gross national product nevertheless has more than doubled since 1995. Income disparities — both between the Bangkok capital megatropolis of 5.4 million and the countryside and among individuals — is high but the latter is trending downward. Only 15 percent of its 70 million people live below the poverty line, mostly in rural areas.  Access to pure drinking water and sanitation is universal. Maternal and infant mortality have dropped dramatically.  Unemployment had been less than 1 percent until this latest coup. Foreign investors have piled in, notably making Thailand the center for automobile manufacturing and assembly in Southeast Asia.…more

ACD in the Media

Guerra de espíasSemana – Como le dijo a SEMANA Rachel Ehrenfeld, fundadora y directora del American Center for Democracy y del Economic Warfare Institute, si la razón para actuar un año después de esos hechos es que China incrementó sus ataques, “formular cargos contra acusados que no podrán ser juzgados envía el mensaje de que Estados Unidos está desarmado o es incapaz de contrarrestar la amenaza de la guerra económica china”.…more

News & Commentary

U.S.-Armed Syrian Rebel Group Seeks ‘All Syrian Land Occupied by Israel’. Militant rebel group with advanced U.S. missiles calls Israel occupier – WASHINGTON FREE BEACON

The Crumbling Deal on Syria’s Chemical Weapons. Anyone who still thinks Assad will meet his obligations should study how Libya’s disarmament went in 2004 – Paul Wolfowitz

Iran’s missile capacity non-negotiable: Dehqan – PRESS TV (IRAN)

In Iran Dealings, the Fantasy of a Grand Bargain Persists—but It’s Actually Just a Bad Deal. The Obama Administration’s plans to exit the region are a gift to the regime in Tehran, nuclear deal or no – Lee Smith

Iran Is Using a Neocon to Hack Its Foes – Eli Lake

The real Hillary record on Iran sanctions – Joel Winton

Anti-Semitism Less a Threat in Ukraine than in Russia, Verkhovsky Says – Paul Goble

Putin’s Obsession about Ukrainians Comparable to Stalin’s about Poles and Hitler’s about Jews, Felshtinsky Says – Paul Goble

Donetsk Disease Spreads to Abkhazia – Paul Goble

Ukraine’s Election Exposes Putin’s Lies – Alexander Motyl

Polish Hard Power: Investing in the military as Europe cuts back – Andrew Michta

Anti-EU, Far-Right Parties Post Strong Gains in European Elections Strong Showings Reflect Voter Anger Over Economic Austerity – Wall Street Journal

Did a French Comedian Inspire the Killings at the Jewish Museum in Brussels? Links between Dieudonné, the Belgian anti-Semite Laurent Louis, and Iran show how anti-Semitism is spreading in Europe – TABLET

China’s Beachhead in U.S. Schools: The Confucius education network shows the promise and peril of doing academic business with Beijing – David Feith

Beijing’s Xinjiang Problem. Uighur terrorism is escalating despite China’s crackdown – WALL STREET JOURNAL

Emptiness at West Point – Charles Krauthammer

Congressional Hearings

House —

May 29 — House Judiciary Committee: Hearing on Oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

May 29 — House Foreign Affairs on Asia and the Pacific: Hearing: Energy Needs in Asia: The U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Option

CRS Report

April 23 — Terrorism Risk Insurance: Issue Analysis and Overview of Current Program – Baird Webel, Specialist in Financial Economics

Since 2001, the American Center for Democracy has exposed and monitored threats to our right to speak freely and our political and economic freedoms. The ACD does more than identify individual, isolated threats; it also analyzes their synergistic effects on the economic security of the nation. The ACD’s projects and publications focus on early warning systems that alert the public and policy makers to prevent and mitigate threats.
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Categories: ACD in the Media, ACD/EWI Blog, China, Cyber, Energy policy, Islam, Latest News, Middle East Conflicts, Muslim Brotherhood, Russia and East Europe, U.S. Foreign Policy, U.S. Policy, Ukraine