That Wacky Mahathir!

File away another patently offensive remark by former Malaysian Prime Minister (1981-2003) Mahathir bin Mohamad, who once again spewed anti-semitic and anti-Western conspiratorial claptrap. In Beirut last week for the 7th annual Conference for Al Quds, an organization that opposes what they view as Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Mahathir let fly with his invective. He argued that if the US could make Avatar, it could also have faked the 9-11 attacks (there’s the conspiracy!). And he argued […] Read more »

The Dutch Dilemma

by R. Bennett Furlow Geert Wilders is a Dutch parliamentarian and head of the Party for Freedom (PVV).  He is also a very clear opponent of Islam.  Most critics of Islam are very careful to say that they oppose “radical Islam” or “Islamism” or “Islamic extremism,” but have no problem with the religion as a whole.  Not Wilders.  He has made it clear in no uncertain terms that he “hate[s] Islam.” He has compared the […] Read more »

Just Google “China”

The other day The Wall Street Journal ran a good summary of China’s conflict with Google.  It looks like we’re in for another international war of words but, this time, it won’t be a classic Cold War confrontation over political-military issues, but rather a war of words over words ... Read more »

Plouffe, He’s Back

The Obama Administration is back to practicing public diplomacy — with the American public.  Stung by the loss in last week’s election in Massachusetts, the White House is bringing back public outreach specialist David Plouffe, the mild-mannered star of the Obama election campaign.  Plouffe had stepped back from politics after ... Read more »

Let’s Amplify Extremist Contradictions

by Steven R. Corman Yesterday the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan over the last year.  It concluded that “2009 proved to be the deadliest year yet for civilians since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.”  The surprise is what it says about the causes of these deaths, which in turn identifies an under-exploited opportunity to amplify ideological contradictions. Of the 2412 conflict-related deaths […] Read more »

What new strategy?

by Steven R. Corman In today’s Washington Post, Bruce Hoffman published an op-ed piece entitled “Al-Qaeda has a new strategy. Obama needs one, too.” I have a lot of respect for Hoffman and whatever he says about terrorism bears consideration. But in this case I’m not too sure what he’s driving at. As evidence for the existence of a new AQ strategy, Hoffman offers the following: They have graduated people from multiple countries from training […] Read more »

Muslim Punk Rock is Nothing New

by Chris Lundry In an AP wire story picked up by numerous print and online media, Russell Contreras writes about discovering the “new movement” of Muslim-Hindu punk bands (including Boston’s the Kominas). The implication is that we are witnessing a new youth music movement that might serve as a challenge to religious fundamentalism and its extremist outcomes.  It’s a great bit of publicity for the band, but it reflects the author’s lack of prior awareness […] Read more »

COMOPS Journal Top Posts of 2009

Below is a list of the top ten most-viewed posts of 2009 on COMOPS Journal: Why Israel’s Twitter Experiment Flopped (January 12).  Dawn Gilpin analyzes Israel’s use of Twitter during its excursion into Gaza, concluding that it failed because of a lack of understanding of symmetry, culture, and the structure of the different media platforms. OK Now I’m Confused (April 17).  Steve Corman comments on an apparent blurring of lines between public affairs and public […] Read more »