Making Up History to Make Your Case

Posted on June 30, 2014 in Washington Watch
After long-simmering sectarian tensions exploded in Iraq a few weeks back, critics from the right and left have had field day taking their shots at the Obama Administration's Iraq policy, or lack thereof. Recognizing that the situation is fraught with dangers, I appreciate this debate. What I haven't appreciated are the criticisms coming from those who have based their case on a fabricated reality they have invented to suit their purposes.
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Nothing Good Will Come of This

Posted on June 23, 2014 in Washington Watch
In response to the presumed kidnapping of three young Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck back with a vengeance. While directly blaming Hamas for the act, he also declared the Palestinian Authority ultimately responsible. Netanyahu quickly launched "Operation Brother's Keeper"— an antiseptic name for a full scale assault on the entire Palestinian population in the occupied territories. Fear is widespread, as is anger.
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Together We Came

Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Blog

In light of his recent passing, we want to take this time to share how exceptional and dear Casey Kasem was to the heart of the Arab American community. Best known for his radio countdown show American Top 40, disc jockey and radio personality Casey Kasem was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1932 to Lebanese immigrants.

More than an entertainer, AAI President James Zogby reflects, “Casey is more than the most recognized voice of his generation, what he said mattered. He inspired us to be positive, to strive for...

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Who Lost Iraq? And What We Can Do about It

Posted on June 16, 2014 in Washington Watch
Eventually the question will be asked— "Who lost Iraq?" In a way it might be seen as an improper question to ask since it presumes that Iraq was ours to lose. The fact that it was not, however, doesn't absolve us of responsibility. We have badly bungled Iraq from the beginning. Our invasion was irresponsible, our occupation and administration of the country were disastrous, and our departure, though necessary, left too many critical issues unresolved. What should also be clear is that no one is blameless.
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The Story Behind the Polls

Posted on June 09, 2014 in Washington Watch

On June 3rd, Zogby Research Services (ZRS) released the results of polling in seven Arab countries (Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE). Conducted during the month of May, the ZRS polls measured Arab attitudes toward the United States and President Barack Obama five years after his historic June 4, 2009 Cairo University speech.

The polls received wide coverage in traditional and social media, but it was interesting to note the extent to which writers appeared to cherry-pick the findings they liked. Some noted, for example, that Obama's ratings and overall US ratings have improved, while...

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Netanyahu: Playing Us for Fools

Posted on June 02, 2014 in Washington Watch
Over the past few weeks a number of comments related to the now collapsed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks caught my attention. Collectively they establish why the talks failed and make clear what must change if any negotiated settlement is to be successful in the future. To be blunt, what they reveal is that there will be no Israeli-Palestinian peace as long as Benjamin Netanyahu remains Prime Minister of Israel. They also establish that by ignoring this simple fact continued US efforts risk becoming a "fool’s errand".
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The Impact of Pope Francis

Posted on May 26, 2014 in Washington Watch
During Pope Francis' short tenure as leader of the Catholic Church, he has demonstrated a keen understanding of the transformative power of spontaneous or unexpected gestures to impact opinion and bring hope to those who have felt the sting of rejection.
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The Importance of Vision

Posted on May 19, 2014 in Washington Watch
A few days ago, I spent an afternoon with members of the Syrian opposition delegation visiting Washington. At the very end of our wide-ranging conversation, a leader of the delegation surprised me with a few unexpected questions. He asked "What is your long-term vision for the region— from Iraq to Lebanon— how do you see it in the future? And what do you see for us in the next three years?"
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What “American Hustle” Doesn’t Tell You About ABSCAM

Posted on January 06, 2014 in Washington Watch
"American Hustle," the hit comedy/caper film loosely based on ABSCAM, is currently showing in theaters nationwide. For those who haven't heard of the movie or who don't remember the late 1970's, ABSCAM was a sting operation organized by the FBI featuring operatives dressed up like Arab sheikhs. The FBI videotaped the fake "sheikhs" offering envelopes of cash to Senators and Congressmen seeking their assistance with a range of illegal activities. The Congressional culprits were arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prison terms for bribery and conspiracy.
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A Change of Course

Posted on December 03, 2013 in Countdown
Friday, November 29 marked the one-year anniversary of the United Nations vote to upgrade the Palestinian Mission to the UN’s status to “non-member observer state.” To mark the event, the United Nations passed a resolution labeled 68/L.12 declaring 2014 the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”
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