Lebanon: The Forgotten Front

Posted on September 29, 2014 in Washington Watch
While the world's attention has been focused on the combined efforts of Arab and US forces attacking "Islamic State" (IS) positions in Iraq and Syria, there is unfolding in Lebanon, a third front in the war against this violent extremist group. This third front has received scant attention. Because Lebanon has been so overwhelmed by the fallout from Syria's civil war, aggravating the country's fragile sectarian balance, the threat of IS poses an existential challenge that must not be ignored.
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Michigan and Middle Eastern Refugees

Posted by on September 28, 2014 in News Clips

Michigan is the best candidate to accept Iraqi and Syrian refugees, not because of its railroads and factories, forests and rivers, or even because of its system of government, but because of Michiganders themselves. Of the many chapters of the American immigration success story, two of its finest – Polish immigration in the early 20th Century and Lebanese immigration half a century later – were written in Michigan. Michigan may yet write a third.

The situation is this: Iraqis and Syrians are fleeing in the tens of thousands, and Michigan is in need of people. Michigan accepting these refugees would...

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American Muslims 13 years after 9/11

Posted by OpEdNews on September 27, 2014 in News Clips

The seven-million strong Muslim American community remain under pressure, 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Alarmingly, mainstream American opinion of Muslims is getting worse. According to the July survey of Arab American Institute (AAI) there has been a continued erosion in the favorable ratings Americans have of both Arabs and Muslims. For example, in 2010 favorable ratings for Arabs were 43 percent. They have now declined to 32 percent. For Muslims, the ratings dropped from 36 percent in 2010, to 27 percent in the 2014 survey.

Not surprisingly, a direct consequence of this disturbing downward slide can be seen...

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You Can’t Have It Both Ways

Posted on September 25, 2014 in Countdown
The Arab American Institute joined thousands of other groups in registering voters across the country for National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday and some big breaking news: our nation’s first African-American attorney general, Eric Holder, is stepping down and will leave his position after six years serving the president.
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Defending Christians is about defending goodness and humanity, advocates say

Posted by on September 23, 2014 in News Clips

Sandri's comment drew a strong round of applause. But the feelings of unity were soured just one day later, when Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another keynote speaker, told the IDC crowd, including Christians from Palestine and Lebanon, "Christians have no greater ally than Israel."

The senator's comment so angered the audience and elicited such a strong refrain of boos that Cruz was eventually forced to walk off stage. "If you do not stand with Israel and the Jews," he said before exiting, "then I will not stand with you."

In the aftermath, many accused the 2016 presidential hopeful...

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A War Worth Fighting, But We’re Not There Yet

Posted on September 22, 2014 in Washington Watch

It appears that we may be going to war against the Islamic State (IS). I use the word "appears" advisedly, because appearances may be deceiving. It's true that we've already bombed almost 200 IS targets. And it's true that the President has declared his intention to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the IS, with Vice-President Biden upping the rhetorical ante promising to "follow them to the gates of hell".  It's also true that Congress has now appropriated significant sums to train and arm a select group of Syria opposition fighters. But even with all this, there are still too many pieces...

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Deconstructing Disorder: Conversation with David Ignatius and Tom Friedman

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Blog

By Kristyn Acho and Eddie Bejarano Fall Interns, 2014

On Friday, September 12, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted an event titled, “Middle East in Turmoil: Can it Recover?”

Karim Sadjadpour, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, moderated the affair, which featured Thomas L. Friedman, columnist for the New York Times and David Ignatius, the bestselling author of Body of Lies and The Increment and journalist who has covered the Middle East and the CIA for over twenty-five years.

The conversation covered a range of topics, including the origins of turmoil,...

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“Peace after Gaza”: Aspen Institute Hosts Dr. Fayyad and UN’s Feltman for Moderated Conversation

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Blog

By Kristyn Acho Fall Intern, 2014

The Aspen Institute’s Middle East division hosted an event on Monday which addressed existing political challenges in Gaza.

Dr. Salam Fayyad, Palestinian politician and former Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and Jeffrey D. Feltman, American diplomat and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, spoke with Aspen Institute President and CEO, Walter Isaacson in a moderated conversation.

To begin the discussion, Fayyad stated that two elements need to be addressed to ensure that the 51-day war in Gaza (known as Operation Protective...

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What You Might Have Missed from the ‘In Defense of Christians’ Summit

Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Blog

By now, anyone who has heard of the “In Defense of Christians” (IDC) summit that took place in Washington, DC last week undoubtedly knows of the infamous incident involving Senator Ted Cruz. Type “In Defense of Christians” into Google, and almost every search result will mention the senator.

It is unfortunate that the only headlines out of the summit were Senator Cruz’s remarks and the audience’s reaction, as well as a few hit-pieces on the religious leaders in attendance. After Cruz got booed off stage, IDC’s Executive Director Andrew Doran exclaimed to the audience: “For the...

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Ted Cruz: The Dangers of Not Listening

Posted on September 13, 2014 in Washington Watch

My mother was fond of saying "if you want someone to hear you, you must first listen to them" -- know them, understand the questions they are asking, and be sensitive to their concerns. If you do this, she would say, "you will be able to speak with people and not at them."

What happens when you don't follow this simple rule of communication was on display during the "In Defense of Christians" conference that was held in Washington from September 9-11.

Addressing an audience of 900 mostly Arab Christians, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched into a passionate defense of...

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