Jane on Pipes - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Ben Gurion
    • 11.12.05 | 18:58 (IST)

    Jane, and I sense many biased souls around here, give Pipes credit for predicting Islamist attacks. Here is what Jane says: "The US was attacked on 9-11 and the ONLY person who had predicted anything like a war based on the desire for a world califate was Daniel Pipes. The only scholar who read the Al Queda plans (widely circulated in the ME) and believed it after the fall of the FSU was Daniel Pipes. The only scholar who advocated pure scholarship representing all sides in ME studies on college campuses in the US was Daniel Pipes. To you this might not constitute a high degree of scholarship but to me it is uniquely correct and precient." My complaint against Pipes is his extreme anti-Muslim bias. This makes him a no-good SCHOLAR. Because I prefer reading more solid scholarship, I have avoided Pipes writings for some years now. But for the present happy occassion, I took another look. It seems the article that Pipes promotes as his "umique" prediction of the danger of Islamists is his 1995 article in "National Interest". Note that the Islamic danger became evident to almost all experts in 1979, with the Khomeini revolution. In 1995 Pipes talks mostly of states being in danger from Islamists, such as Egypt, Lebanon, and Algeria. Note that none of these regimes has fallen. There was a threat to the US itself from terrorists, and Pipes mentions the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, including quoting threats by one of those arrested. Thanks for letting us know, Pipes, what everybody knew. Al-Qaida seems not to be mentioned in the Pipes article. Well, the US anti-terrorism bodies knew of it very well, and were trying to get Bin Laden expelled out of Sudan (Eventually succeeding in 1996). Al- Qaida was established circa 1989. To realize what dangers Pipes foresaw, let us look at the list of his recommendations of "What We Should Do": 1. Do not engage in official or public dialogue (with radical fundamentalists). 2. Do not appease (fundamentalists). 3.Don't help fundamentalists. 4. Press fundamentalist states to reduce aggressiveness. 5.Support those confronting fundamentalist Islam. 6. Urge gradual democratization. Certainly none of these indicates a sense of a 9-11 danger. In any case, they are ordinary ideas which were mostly taken by people like Clinton who did not care much about Pipes. I think the most important part of the article is Pipes' criticism of a number of academic scholars who thought unlike him (including Fuad Ajami, Roy, Olivier, and L. Hadar). OK, so there were academics who thought the Islamic threat was not as great as Pipes thought. I didn't follow the writings of these scholars at the time (this is not my academic field), but I do know of Samuel Huntington's article "Clash of Civilizations", the most celebrated prediction of what is happenning, which was published in Foreign Affairs in 1993! My sense, based on recognizing some of Pipes' problems as a scholar, is that he left academia after being unable to get tenure. He may explain his departure differrently, but his timing is suggestive. Pipes got his PhD in 1978, and left teaching at Harvard in 1984 (a good time for being considered for tenure). Then he taught until 1986 in the Naval War College. No reason to move to that last teaching post without being kicked out of Harvard.

    from the article: The safe passage: The history of a farce
    First published 00:00 11.12.05 | Last updated 00:00 11.12.05
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