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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

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Mark Dubowitz, an oft-quoted Iran hawk who heads the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has called on Congress to pass additional sanctions against Iran in an apparent effort to sabotage on-going negotiations. He claims that warnings about the possible use of military action have become ineffective because of the Obama administration’s “palpable fear of conventional conflict.” 

 

 

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The American Islamic Congress (AIC) is a controversial Muslim advocacy organization with ties to right-wing and anti-Islamic groups. AIC has received funding from the Donors Capital Fund, a group that the Center for American Progress has described as the “lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America.” Notorious “pro-Israel” megadonor Sheldon Adelson is also a backer of AIC, along with fellow billionaire Seth Klarman. The group, which also receives government funding, has been accused of serving as a “faithful arm of soft American power in the Middle East.”

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David Albright and his Institute for Science and International Security are widely regarded as important apolitical members of the nonproliferation community in the United States. However, a growing number of writers and experts have begun criticizing Albright’s work, particularly on Iran, and some of his critics say that he has made inaccurate claims about their work in order to counter their criticisms. 

 

 

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Billionaire hedge fund investor Seth Klarman is a prolific funder of an array of rightist “pro-Israel” groups. He has supported The Israel Project, the Middle East Forum, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, among other groups. Klarman also invests in Israeli media, having established his own newspaper, the Times of Israel, in 2012. He has bemoaned growing sympathy for the Palestinians, stating: “In the West, ‘Palestinianism’—the notion that an innocent, indigenous people suffers a senseless, cruel oppression by the Jews of Israel (who ought to know better) threatens to become the standard view.”

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During his recent confirmation hearings, new Pentagon chief Ashton Carter gave “every indication that he would be a hard-liner at the Pentagon and a strong counterweight to administration doves.” He said that he would be “inclined” to send “defensive arms” to Ukraine and would resist efforts to speed up the closure of Guantanamo Bay. After his first trip to Afghanistan as secretary of defense, he announced the United States may slow its withdrawal of troops and keep more troops in the country than previously planned.

 

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Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been outspoken in his criticisms of the Obama administration, wildly arguing recently that Obama may have “switched sides on the war on terror.” He has also derided the administration for not reaching a status of forces agreement with Afghanistan, stating that even a “trained ape could get a status of forces agreement.” According to the Center for American Progress, the Rumsfeld Foundation has funded the Frank Gaffney-led Center for Security Policy, a stringently anti-Islamic organization.

 

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Meghan O’Sullivan, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush who was heavily involved in Iraq policy, is one of a handful of Bush alums who have been tapped to assist potential Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush develop his foreign policy agenda. “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush … is seeking to distinguish his views on foreign policy from those of his father and brother, two former presidents,” quipped the Washington Post, “but he's getting most of his ideas from nearly two dozen people, most of whom previously worked for George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.”

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From the Wires

March 03, 2015

According to a new poll, a strong majority of the U.S. public supports a nuclear agreement with Iran in line with what the Obama administration has been negotiating for.


March 03, 2015

Hawkish Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) are back with a new version of their bill that threatens to sabotage a comprehensive nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran.


March 03, 2015

Netanyahu’s attempt to punch holes in a prospective nuclear deal as well as define a morning-after narrative regarding Iran fails to stand up to post-speech scrutiny.


March 03, 2015

Instead of elevating AIPAC’s stature, Benjamin Netanyahu has completely upstaged it.


March 02, 2015

The eleven most prominent arguments echoed by Netanyahu against the Iranian nuclear negotiations have been thoroughly debunked.


February 28, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main reason for staking out such a hardline on Iran is less about controlling its nuclear program than ensuring that Iran has a permanent pariah status that would preclude Washington-Tehran rapprochement.


February 27, 2015

The primary reason the United States is militarily involved in the Middle East is to support Israel, which has led to its loss of credibility across the region.


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