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

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Walid Phares is a self-styled terrorism “expert” who was closely associated with a right-wing militia during the Lebanese Civil War that was accused of multiple atrocities. Phares has also been supportive of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), a militant Iranian organization that advocates overthrowing the Islamic Republic of Iran and was until 2012 on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. In a recent article, he commended the MEK for pushing for “broad-based change in Iran” and praised a letter in support of the MEK signed by numerous prominent neoconservatives.  

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Stephen Hadley, a former national security advisor to President George W. Bush, has advocated a hardline towards Russia in the wake of the 2014 Ukraine crisis. Among his recommendations is for the CIA to covertly arm Ukrainian rebels. He said in November 2014: “If I were in my old job I would be thinking about lethal assistance—yes. But you know this is why you have a CIA, you know this is why you have covert action and I would be thinking—do we want to do it explicitly to send a message to Putin? Or do you want to do it covertly?”

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The Washington Institute for Near East Policy recently published a letter signed by former officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations that has been framed as critical of the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran. However, the letter, which was also signed by prominent neoconservatives, has been described by one signatory as “very much in line with current U.S. policy.” 

 

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Gary Samore, a former adviser to the Obama administration who is now the president of the hawkish United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), recently signed onto an open letter published by the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy that several media outlets have framed as a warning from President Obama’s “ex-advisers” about the “Iran nuclear deal.” Samore, however, appears to disagree with this interpretation of the letter, saying in a recent CNN interview: “If you look through the substance of the letter, you'll see that the positions we take on the key unresolved issues are very much in line with current U.S. policy.” 

 

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Before there was a campaign to attack Iran there was the campaign to attack Iraq, and one of the leaders of that effort was the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), a short-lived yet apparently influential group supported by many of the same ideological actors who are today pushing a hardline on Tehran. According to CLI founder Bruce Jackson, the group was formed at the behest of Bush administration officials who asked him to replicate his earlier success pushing for NATO expansion through his U.S. Committee on NATO.

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Charles “Chuck” Wald is a retired U.S. Air Force general and board member of the hawkish Bipartisan Policy Center. He also holds a number of positions at the hardline “pro-Israel” Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, where he recently chaired a report on the 2014 Gaza conflict that echoed right-wing Israeli talking points about the conflict. Wald has also lashed out against a recent U.N. report that found Israeli officials responsible for war crimes during the conflict, calling it “unbalanced” and saying it failed to “accurately assess which parties violated the Law of Armed Conflict.”

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Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign is receiving rave reviews in the right-wing Israeli press, in particular from Sheldon Adelson’s free Israeli paper, Israel Hayom. According to Bloomberg, Hayom has “all but anointed” Rubio and given him “singular treatment” while featuring “derogatory stories from U.S. newspapers about Hillary Clinton.”

 

 

 

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From the Wires

June 30, 2015

Various bills and resolutions circulating in Congress promote hardline “pro-Israel” positions on Iran and the Palestinians.


June 30, 2015

A recent open letter by the hawkish Washington Institute for Near East Policy about the Iran nuclear negotiations was signed by many figures who claim they support a nuclear deal with Iran, but whose past recommendations would have led to war with Iran.


June 29, 2015

The authors of an open letter published by the hawkish Washington Institute for Near East Policy most likely knew that their statement was intended to set goals for the negotiations that are unattainable.


June 22, 2015

Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., has released a new book vilifying President Obama and his supposed treatment of the U.S.-Israel relationship.


June 20, 2015

Neocon stalwart Elliott Abrams prides himself on having a passion for democracy and human rights even as he has brazenly praised the tightening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.


June 18, 2015

Critics of the Iran nuclear negotiations fail to see that any potential agreement was always going to be a compromise and that what they claim are “concessions” are really the compromises necessary for a successful deal.


June 13, 2015

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Clifford May conveniently criticizes China for creating “facts on the ground” in the South China Sea while ignoring similar Israeli moves in the Occupied West Bank.


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