Right Web

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

Iran Hawks and Détente Dead-enders

Print Friendly

Josh Block

Since taking over the “pro-Israel” lobby The Israel Project in 2012, erstwhile Democratic Party advocate Josh Block has led the organization into a number of sharply partisan battles, including accusing State Department officials of primarily serving the interests of their Arab “clients.” The outburst led one observer to quip, "One would think a pro-Israel activist might be self-aware enough to not make baseless accusations that others are dedicated to promoting the interests of foreign countries, but one would be wrong."

Center for Security Policy

Since the 2013 election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Center for Security Policy has relentlessly protested any signs of diplomatic rapprochement between Tehran and Washington. “By simply meeting with Mr. Rouhani, let alone by making other, more tangible concessions to Iran’s president, Mr. Obama would confer a legitimacy on the self-professed Iranian con man that is unwarranted,” wrote CSP President Frank Gaffney in September 2013, insisting that Rouhani was less moderate than he appeared to be. Arguing that only the threat of military force could resolve the standoff, Gaffney concluded that Obama “should be open to congressional enactment of an authorization for the use of military force in Iran” —even if such a resolution would wreck negotiations, which have already yielded an interim agreement.

Committee on the Present Danger

The Committee on the Present Danger is a neoconservative Cold War-era pressure group that was re-launched in 2004 to focus on the “war on terror.” Although the group has been largely dormant in recent years, its website continues to plug fear-mongering media stories and op-eds targeting Iran.

Elizabeth Cheney

Liz Cheney, now arguably the most visible advocate of neoconservative foreign policies in the Cheney family, has embarked on an ambitious primary campaign to unseat Republican Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi. But Cheney's bid is off to a rough start, with the Virginia transplant drawing negative press for lying about the length of her Wyoming residency on a fishing license application and facing accusations of "carpetbagging" in the state to seek office. Cheney has also been forced to temper her strident foreign policy hawkishness to cater to isolationist-leaning Tea Party voters in the state, even expressing opposition to authorizing a U.S. military strike on Syria despite her long record of advocacy for such an attack.


The influential Tea Party group FreedomWorks has made lots of headlines in 2013 for its internal rivalries and organizational shakeups. But the group has continued to exercise influence in the GOP, helping to push Republican members of Congress to shut down the federal government over the implementation of "Obamacare" and rallying its members against U.S. intervention in Syria.

Middle East Forum

The Middle East Forum (MEF) is a controversial Philadelphia-based policy institute that is notorious for its extremist rhetoric about Islam and Middle East politics. Through projects and publications like Middle East Quarterly, Campus Watch, and Islamist Watch, MEF sows suspicion about Muslims and Islamist movements and agitates for an aggressive U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In 2013, founder Daniel Pipes notably broke with many of his fellow neoconservatives—and much of his own prior work—in arguing that instead of ousting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Washington should seek to ensure that the stalemated Syrian civil war goes on as long as possible to maximize the damage the various sides inflict on each other. He also argued that instead of voting to authorize the use of force in Syria, Congress should vote to attack Iran.

Sheldon Adelson

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, an important financial backer of right-wing “pro-Israel” groups who has given millions of dollars to Republican political candidates, recently offered his own recommendations for how the Obama administration should negotiate with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program. Drop a nuclear bomb in the desert, Adelson said, “Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.’”

United Against Nuclear Iran

United against Nuclear Iran is a bipartisan pressure group that aims to foil Iran’s purported “ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons,” chiefly by pressuring corporations to stop doing business with Iran and by developing model sanctions legislation for congressional hawks. Despite the election of moderate Hassan Rouhani in Iran and UANI’s recent decision to tap former Obama arms control adviser Gary Samore as its president, the organization has continued to employ confrontational rhetoric.


Right Web encourages feedback and comments. Send letters to rightweb.ips@gmail.com or call at 202-234-9382. We reserve the right to edit comments for clarity and brevity. Be sure to include your full name. Thank you.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

Print Friendly

Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

Print Friendly

Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

Print Friendly

Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

Print Friendly

Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

Print Friendly

It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.

Print Friendly

President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.