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

Palestine, the Arab Spring, and the Middle East Lobby

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Palestine, the Arab Spring, and the Middle East Lobby

By Jack Ross

As the Arab Spring confronts increasing resistance from entrenched interests in the region, the Palestinian cause appears to be at best a fading concern of demonstrators—or so “pro-Israel” ideologues would have us believe. But this myth of a divide between Arab demonstrators and Palestinians does not stand up to the evidence. And just as importantly, it fails to take into account that what we are witnessing across the Arab world is a broad-based movement aimed at asserting democratic rights and undermining the grip of hegemonic forces, and that nowhere is the need for this movement more acute than in Palestine. Read article.


Arab Spring Stalls as U.S. Defers to Saudi “Counter-revolution”

By Jim Lobe

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, seemingly encouraged by Washington acquiescence, push back against Arab Spring movements as part of a regional proxy war with Iran. Read article.



James Woolsey

Woolsey, a former CIA director who views the “War on Terror” as the “Long War,” was recently named chairman of the board of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Malcolm Wallop

Retired Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) is an old-school Cold Warrior who continues to promote rightwing defense and foreign policy initiatives as chair of Frontiers of Freedom.

Robert H. Bork

Conservative legal scholar and former Supreme Court nominee, Robert Bork is a long-time rightwing activist who has supported the work of several advocacy groups, including the Hudson Institute.

Lewis Lehrman

An investment banker who advocates supply-side economics and a return to the gold standard, Lehrman has supported a number of militarist pressure groups since the Cold War, including the Project for the New American Century and the Reagan-era Citizens for America.

Walter Kansteiner III

Kansteiner is a long-standing Republican Party operative active in international business and policy initiatives.



Arab Spring Stalls as U.S. Defers to Saudi ‘Counter-revolution’

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, seemingly encouraged by Washington acquiescence, push back against Arab Spring movements as part of a regional proxy war with Iran.

U.S. Denies It Is Trying to Undermine Assad

Bashar al-Assad’s government struggles to cope with growing protests as the State Department denies any involvement in the unrest, despite reports of it providing millions of dollars to the Syrian opposition in the last five years.

U.S. ‘Democracy’ Advisors Suddenly in Demand

With the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia toppled and rebellions raging from Libya to Yemen, U.S. officials and NGOs dedicated to democracy promotion in the Middle East face unprecedented opportunities—but also new questions about the U.S. role.

Israel Hits Roadblock Over Dismissal of War Crimes Charges

Israel has gone on the offensive after Richard Goldstone admitted “regret” over parts of the UN-report investigating Israel’s War on Gaza that carried his name—but critics charge that Israel is overplaying Goldstone’s comments.

Libya Splitting Republicans in 1990s Redux

In a replay of the infighting among Republicans over U.S. military interventions in the Balkans in the 1990s, U.S. involvement in the civil war in Libya is exposing serious splits among self-described conservatives.

Maliki’s Doubts Threaten Post-2011 Troop Presence Plan

President Obama’s plan to station U.S. combat troops in Iraq beyond 2011 is threatened by developments in both Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

Turkey’s ‘neo-Gaullism’

Turkey has endeavored to make itself a central player in the unfolding Middle East upheaval, leading one observer to comment that the country is displaying a “new self-confidence bordering on hubris."

Arab Uprising as a War on Terror

The flame lit by Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation last December 17 has also engulfed some myths about the region and beyond, which will have a profound impact on the domestic and foreign policies of the new governments that emerge from the ongoing upheaval.



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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.

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From the Wires

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.