Right Web

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

The Failed Shiite Gambit; Plus: the American Foreign Policy Council, James Woolsey, and Ahmed Chalab

FEATURED ARTICLE

Haunting Mistakes in Iraq
By Gareth Porter | February 12, 2007

Despite Shiite death squads operating freely in Baghdad, the Bush administration refused to admit that there was a problem in Iraq with Shiite violence. Why? Because supporting the Shiites was U.S. policy. Read full story.

NEW RIGHT WEB PROFILES

American Foreign Policy Council
One of many hawkish Washington-based think tanks, the AFPC is today a leading member of the get-Iran lobby.

Ahmed Chalabi
The neocons’ favorite Iraqi exile, Chalabi has been accused of colluding with Iranian operatives, oversaw a failed bank in Jordan, and is a thorn in the side of U.S. efforts to reform the badly designed de-Baathification policy put in place by former U.S. proconsul in Iraq Paul Bremer.

James Woolsey
Woolsey is a man of many faces—champion of World War IV, former CIA director, business exec, government consultant, corporate lawyer, and high-profile proponent of the neoconservative agenda.

Sam Brownback
The Republican presidential hopeful, a key supporter of the Christian Right agenda in the Senate, has supported a host of bills attacking Iran and broadening the war on terror.

ALSO NEW THIS WEEK ON RIGHT WEB

The Mideast Opinion Gap
By Jim Lobe | February 12, 2007

A new poll shows that most Arabs fail to see Iran as an enemy—a notion that undermines U.S. hopes of forming a Sunni Arab alliance. Read full story.

ODDS & ENDS

Faith in Feith?

Appearing on FoxNews this past Sunday, Doug Feith, the controversial former undersecretary of defense who oversaw efforts to channel intel about Iraq and then stepped down at the end of President George W. Bush’s first term, took a shot at rewriting history. "Nobody in my office ever said there was an operational relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida," Feith told Fox’s Chris Wallace.

But as Laura Rozen pointed out in her War and Piece blog, it was an October 2003 memo from Feith—conveniently leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard—that helped establish the erroneous Iraq-Qaida connection. The Standard wrote at the time: "Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al-Qaida training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al-Qaida—perhaps even for Mohamed Atta—according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by the Weekly Standard. The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee."

Commenting on Feith’s apparent memory loss, Larry C. Johnson, a former State Department and CIA counterterrorism official, told the Los Angeles Times: "It’s an abject lie, and it completely ignores what is in the documented public record. I think the problem is across the board that we have convenient memory loss. No one wants to go back and hold people accountable to what they were doing."

Defending Friends

The Wall Street Journal‘s neoconservative-dominated editorial page published a lengthy editorial this week lambasting the media-generated publicity surrounding a new American Enterprise Institute (AEI) initiative on global warming that reportedly involves paying scientists $10,000 to produce papers questioning the conclusions of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Pointing to a series of articles about the AEI program published in the British press early this month, including in the respected left-of-center Guardian and Independent, the Journal argued that "it would be easy to dismiss all this propaganda from British tabloids, except that last week the ‘news’ crossed the Atlantic where more respectable media outlets, including the Washington Post, are reporting the story in what has become all too typical pack fashion."

According to the Guardian story, AEI sent letters to scientists arguing that the UN panel was "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work" and asked for papers that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs" as part of an "independent review" of the IPCC’s work. The Guardian highlighted AEI’s connections to the oil industry, reporting that the think tank "has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees."

All the hand-wringing is much ado about nothing, according to the Journal. It quoted AEI President Chris DeMuth, who said: "What the Guardian essentially characterized as a bribe is the conventional practice of AEI—and Brookings, Harvard, and the University of Manchester—to pay individuals" commissions for their work.

LETTERS

Re: Douglas Feith

Doug Feith can deny anything he wants, but he knows the truth in his heart … Karma Doug? I hope your children won’t end up paying for your manipulation of the truth that allowed this failed commander-in-chief to invade Iraq.

— Michelle Meyer

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Featured Profiles

Ron Dermer is the Israeli ambassador to the United States and has deep connections to the Republican Party and the neoconservative movement.


The Washington-based American Enterprise Institute is a rightist think tank with a broad mandate covering a range of foreign and domestic policy issues that is known for its strong connections to neoconservatism and overseas debacles like the Iraq War.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Since taking office Donald Trump has revealed an erratic and extremely hawkish approach to U.S. foreign affairs, which has been marked by controversial actions like dropping out of the Iran nuclear agreement that have raised tensions across much of the world and threatened relations with key allies.


Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and an evangelical pastor, is a far-right pundit known for his hawkish policies and opposition to an Israeli peace deal with the Palestinians.


Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and considered by some to be a future presidential candidate.


Former Vice President Dick Cheney was a leading framer of the “global war on terror” and a staunch supporter of aggressive U.S. military action around the world.


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From the Wires

The Trumpian new regional order in the Middle East is predicated on strongman rule, disregard for human rights, Sunni primacy over Iran and other Shia centers of power, continued military support for pro-American warring parties regardless of the unlawfulness of such wars, and Israeli hegemony.


A comparison of U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the current version with North Korea puts the former in a good light and makes the latter look disappointing. Those with an interest in curbing the dangers of proliferating nuclear weapons should hope that the North Korea picture will improve with time. But whether it does or not, the process has put into perspective how badly mistaken was the Trump administration’s trashing of the Iran nuclear agreement.


Numerous high profile Trump administration officials maintain close ties with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. In today’s America, disparaging Islam is acceptable in ways that disparaging other religions is not. Given the continuing well-funded campaigns by the Islamophobes and continuing support from their enablers in the Trump administration, starting with the president himself, it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time soon.


The Trump administration’s nuclear proliferation policy is now in meltdown, one which no threat of “steely resolve”—in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words—will easily contain. It is hemorrhaging in part because the administration has yet to forge a strategy that consistently and credibly signals a feasible bottom line that includes living with—rather than destroying—regimes it despises or fears. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle must call for a new model that has some reasonable hope of restraining America’s foes and bringing security to its Middle East allies.


Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate. Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity.


To bolster the president’s arguments for cutting back immigration, the administration recently released a fear-mongering report about future terrorist threats. Among the potential threats: a Sudanese national who, in 2016, “pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS”; an Uzbek who “posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS”; a Syrian who, in a plea agreement, “admitted that he knew a member of ISIS and that while in Syria he participated in a battle against the Syrian regime, including shooting at others, in coordination with Al Nusrah,” an al-Qaeda offshoot.


The recent appointment of purveyors of anti-Muslim rhetoric to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom exposes the cynical approach Republicans have taken in promoting religious freedom.


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