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

The myth of Mideast dominance; profiles on Steve Rosen, Dennis Ross, John Yoo, Peter Wehner, Blackwa

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FEATURED ARTICLES

U.S.-Iranian Engagement: When and How?
By Ahmad Sadri

On Norouz, the day when Iranians celebrate the coming of spring and the new Iranian calendar year, President Barack Obama put the United States on a path to a fresh relationship with Iran. But given the upcoming Iranian presidential elections in June, the real question for the U.S. administration is when and how to further engage Iran. One thing is clear, the two countries have a number of shared concerns, which could provide them with a new basis for relations. Read full story.

Military Dominance in Mideast a Costly Myth?
By Gareth Porter

The United States might not be the dominant power in the Middle East that the Obama administration seems to presume, which could have far reaching consequences on its actions in the region. Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

Steve Rosen
One of the key pundits involved in the effort to overturn the nomination of Charles Freeman to a top intelligence post, Rosen recently sued his former employer, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, for defamation in connection to his federal indictment for allegedly passing U.S. secrets to Israel.

Dennis Ross
A career diplomat with close ties to neoconservatives, Ross was recently given an appointment in the Obama administration, which includes advising on Iran policy.

John Yoo
Newly released Justice Department memos shed light on the controversial opinions issued by Yoo regarding the use of the military on U.S. soil to fight the war on terror.

Peter Wehner
The former head of strategic initiatives in the Bush White House, Wehner has used his perch at the neocon Ethics and Public Policy Center to defend the Bush record and issue warnings about the direction of the new president.

XE (Blackwater Worldwide)
Recently rechristened as Xe, the Blackwater private security company—notorious for its work in Iraq—claims to be shifting its focus to training and logistics, including training pro athletes in self-defense.

Erik Prince
After six of his company’s contractors were indicted last December for killing civilians in Iraq, Prince argued that Blackwater was a company driven by patriotic duty and woefully misunderstood.

Christopher DeMuth
DeMuth served as director of the American Enterprise Institute for more than 20 years before stepping down early this year.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

From "Axis of Evil" to "Happy New Year"
By Ali Gharib (Inter Press Service)

President Obama issued well wishes to Iran on that country’s New Year’s celebration last Friday, striking a dramatically different tone to that adopted by his predecessor. Read article.

Bipartisan Experts Urge "Partnership" with Russia
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

A recent report suggests how the new administration can find common ground with Russia, after the U.S.-Russia relationship reached a new post-Cold War low last summer. Read article.

Vetting Nominees, Hampering Policy?
Analysis by Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

Will the lengthy and intrusive vetting process for nominees hamper the Obama’s administration ability to confront a number of foreign policy issues? Read article.

Islamist Governments Not the Enemy, Say Mideast Experts
By Ali Gharib (Inter Press Service)

U.S. policy must end its misguided fear of Islamist parties and concentrate on human rights, experts assert in open letter to Obama. Read article.

Freeman Withdrawal Marks Victory for “Israel Lobby”
By Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

A vitriolic battle waged by Republican lawmakers and Israel-centric hardliners spurred Charles “Chas” Freeman to withdraw from consideration to chair the National Intelligence Council. Read article.

"Resist and Deter" Iran
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

A recent report by a hawkish U.S. think tank urges the administration to exert increasing pressure on Tehran to abandon its enrichment program and be prepared to launch military strikes. Read article.

Dutch Foe of Islam Goes to Washington
By Daniel Luban and Eli Clifton (Inter Press Service)

Dutch MP Geert Wilders tours the United States, soliciting conservatives for financial and ideological support. Read article.

LETTERS

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Featured Profiles

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.


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


Right Web readers will be familiar with Mr. Fleitz, the former CIA officer who once threatened to take “legal action” against Right Web for publicizing reports of controversies he was associated with in the George W. Bush administration. Fleitz recently left his job at the conspiracy-mongering Center for Security Policy to become chief of staff to John Bolton at the National Security Council.


Norm Coleman is chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former senator from Minnesota known for his hawkish views on foreign policy.


Billionaire hedge fund mogul Paul Singer is known for his predatory business practices and support for neoconservative causes.


Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, is a passionate supporter of Trump’s foreign policy.


Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest “pro-Israel” advocacy group in the United States, is known for its zealous Christian Zionism and its growing influence in the Republican Party.


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From the Wires

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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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