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

China, the new Mideast power; Profiles on Kristol, Abdelnour, Gaffney, AIPAC, and more.

FEATURED ARTICLE

China and America Jostle in the Middle East
By Richard Javad Heydarian

China is rapidly expanding its influence in the Middle East. Sidelined during the Cold War, Beijing now has both the economic wherewithal and the military muscle to be a force to reckon with in the region. The country is busy deepening its ties with regional powers, including many of America’s Arab allies as well as its regional foes, and challenging U.S.-Israeli dominance. What impact could this have on efforts to forge Middle East peace? And could the region become a battleground for a 21st century conflict between a rising China and a stagnant United States? Read full article.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Ziad Abdelnour

A Lebanese-American investment banker closely tied to militarist advocacy groups, Abdelnour wants the United States or Israel to “annihilate” Hezbollah.

William Kristol

The Weekly Standard editor and Fox News pundit, Kristol has been busy since the election of Barack Obama supporting a string of new pressure groups aimed at promoting the same neoconservative agenda that helped shaped George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

American Israeli Public Affairs Committee

AIPAC, “America’s pro-Israel lobby,” has been a major backer of sanctions legislation that some observers argue will hurt the Obama administration’s attempts to curtail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Frank Gaffney

Gaffney thinks that the Obama administration’s new logo for the Missile Defense Agency, which features a crescent-like shape, fits a “worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam and the theo-political-legal program the latter’s authorities call Shariah.”

U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon

Since the election of President Obama, this neocon-aligned advocacy group has endeavored to paint itself as a centrist organization, “just the ultimate lobbyists and powerbrokers for a Free and Democratic Lebanon.”

Patrick Clawson

In a recent paper for the “pro-Israel” WINEP, Clawson argues for cautious measures in approaching Iranian factions about that country’s nuclear program.

 

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IRAN: U.S. Sanctions versus UN Sanctions

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Failed Bomb Plot Tests U.S.-Pakistan Ties

The failed Times Square bombing attempt has highlighted the challenges facing the United States in trying to pressure Pakistan on anti-terror efforts.

The Israeli Exception 

North Korea and Israel have a lot in common, but partly as a result of U.S. policy toward them, one country is an official rogue while the other only plays one on Arab TV.

Whither the Proximity Talks? 

U.S.-backed proximity talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are scheduled to begin, just as a growing alignment of international sympathy for the Palestinian perspective of the conflict has started to emerge.

Iran Sanctions Push 

As midterm elections approach, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are eager to demonstrate their strong support for Israel, in part by arguing for “crippling” sanctions against Tehran.

 

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Featured Profiles

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


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From the Wires

The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


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