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

The Campaign to Push for U.S. Military Action in Syria

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Right-Wing and Liberal Hawks Reunite Over Syria
By Jim Lobe
Ten years after right-wing and liberal hawks came together to push the U.S. into invading Iraq, key members of the two groups appear to be reuniting behind stronger U.S. military intervention in Syria. While the liberals appear motivated by a desire to stop the violence and prevent its spread across borders, their right-wing colleagues, particularly neoconservatives, see U.S. intervention as key to dealing Iran a strategic defeat in the region. Read article.

Feature Profiles

Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes, an outspoken neoconservative and critic of Islam, has broken with many of his fellow hawks on the issue of Syria. Rather than advocating the imposition of a "no-fly zone" or sending U.S. arms to the Syrian rebels, Pipes has argued that the United States should consider backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, writing that "Western powers should guide enemies to stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong the conflict" and keep each side "focused locally."

John McCain
Since his longtime ally Sen. Joe Lieberman retired from the Senate, Sen. John McCain has led the congressional push for U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war, recently quipping that President Obama's supposed "red line" regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria "was apparently written in disappearing ink." Dismissing warnings about Syria's simmering sectarian tensions and the prevalence of radical Islamists amid its armed opposition, McCain has advocated sending heavy weaponry to Syria's rebels and employing U.S. airpower to create "safe zones" inside Syria.

Michael O’Hanlon
Brookings scholar Michael O'Hanlon, a well known liberal interventionist who often teams up with rightwing hawks to push for U.S. military action abroad, has exceeded the proposals of many of his conservative partners with respect to Syria. In addition to advocating arming rebels and creating “no-fly zones,” O'Hanlon has suggested that the United States send as many as 20,000 U.S. "peacekeepers" to police an ethnically and religiously fractured Syria.

Clare Lopez
Longtime right-wing activist and former CIA officer Clare Lopez is a vocal proponent of the notion that the U.S. government—and in particular the Obama administration—has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. A senior fellow at the Clarion Project and the Center for Security Policy, Lopez implied in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing that Brotherhood-linked “front groups” had stymied FBI surveillance of mosques and Muslim organizations, making such attacks more likely to occur.

Jerusalem Summit
The Jerusalem Summit is an Israel-based advocacy group that brings together evangelical Christians, U.S.-based neoconservatives, and international “pro-Israel” organizations to press an anti-Palestinian agenda. Although the group appears to be largely dormant, it maintains an active presence on Facebook, where it posts images and messages mocking the notion of Palestinian statehood, promoting IDF talking points, and calling the “1.4 million Muslims living in Israel” an “obstacle to peace.”

Also New on Right Web

Obama Unlikely to Sharply Escalate Intervention in Syria
The Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons has led to calls for increased U.S. assistance to rebels, but lingering doubts in Washington about intervention means assistance will likely remain limited.

Europe Urged to Step into Breach of Failed Mideast Peace
A group of former European leaders is urging the EU to sidestep the stalled U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace process and take a strong stance against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

Israel Unlikely to Stay on Syrian Sidelines for Much Longer
Increased Hezbollah activity in the Syrian conflict could be spurring Israel to intervene.

Some Hear Death Knell for a Two-State Solution
John Kerry and the Obama administration have placed renewed attention on the Middle East and Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but some analysts think their efforts are too little and too late.

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Featured Profiles

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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From the Wires

Jobs should not be an excuse to arm a murderous regime that not only appears to be behind the assassination of a U.S. resident and respected commentator but is also responsible for thousands of civilian casualties in Yemen—the majority killed with U.S-supplied bombs, combat aircraft, and tactical assistance.


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.


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