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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

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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