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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

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


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.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


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From the Wires

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Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


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The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


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An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


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The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


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Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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