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

The MEK Lobby: Chumming with Terrorists No More

FEATURED PROFILES People’s Mujahedin of Iran The People’s Mujahedin of Iran—or MEK—is a militant organization advocating the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which for many years was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. In September 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the group would be removed from…

FEATURED PROFILES

People’s Mujahedin of Iran

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran—or MEK—is a militant organization advocating the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which for many years was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. In September 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the group would be removed from the terrorist list. The decision was a major victory for the group’s backers, who spent millions on an aggressive lobbying campaign that included a host of prominent former U.S. officials and a crop of longtime neoconservatives. The decision also raised a number of concerns about a potential backlash from Iran, which could have repercussions on efforts to negotiate limits to that country’s nuclear program.

Marc Thiessen

A torture apologist and speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Marc Thiessen is a columnist for the Washington Post who has used his perch to advance a number of right-wing talking points on national security. Thiessen recently publicized a misleading claim about President Obama’s White House tenure alleging that the president skipped half of his intelligence briefings, when in reality the president had simply opted to read them rather than have them delivered orally. It was a claim the Post’s own fact checker called specious and “curious.”

Tommy Thompson

Tommy Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, is the Republican Party’s 2012 Senate nominee for Wisconsin. His record on foreign policy is thin—indeed, the only marginally relevant section on his campaign website concerns the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which he argues will help free the United States from the “manipulation” of “hostile” countries. Thompson has also endorsed the U.S. alliance with Israel (despite his history of making insensitive statements about Jews) and warned that a nuclear Iran could choke off the “Gulf” of Hormuz.

Réalité-EU

Réalité-EU is a hawkish policy outfit that promotes aggressive European policies toward Iran and other “threats” in the Middle East. The group purports to be based in London, but investigations by progressive blogs have suggested that the group is linked with The Israel Project, a neoconservative-leaning “pro-Israel” advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The organization’s website no longer lists a London address, but it continues to churn out hawkish analyses and policy recommendations aimed at European policymakers.

Fred Iklé (1924-2011)

Fred Iklé, who passed away in November 2011, was a well known foreign policy analyst and government official who supported a host of militarist foreign policies dating back to the 1970s—including rolling back détente with the Soviet Union and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. His case, however, presents an interesting reflection on the efforts of militarists today to expand U.S. military engagement in the Middle East. In particular, like many other erstwhile supporters of the Iraq War, Iklé eventually grew disillusioned with the neoconservative-led campaign to reshape the region’s geopolitical landscape and argued that an attack on Iran would be a “catastrophic failure.”

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

U.S. to Take Iran Anti-Regime Group Off Terrorism List

In a move certain to ratchet up already high tensions with Iran, the Obama administration has announced that it will remove the MEK from the State Department’s terrorism list.

Nobel Laureate Calls for Armed Intervention in Nigeria

On the International Day of Peace, Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka visited the United Nations—and called for armed intervention against the terrorist group Boko Haram in his home country of Nigeria.

U.N. Chief Jabs Media for Overblown Coverage of Hate Crimes

In the wake of an International Day of Peace marred by reports of violent riots from across the Islamic world, UN officials are calling on the international media not to amplify inflammatory hate speech.

Amid Tension in Islamic World, U.N. Chief Pleads for Harmony

Against a backdrop of international conflict and turmoil in the Middle East, UN officials are pleading for new investments in peacebuilding, a rollback in military spending, and a more democratic United Nations.

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Featured Profiles

Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela, is a neoconservative with a long record of hawkish positions and actions, including lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.


Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump second secretary of state, has driven a hawkish foreign policy in Iran and Latin America.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.


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.


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Domestic troubles, declining popularity, and a decidedly hawkish anti-Iran foreign policy team may combine to make the perfect storm that pushes Donald Trump to pull the United States into a new war in the Middle East.


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With Bolton and Pompeo by his side and Mattis departed, Trump may well go with his gut and attack Iran militarily. He’ll be encouraged in this delusion by Israel and Saudi Arabia. He’ll of course be looking for some way to distract the media and the American public. And he won’t care about the consequences.


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