Keyword : US Middle East Policy


The United States, the UN, and the Lebanon Ceasefire
21 August 2006

The UN Security Council resolution for a ceasefire to the fighting in Lebanon is certainly good news in terms of ending the carnage. Passed on August 11, Resolution 1701 is also a marked improvement over the original U.S. draft and contains some positive language. Both sides, for instance, are called upon to honor ?a full cessation of hostilities.? And Israel must provide the UN with maps of landmines planted in southern Lebanon during Israel’s 22-year occupation that ended in 2000.


How Washington Goaded Israel
21 August 2006

There is increasing evidence that Israel instigated a disastrous war on Lebanon largely at the behest of the United States. The Bush administration was set on crippling Hezbollah, the radical Shiite political movement that maintains a sizable block of seats in the Lebanese parliament. Taking advantage of the country’s democratic opening after the forced departure of Syrian troops last year, Hezbollah defied U.S. efforts to democratize the region on American terms. The populist party’s unwillingness to disarm its militia as required by UN resolution?and the inability of the pro-Western Lebanese government to force them to do so?led the Bush administration to push Israel to take military action.


Was Hezbollah a Legitimate Target?
8 August 2006

The Bush administration and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress have gone on record defending Israel’s assault on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure as a means of attacking Hezbollah “terrorists.” Unlike the major Palestinian Islamist groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah forces haven’t killed any Israeli civilians for more than a decade. Indeed, a 2002 Congressional Research Service report noted, in its analysis of Hezbollah, that “no major terrorist attacks have been attributed to it since 1994.” The most recent State Department report on international terrorism also fails to note any acts of terrorism by Hezbollah since that time except for unsubstantiated claims that a Hezbollah member was a participant in a June 1996 attack on the U.S. Air Force dormitory at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.


Congress Approves Flawed Oman Trade Pact
27 July 2006

One of the sub-plots in last year’s critically acclaimed film Syriana tells the story of two young Pakistani ?guest workers? in an unnamed Persian Gulf nation who, after years of resentment over miserable living conditions, are taken in by a radical cleric and recruited to be suicide bombers. The film is an all too accurate portrayal of the exploitation of ?guest workers? in many Gulf countries, and how these conditions can cause instability.


The Israel Lobby: How Powerful is it Really?
16 May 2006

Since its publication in the London Review of Books in March, John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt’s article “The Israel Lobby”—and the longer version published as a working paper for Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government—has received widespread attention from across the political spectrum. These noted professors put forward two major arguments: the first is the very legitimate and widely acknowledged (outside of official Washington) concern that U.S. Middle East policy, particularly U.S. support for the more controversial policies of the Israeli government, is contrary to the long-term strategic interests of the United States. Their second, and far more questionable, argument is that most of the blame for this misguided policy rests with the “ Israel lobby” rather than with the more powerful interests that actually drive U.S. foreign policy.


Attacking Iran: The Israel Connection
3 May 2006

With even mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and The New Yorker publishing credible stories that the United States is seriously planning a military attack on Iran, increasing numbers of Americans are expressing concerns about the consequences of the United States launching another war that would once again place the United States in direct contravention of international law.


The Dubai Ports World Controversy: Jingoism or Legitimate Concerns?
1 March 2006

Congressional Democrats, who proved themselves to be so timid in challenging the Bush administration in its invasion and occupation of Iraq, the initial passage of the Patriot Act, the bombing of Afghanistan, the detention without due process and torture of thousands of detainees worldwide, and other horrendous policies finally found the courage to challenge the Bush administration on a post-9/11 security issue and won. Unfortunately, they chose an issue of little real importance and decided to appeal to popular racist and jingoistic sentiments by raising exaggerated fears over the implications of a routine transfer of ownership of a company which operates facilities at some terminals in six U.S. ports.


Don’t Blame Israel
14 January 2006

The official rationales for the U.S. invasion of Iraq are now widely acknowledged to have been fabricated: that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction threatening the national security of the United States and that the Iraqi government had operational ties to al Quaida. As the backup rationalization — bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq — loses credibility, increasing attention is being given as to why the U.S. government, with broad bipartisan support, made such a fateful decision.


Congress Overwhelmingly Endorses Ariel Sharon’s Annexation Plans
1 October 2005

On Wednesday, June 23, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote, endorsed right-wing Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s efforts to colonize and annex large sections of the Palestinian West Bank, seized by Israel in the June 1967 war.

This was not just another “pro-Israel” (or, more accurately, “pro-Israeli right”) resolution, but an effective renunciation of the post-World War II international system based upon the premise of the illegitimacy of the expansion of a country’s territory by military force.


The U.S. Role in the Breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process
1 May 2005

In the time since the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Camp David in the summer of 2000 and the subsequent Palestinian uprising, details have emerged that challenge the Clinton administration’s insistence—reiterated by leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties as well as by much of the mainstream media—that the Palestinians were responsible for the failure to reach a peace agreement and for much of the violence that has engulfed Israel and Palestine since then.