Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is a foreign policy analyst and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

The Cables' Credibility Question

What do the WikiLeaks cables tell us about the Middle East in the wake of the Bush Doctrine?

Hillary Clinton makes a statement on the WikiLeaks document release. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Some time between Saturday evening and Monday morning, it suddenly became important to U.S. hawks that we take seriously what Arab leaders have been saying about instability in the Middle East. I refer, of course, to the comments from Arab leaders, released as part of the WikiLeaks cable dump, urging the United States to more aggressively curb Iranian power and influence in the region. Unsurprisingly, these cables have bolstered neoconservative calls for a U.S. military strike on Iran. Leaving aside the irony that neoconservatives are citing as justification for another war the concerns of the same Arab authoritarians they wanted overthrown in 2003, it's quite interesting to note when and on what subjects Arab leaders are to be believed. For years, we've been told by conservative Middle East "experts" that, despite public pleading, Arab leaders were really not concerned about the destabilizing effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Hudson Institute's Lee Smith exemplified...

Inconvenient Alliances

A new book details the military and nuclear partnership between Israel and apartheid South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s.

To say that Sasha Polakow-Suransky's new book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa comes at a particularly inconvenient time for the Netanyahu government would be an understatement. Israel is resisting calls for an independent investigation of the May 31 flotilla attack -- in which Israeli naval commandos killed nine activists aboard a Turkish vessel attempting to break the Gaza blockade -- while it continues to deal with the fallout from a previous United Nations investigation of its conduct during the 2009 Gaza War. Those opposed to the Gaza investigation have even gone so far as to attempt to smear the author, Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who oversaw the report for the U.N. Human Rights Council. The report asserted evidence of possible war crimes by both Israel and Hamas and has been a source of serious concern for Israeli officials. In early May, the popular Israeli tabloid Yediot Ahronot published a "special investigation"...

Iran's Crisis of Resistance

Facing heavy domestic criticism, the Iranian regime could seek to recoup lost credibility by causing more trouble in the region.

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's most senior dissident cleric. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
The "war on terror" was pretty great for Iran's hardliners. The Bush administration's 2002 inclusion of Iran in the "Axis of Evil" was a major blow to Iranian moderates, discrediting their calls for U.S.-Iran rapprochement and supporting the claims of Iran's hard-liners that engagement with America was pointless. The invasion of Iraq removed Iran's greatest enemy, Saddam Hussein, against whom Iran had fought a staggeringly destructive eight-year war. Iraq's postwar government included a significant number of Iran's former clients -- including eventual Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq -- in top leadership positions. The perceived success of Iran's Lebanese ally Hezbollah against Israel in 2006 -- in a devastating month-long combination of bombing and ground combat hailed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as "the birth pangs of a new Middle East" -- also proved a huge boost to Iranian hawks. A 2007 poll of Egyptians placed Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan...

Will Huckabee Pay A Price For Rejecting the Two-State Solution?

The former (and likely future) presidential candidate's statements during a Middle East visit are to the right even of his own party.

Mike Huckabee visits the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim, near Jerusalem, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
On Monday, a radical cleric issued a statement rejecting a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine, suggesting that one of the two parties involved in the conflict should be made to find a homeland "elsewhere." Strangely, conservatives, who can usually be counted on to condemn such statements, have thus far been silent about this denial of the right of two peoples to two states in the Holy Land. But perhaps it's not so strange, given that the cleric in question is Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, non-ordained Southern Baptist pastor, and former (and likely future) Republican presidential candidate. Speaking to reporters while on a tour of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, Huckabee insisted that there is no room for a Palestinian state "in the middle of the Jewish homeland" and that the international community should consider giving the Palestinians a state some place else. Huckabee's visit is being sponsored by the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, a pro-settler group...

The Other Sons of Iraq

How the lessons al-Qaeda learned in Iraq are informing the next generation of fighters.

Asked about the growing insurgency in Iraq back in July 2003, then-President George W. Bush responded with a remark that will very likely appear in his obituary: "Bring 'em on." For Bush, it was merely a regrettable quip. For Iraqis, there were very real consequences. Thousands of fighters, many of them radicalized by the Iraq invasion and occupation itself, traveled from countries in the region to "bring it on" in Iraq's cities and neighborhoods, markets and mosques. In addition to the costs in lives to Iraqis and American troops, the conflict enabled al-Qaeda planners to develop and refine a set of practices against the most skilled military in the world -- Iraq became a kind of terrorist boot camp. As early as 2003, tactics and techniques developed in Iraq -- improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs, suicide vests -- began migrating to other fronts like Afghanistan, where they continue to bedevil our soldiers. RAND analyst Seth Jones, whose book, In the Graveyard of Empires:...