Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

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:...

Conservatives' Cold War Approach to Iran

Republicans are once again deploying a cracked history of the Reagan era to cast international politics as a zero-sum game.

President Barack Obama has come under increasing criticism from conservatives for what they see as his insufficient rhetorical support for the Iranians demonstrating for reform. As usual, playing a lead role in conservative arguments is the mighty Communist-killer Ronald Reagan. On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Pence, a Republican from Indiana, invoked the sainted former president while introducing a House resolution "expressing concerns about the Iranian presidential election and condemning the violence against demonstrators." Pence insisted that "we cannot stand idly by … at a time when hundreds of thousands of Iranians are risking their lives to stand up for free elections and democracy," and quoted from Reagan's first Inaugural Address: "No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." Holding forth on Fox News, Charles Krauthammer, one of Washington's chief keepers of the Reagan flame, grumbled that Obama wasn’t "...

The Shia Religious State

The Bush administration and its supporters hailed the recently signed security pact between the U.S. and Iraqi governments as a major milestone. But the agreement revealed who the most powerful forces in the new Iraq really are.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks to the media after meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)
In the never-ending battle to define and redefine the terms of the Iraq debate, President Bush and conservative supporters of the war have rallied to portray the recent signing of the security agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments as a milestone for freedom. Speaking to the Brookings Institution on Dec. 5, Bush announced , "Iraq has gone from an enemy of America to a friend of America, from sponsoring terror to fighting terror, and from a brutal dictatorship to a multi-religious, multi-ethnic constitutional democracy." That same week, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer declared the security agreement "a defeat for Tehran," because the "the ostensibly pro-Iranian religious Shiite parties resisted Tehran's pressure and championed the agreement." But examining the debate within Iraq over the security agreement reveals who has power in the new Iraq and shows that the claims of the war's supporters are -- as usual -- less than accurate. Shias make up more than 60...