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


Josh Patashnik , responding to Andy McCarthy 's claim that Benazir Bhutto was killed "by the real Pakistan": [This] seems to me akin to saying in 1968 that Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by the "real America"--not completely absurd, but far from capturing the reality of the situation. It's an insult to the disenfranchised majority of Pakistanis who reject both Musharraf and al-Qaeda. Indeed. --Matthew Duss


Max Boot claims "Charlie Wilson's War" for his team, describing "neocon movies" thusly: Movies...that support active American intervention in the world in support of our ideals as well as our strategic interests. Now, of course, that's not neoconservatism, that's just plain good old liberal internationalism. Neoconservatism, as practiced by actual neoconservatives, is more accurately characterized as appropriating the language of values and ideals to give political cover to the vigorous pursuit of our strategic interests. Though I do take attempts by once-proud neocons like Boot to redefine their ideology so broadly and innocuously as to include everyone other than Ron Paul as a sign that they understand that it has not aged well. As for "Charlie Wilson's War" being a neocon movie, consider: The film seriously underplays the brutality of U.S. allies, while stressing the viciousness of our enemies. The strategy of arming Afghan warlords is presented as a wonderful plan whose...


Cernig comments on reports that Muqtada al-Sadr may extend the cease fire he declared in late August. ( Via Eric Martin .) Meanwhile, Cap'n Ed puzzles over why Sadr continues to refuse to play his assigned part in the "decline into political obsolescence" narrative that the Cap'n and so many other conservative scribes have persisted in writing lo these many years. Sadr has proven a wily foe in Iraq, and one has to wonder what he hopes to gain from this decision. No one really understood his sudden decision to adopt the cease-fire, either, except that he had already tried fighting a smaller American force and lost badly. Sadr didn't want to give the US another reason to go after him personally, and in fact fled the country when the surge started. [...] One hint may be in his new enthusiasm for his religious studies. He has long wanted to be taken seriously as a cleric, but lacked the formal training that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has, as well as his standing. Sadr, who got...


Negar Azimi explains how, rather than continuing to pressure Egypt on human rights and democratic reform, the Bush administration has reverted to supporting Hosni Mubarak 's dictatorship, treating it as an ally in the "war on terror" and a bulwark against the growing Iranian and Islamist influence which has resulted from the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Isn't that wonderful? By agreeing to be a recipient of extraordinary rendition detainees , you too can get the heat off your authoritarian regime. There's no overstating how deeply dispiriting this sort of thing is to Arab political reformers, or how strongly it confirms al-Qaeda propaganda about American methods and intentions in the Middle East. Ayman al-Zawahiri was himself radicalized by the torture he endured in Mubarak's prisons, and now, after a head fake in the direction of political reform, the U.S. is back to underwriting that torture. Ring, freedom, ring. --Matthew Duss

Underwriting the Conflict in Hebron

When it comes to U.S. fundraising for Israeli settlements, donating to the Hebron Fund is not merely an expression of support for Israel, it's a perpetuation of the systematic oppression of Palestinians.

On Nov. 18, in the beautifully appointed ballroom of Manhattan's posh Grand Hyatt Hotel at Grand Central Station, the Hebron Fund held its annual fund-raising gala. According to organizers, guests paid upward of $300 a head, with anything above the cost of the dinner considered tax-deductible. The evening began with a reception in an anteroom featuring a buffet of gourmet foods. A chef in a tall hat worked a stir-fry station; another expertly sliced sashimi and rolled sushi. A dessert table overflowed with cakes and chocolate mousse. A flute and piano duo played easy-listening versions of vaguely recognizable classics. The Hebron Fund is a Brooklyn-based charity that supports the "continued Jewish presence" in the West Bank city of Hebron, which is considered holy by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Hebron was home to a vibrant Jewish community until 1929, when a series of conflicts between Jews and Arabs culminated in riots...