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

THEM IRANIANS, THEY WAS COMIN' AROUND...

As part of the Weekly Standard 's ongoing effort cast blame on Iran (and, whenever possible, the Democrats) for the fact that reality has not cooperated with Bill Kristol 's bong-hit fantasies about the salutary regional effects of an American invasion of Iraq , Jonathan Karl suggests that Iraq's refusal to send a representative to the Annapolis conference is due to...the pernicious influence of Iran: [Iraqi PM] Maliki convened a secret cabinet meeting on the day of the conference to vote on whether to allow [Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. Samir] al-Sumaydi to go to Annapolis. A majority of the cabinet voted against attending. No one will say how the vote broke down, but a senior official tells me it wasn't even close. The public reason they gave for nonattendance was a "scheduling conflict." But there is a more convincing reason: Iran. The Annapolis conference was designed in part to isolate Iran, the only country in the region not invited. Iran loudly condemned the conference and...

SCARED AND ANGRY IS NO WAY TO GO THROUGH LIFE, SON.

With all the attention being paid to Jonah Goldberg 's forthcoming very serious, thoughtful argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care , it's easy to forget that Goldberg also makes transparently ridiculous arguments about lots of things that have nothing to do with misrepresenting the nature and history of fascism. For instance, torture . Goldberg says that liberals are "cop-outs" because Nancy Pelosi didn't protest when first informed that waterboarding was being used on high-level detainees: Her defenders say we need to look at the context. This was just after 9/11, and Pelosi was as angry about the attack and as eager to prevent another one as anyone. Time magazine's liberal columnist Joe Klein writes: ''There was fear that we would be attacked again by terrorists, and on a regular basis. Few were thinking clearly about the nature of the threat and how to deal with it.'' So, what's the big deal? Well, it's a big deal for a lot of reasons. But the one that...

"QATIF GIRL" PARDONED.

Saudi King Abdullah has pardoned "Qatif girl," the young Saudi Shia woman who was kidnapped and raped, then sentenced to 90 lashes for the crime of being alone with a man to whom she was not related, then sentenced to prison time and an additional 200 lashes for appealing the first sentence. The "Qatif girl" case caused an international outcry with widespread criticism of the Saudi justice system. The male and female victims were in a car together when they were abducted and raped by seven attackers, who were given jail sentences up to nine years. Press reports say King Abdullah's move did not mean the sentence was wrong. Not wrong, so much as the product of institutionalized hardcore misogyny and male privilege dressed up as "piety." Now maybe King Abdullah can do something about the roving gangs of Saudi fundamentalist religious thugs who regularly beat up women who aren't appropriately covered up--oh wait, the Mutaween are an arm of the Saudi state. Such allies we have! --Matthew...

THIS IS WHAT THE SURGE'S SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE.

This article in yesterday's Washington Post on Iraqi refugees returning to Baghdad was accompanied by this graphic of the new sectarian make-up of the city. Comparing Baghdad's sectarian distribution in April 2006 to November 2007, we see a city completely transformed, with a majority of the formerly mixed neighborhoods now taken over by Shi'is, most of them supported by the guns of Muqtada al-Sadr 's Mahdi Army. What the graphic does not show, and the article does not mention, are the concrete walls which have been erected between new Sunni and Shia neighborhoods throughout Baghdad. David Axe reported in April on the walling off of Adhamiyah: Not everyone was thrilled by the Adhamiyah barrier. "This will deepen the sectarian strife and only serve to abort efforts aimed at reconciliation," a Sunni shop owner told The New York Times. Noting such objections, [General David Petraeus' counter-insurgency advisor David] Kilcullen stresses that the walls are temporary. He compares them to...

LIGHTNING ROUND.

As noted below , co-chair of Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign Bill Shaheen resigned after not being subtle enough about trying to make Barack Obama's youthful drug use an issue in the primary. Then Hillary Clinton apologized . Then Clinton strategist Mark Penn went on Hardball to make sure that everyone knew that we're talking about cocaine here. Classy. With regard to Bill Shaheen, this is the first I'd heard that Mr. Big's ex-bassist had gone into politics. (Oops, sorry, that's Billy Sheehan .) The Rudy Giuliani campaign has announced that the candidate will make a major campaign statement tomorrow, outlining his vision for the future of America. Presumably he will detail who can expect to be bombed by the U.S., who can expect to be detained without charge and tortured by the U.S., and who can expect to merely be deported. The New York Times reports that the Mike Huckabee campaign was "crippled for about 24 hours by a massive e-mail breakdown that began just after Wednesday’...

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