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

THE INNOCENTS ABROAD.

In his continuing coverage of the NRO fabulist , Andrew Sullivan directs us to the Human Province , a Lebanon-based blogger who further disassembles W. Thomas Smith, Jr.'s fantastical tales of phantom Hezbollah brigades invading Beirut. It just so happens that I live on the East side of town in one of the "Christian areas of Beirut," and I can guarantee that Smith's account is laughably untrue. On the day that Smith says Hezbollah "deployed" to East Beirut, I was doing some shopping. I live on the border of Gemmayzeh and Mar Mkhail and went to Sassine and ABC that day (all of which are Christian neighborhoods), and rest assured, there were no Hezbollah militants, much less armed ones, to be seen anywhere. Had what he described been true, there would most likely have been a civil war, or at the very least isolated street fighting. As it was, not only was there no fighting, but not a single journalist in Beirut, foreign or Lebanese, picked up on Hezbollah's alleged "show of force."...

BUT THERE'S ONE THING I KNOW, EVEN THOUGH I'M YOUNGER THAN YOU.

While I'm glad that the conclusions of the newly released NIE have pushed the prospect of an inevitably disastrous Iran invasion substantially farther off the table for now, I think we're still left with very serious questions both about the brazenly dishonest process by which the President, the Vice-President, and their apparatchiks were clearly trying to build support for war with Iran based on a nuclear threat which we know now they knew to be nonexistent, and about the ideology which underpinned this effort. To build on what Rob said , I think that perhaps the most important determination of the NIE is that Iran's "decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs." That is, despite some high-flown Iranian rhetoric (and decades-old Khomeini quotes of dubious provenance ) Iran's behavior indicates that it is taking a rational, pragmatic approach to its role as regional hegemon. It is clearly not...

NIE: IRAN NOT DEAD SET ON IGNITING APOCALYPSE.

Interesting : A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb. [...] The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran’s ultimate intentions about gaining a nuclear weapon remain unclear, but that Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs. Brad Plumer directs us to this story by Gareth Porter , detailing how Vice-President Cheney 's office held up the release of the NIE for over a year because its conclusions conflicted with Cheney's goal of ginning up a war with Iran. --Matthew Duss

AS IF TO EXHUME PARODY, STRANGLE IT WITH PIANO WIRE, AND REBURY IT.

Scolding Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for what he considers unacceptably conciliatory rhetoric at last week's peace conference, Commentary's Eric Trager suspects the source of Olmert's outrageous moral unclarity: Jimmy Carter 's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and Mearsheimer and Walt 's The Israel Lobby and U.S Foreign Policy : "[W]hile the American Jewish community was busy debating whether these authors were anti-Semitic, conspiratorial, or simply misguided, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was apparently leafing through the two bestselling tomes for sound-bite material. Consider Olmert’s bizarre press statements following last week’s Annapolis Conference, in which he framed his pursuit of negotiations with terms perfectly agreeable to Carter, Walt, and Mearsheimer. [...] Olmert is going to have to learn to better represent Israelis and more effectively address Palestinians if forthcoming negotiations are to have any chance. On the other hand, in case negotiations fail,...

DEFENDING JOURNALISTIC MALPRACTICE WITH COLONIAL-ERA RACISM.

I hope you're enjoying the NROBS saga as much as I am. If not, go read about it . Tom Edsall has done some great work here. ( Greenwald and Sullivan also have some good follow-up .) In what I can only hope will come to be remembered as the most regretted post of her career, editor Kathryn Jean Lopez sort-of apologizes for W. Thomas Smith 's fabrications with an appeal to the bigotry of National Review 's readership. The Arab, you see, is very crafty: "[W]e “should have provided readers with more context and caveats” – the context that Smith was operating in an uncertain environment where he couldn’t always be sure of what he was witnessing, and the caveats that he filled in the gaps by talking to sources within the Cedar Revolution movement and the Lebanese national-security apparatus, whose claims obviously should have been been treated with the same degree of skepticism as those of anyone with an agenda to advance. As one of our sources put it: “ The Arab tendency to lie and...

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