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


Via the Arabist , it seems two Saudi women recently lodged a protest against their country's religious police: Members of Khobar's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice were the victims of an attack by two Saudi females, Asharq Al-Awsat can reveal. According to the head of the commission in Khobar, two girls pepper sprayed members of the commission after they had tried to offer them advice. Head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Eastern province Dr. Mohamed bin Marshood al-Marshood, told Asharq Al Awsat that two of the Commission's employees were verbally insulted and attacked by two inappropriately-dressed females, in the old market in Prince Bandar street, an area usually crowded with shoppers during the month of Ramadan. According to Dr. Al-Marshood, the two commission members approached the girls in order to "politely" advise and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing. Consequently, the two girls started...


Via Steve Benen , All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena has been cleared of preach-crime by the IRS. "The Internal Revenue Service has told a prominent Pasadena church that it has ended its lengthy investigation into a 2004 antiwar sermon, church leaders said Sunday. But the agency wrote in its letter to All Saints Episcopal Church that officials still considered the sermon to have been illegal, prompting the church to seek clarification, a corrected record and an apology from the IRS, the church's rector told standing-room-only crowds of parishioners at Sunday's services. The church also has asked the Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, to investigate allegations that officials from the Justice Department had become involved in the matter, raising concerns that the investigation was politically motivated." Politically motivated? As if the Bush administration would actually use the Department of the Treasury as a weapon against political opponents... that's what the Justice...


Writing in Salon yesterday, Peter Galbraith goes into great detail about Iran's new role as regional hegemon. The L.A. Times reported on Mahmoud Ahmedinajad 's growing popularity throughout the Middle East, a result of his steadfast opposition to the U.S.'s continuing occupation of Iraq. I think the latter story is particularly significant in that it suggests the troubling prospect of a scenario in which the U.S. is allied with authoritarian Sunni Arab governments against popular Arab movements increasingly inclined, if not specifically toward Iran, then at least toward the Shi'i ethic of resistance which Ahmedinajad, along with Hizballah's Nasrallah and Muqtada al-Sadr , have come to represent. These developments do not represent policy successes. --Matthew Duss

Giuliani's War Cabinet

In his bid to become the 9-11 President, Rudy Giuliani has attached himself to a school of scholarly thought about the Middle East that has brought us nothing but disaster.

Rudy Giuliani speaks at a GOP fundraiser in March. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)
There have been a few odd and funny moments in the presidential campaign, but no one really brought the crazy until Rudy Giuliani dropped his foreign-policy manifesto in Foreign Affairs last month. The piece is a hodgepodge of apocalyptic scenarios and conservative victory narratives that everyone has come to expect from Giuliani. But what is scary about the manifesto is how clearly it indicates his ambition to bring his craziness to bear on the entire world. Giuliani leaves no doubts as to where he's coming from. The manifesto's first line reads: "We are all members of the 9-11 generation." He goes on to describe, in very broad terms, a policy that imposes a Cold War framework over the United States' war against "radical Islamic fascism," a term which preposterously gathers al-Qaeda, Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, and Iraq's Mahdi Army under a single heading. He regards international institutions, at best, as mere tools for implementing the will of the United States, to be sidelined when...


STILL A PROBLEM. One of the more interesting aspects of the criticisms of Mearsheimer and Walt 's The Israel Lobby is the way that, despite the authors' specific and strenuous disavowal of the idea of a "Jewish conspiracy," some critics still accuse the authors of describing a "Jewish conspiracy." (Am I supposed to hold the book sideways, or read it by the light of the full moon in order to translate "there is no conspiracy" into "there is a conspiracy"? I’m not sure.) Indeed, Mearsheimer and Walt's continued insistence that they are not engaged in conspiracy-mongering is simply taken by their critics as more proof that they are engaged in conspiracy-mongering, something which, ironically, is characteristic of conspiracy-mongering. But never mind. Now, I think it's pretty obvious to reasonable people that the charge of anti-Semitism against Mearsheimer and Walt is not serious, except in so much as it indicates the unfortunate tendency of some among the hard-line pro-Israel community...