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


ANTI-DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION. Following on Doctor Robert 's post, while I agree with Rob's statement that "the strategy of allying with Sunni tribes amounts to a renunciation of U.S. state-building aims in Iraq," I'd also add that recent developments in President Bush 's Middle East policy, most notably the $65 billion in arms going to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, amount to a renunciation of Bush's entire program of democratic transformation in the region, and a reversion to "realist" policies of the past. Bush is now primarily concerned with mitigating the terrible consequences of his own bad judgment and incompetence in Iraq, so freedom will have to wait. Bush will no doubt continue to talk about Arab democratic reform, just as he will talk about a united Iraq, while implementing policies that undermine both. --Matthew Duss


LEDEEN'S IRANALYSIS. Utterly dedicated to the task of getting us into war with Iran, self-described "Iranologist" Michael Ledeen has taken it upon himself to decide who does and does not qualify as a true Iraqi . "A footnote to Fred Kagan's exceptional work on events in Iraq: he rightly says "al Qaeda in Iraq is a foreign-run Iraqi terrorist organization." Moreover, one has to stipulate that "Iraqi terrorist" is a term rather more complicated than outfits like al-AP seem to understand. Many Iraqis went to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, where they were trained/indoctrinated by the mullahs for twenty-plus years. We're talking about several million people, not a few cadres. Some of them, along with children, were sent into Iraq to fight us. It's very misleading to simply call them "Iraqis." Maybe they—and their children even more so—should be called "Iranians of Iraqi origin," or "Iranian agents" or some such. Groups like AQI, along with Shi'ite militias, have a strong "foreign"...


"HOARD WEAPONS, GROW GILLS, AND LEARN TO COMMUNICATE WITH SERPENTS." Jonah Goldberg is upset that, two years after Katrina, the news media are still under-reporting their own failures. "Few of us can forget the reports from two years ago. CNN warned that there were "bands of rapists, going block to block." Snipers were reportedly shooting at medical personnel. Bodies at the Superdome, we were told, were stacked like cordwood. The Washington Post proclaimed in a banner headline that New Orleans was a "A City of Despair and Lawlessness," insisting in an editorial that "looters and carjackers, some of them armed, have run rampant." Fox News anchor John Gibson said there were "all kinds of reports of looting, fires and violence. Thugs shooting at rescue crews." [...] Reports of the Superdome being a slaughterhouse were repeated, even though dozens of news organizations had access to the building. CBS alone had 200 people in New Orleans, and yet it couldn't find those bodies stacked to the...


GUILTY PLEASURES . Jamie Kirchick takes a stand: "I'll admit, the New York Post is a guilty pleasure. It's the first paper I buy whenever I'm in the city. Like most of its readers, I take it for what it is, and enjoy it for a few minutes on the subway. It's fun and understands its role as a tabloid, which is to say, it has a sense of humor. One of the best Post headlines was a front-page spread showing Yasir Arafat's grieving wife at his funeral: "THE FAT LADY SINGS." But New York magazine shows that the Post's coverage of the Larry Craig fiasco--perfect fodder for the tabloid-- isn't even funny . You can click on a link in the Post's news story to take their "Are you a gay senator?" test, which just traffics in old stereotypes. "Do you sing show tunes in the car between political events?" it asks." Did I really just read that? Did Kirchick just write that making fun of a grieving widow for being fat is really funny, but referencing gay stereotypes about a Senator caught cruising an...


MUQTADA CALLS A TIME OUT. The big news from Iraq is that Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his militia to stand down , though he has stated they will continue defensive operations against the occupation forces. Muqtada's image has suffered greatly from the perception among Iraqis that elements of his Mahdi Army incited the violence we saw earlier in the week. Starting a fight at the birthday observances of the imam after whom your group is named doesn't speak well of your piety, which is one of the strongest things he has going for him, so he has to do some serious damage control. The Washington Post article quotes both U.S. military sources and sources close him who suggest that the freeze is also part of an effort by Muqtada to root out factions of his militia which he believes to be directed by Iran. We can add this to the pile of evidence against the claim that Muqtada is an Iranian proxy, despite that claim being constantly stated as fact by those who seem intent on compounding the...