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


LEAVE THE GUN, TAKE THE HADGI BADAH . Today's LA Times , on the difficulties of rooting out Muqtada al-Sadr 's Mahdi Army: Many soldiers also say practices that worked against insurgencies in other wars or in other parts of Iraq may not apply to Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods. The Al Mahdi militia is not a textbook insurgent group. To Iraqi Shiites, the militia offers a source for basic services and support for the political and religious work of popular anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr. "The Mahdi militia provides services and protects the region," said a 25-year-old clothing salesman in the Shiite neighborhood of New Baghdad who gave his nickname as Abu Atwar. "Militiamen do some killings from time to time, but we do not care about the crimes they commit. Only God can make them pay for that because, as you know, no law is working in Iraq now." The Mahdi Army may not be a textbook insurgent group, but they are in many ways a textbook Islamic resistance organization. Like Hamas and...


WHEN MINI-ME'S ATTACK. There's a small scuffle going on over at Andrew Sullivan 's place . Yesterday, guest-blogger Jamie Kirchick posted this bizarre item , in which he interpreted a couple of Barack Obama 's statements to derive The Obama Doctrine: "The United States will remain impassive in the face of genocide." Fellow guest-blogger Hilzoy responded with a lengthy, detailed post, arguing that, sure, that makes sense if you ignore everything else that Obama has ever said or written on the subject. Kirchick then lamely responded that he was "was hoping to be provocative and stir some debate," which, while being an incredibly weak defense for accusing someone of ignoring genocide, is what people tend to say after they just been totally pwned. This sort of careless drive-by on a Democrat is typical for Kirchick. I've long wondered what, exactly, this self-described " libertarian " is doing writing for The New Republic ? Are there many other TNR writers who also have gigs writing for...


THE TWILIGHT REALM OF HIS OWN SECRET THOUGHTS. Given the inexplicable high regard in which he's held by the conservative foreign policy elite, Charles Krauthammer is always a pretty good indicator of what new, delusional strategy they're banking on this week. Today he suggests that now, rather than creating secure space for political reconciliation, the point of the surge is to buy time for Nuri al-Maliki's government to be replaced: "We should have given up on Maliki long ago and begun to work with other parties in the Iraqi Parliament to bring down the government, yielding either a new coalition of less sectarian parties... The choice is difficult because replacing the Maliki government will take time and because there is no guarantee of ultimate political success. Nonetheless, continuing the surge while finally trying to change the central government is the most rational choice because the only available alternative is defeat — a defeat that is not at all inevitable and would be...