180 Robert S. Greenberger and Karby Leggett, "President’s
Dream: Changing Not Just Regime but a Region: A Pro-U.S., Democratic Area is
a Goal that Has Israeli and Neo Conservative Roots," Wall Street Journal,
March 21, 2003. Also see George Packer, "Dreaming of Democracy," New
York Times Magazine, March 2, 2003. Although not all neoconservatives are
Jewish, most of the founders were and virtually all were strong supporters of
Israel. According to Gal Beckerman in the Forward, "If there is an intellectual
movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism
is it." See "The Neoconservative Persuasion," Forward,
January 6, 2006.
181 See, for example, Rebuilding America’s Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, A Report for the New American
Century, September 2000, p. 14.
182 Martin Indyk, "The Clinton Administration’s
Approach to the Middle East," Speech to Soref Symposium, Washington Institute
for Near East Policy, May 18, 1993. Also see Anthony Lake, "Confronting
Backlash States," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 73. No. 2 (March/April 1994),
183 Barbara Conry, "America’s Misguided Policy
of Dual Containment in the Persian Gulf," Foreign Policy Briefing No. 33,
CATO Institute, November 10, 1994; Gregory F. Gause III, "The Illogic of
Dual Containment," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 73. No. 2 (March/April
1994), pp. 56-66; Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, Differentiated
Containment: U.S. Policy Toward Iran and Iraq, Report of an Independent Study
Group on Gulf Stability and Security, Council on Foreign Relations, New
184 Brzezinski and Scowcroft, Differentiated Containment,
185 Brzezinski and Scowcroft, Differentiated Containment,
186 For example, the Jerusalem Post noted in
an editorial (September 9, 2002) that "according to Middle East expert
Bernard Lewis, a post-Saddam Iraq is one that would be more likely to make peace
with Israel, defang Arab radicalism, and perhaps even catalyze revolutionary
forces in present-day Iran." Similarly, Michael Ledeen wrote on August
6, 2002 in the National Review Online ("Scowcroft Strikes Out")
that, "If ever there was a region that richly deserved being cauldronized,
it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down
the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi
monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young
terrorists." On August 19, Joshua Muravchik argued in the New York Times
("Democracy’s Quiet Victory") that, "Change toward democratic
regimes in Tehran and Baghdad would unleash a tsunami across the Islamic world."
Also see Marina Ottaway et al., "Democratic Mirage in the Middle
East," Policy Brief #20 (Washington, D.C: Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, October 2002).
187 Charles Krauthammer, "Peace through Democracy,"
Washington Post, June 28, 2002.
188 Benn, "Background." Also, the New
York Times reported that Halevy gave a speech in Munich in February 2003
in which he said, "The shock waves emerging from post-Saddam Baghdad could
have wide-ranging effects in Tehran, Damascus, and in Ramallah." The Times
article went on to say that Israel "is hoping that once Saddam Hussein
is dispensed with, the dominoes will start to tumble. According to this hope
… moderates and reformers throughout the region would be encouraged to put new
pressure on their own governments, not excepting the Palestinian Authority of
Yasir Arafat." Bennet, "Israel Says War on Iraq Would Benefit the
Region." This same theme is reflected in a Forward article from
early March 2003, which said that "Israel’s top political, military and
economic echelons have come to regard the looming war as a virtual deus ex
machina that will turn the political and economic tables and extricate Israel
from its current morass." Shalev, "Jerusalem Frets." Finally,
this line of thinking was apparent in former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s previously-discussed
September 4, 2002, op-ed in the New York Times. Barak maintained that
"putting an end to Saddam Hussein’s regime will change the geopolitical
landscape of the Arab world." He claimed that "An Arab world without
Saddam Hussein would enable many from this generation [leaders about to come
into power] to embrace the gradual democratic opening that some of the Persian
Gulf states and Jordan have begun to enjoy." Barak also maintained that
toppling Saddam would "create an opening for forward movement on the Israeli-Palestinian
189 See Seymour M. Hersh, "The Syrian Bet,"
New Yorker, Vol. 79, issue 20 (July 28, 2003), pp. 32-36; Molly Moore,
"Sharon Asks U.S. to Pressure Syria on Militants," Washington Post,
April 17, 2003; Ori Nir, "Jerusalem Urges Bush: Next Target Hezbollah,"
Forward, April 11, 2003; Idem, "Sharon Aide Makes the Case for U.S.
Action against Syria, Forward, April 18, 2003; Marc Perelman, "Behind
Warnings to Damascus: Reassessment of Younger Assad," Forward, April
18, 2004; Daniel Sobelman and Nathan Guttman, "PM Urges U.S. to Keep Heat
on Syria, Calls Assad ‘Dangerous’," Ha’aretz, April 15, 2003.
190 Moore, "Sharon Asks U.S."
191 Nir, "Sharon Aide." Also see Karen DeYoung,
"U.S. Toughens Warnings to Syria on Iraq, Other Issues," Washington
Post, April 15, 2003.
192 Nir, "Sharon Aide." Also see Perelman,
"Behind Warnings." In their efforts to demonize Syria and bait the
United States into attacking it, Israelis have said that Damascus was harboring
high-level Iraqis from Saddam’s regime, and even worse, hiding Iraq’s WMD. Perelman,
"Behind Warnings"; Laurie Copans, "Israeli Military Boss Claims
Iraq Had Chemical Weapons," Associated Press news release, April
26, 2004; Ira Stoll, "Saddam’s WMD Moved to Syria, An Israeli Says,"
New York Sun, December 15, 2005; Idem, "Iraq’s WMD Secreted in Syria,
Sada Says," New York Sun, January 26, 2006. In August 2003, when
a suicide truck bomber blew up UN headquarters in Baghdad, Israel’s ambassador
to the UN caused a diplomatic spat by suggesting that Syria had provided the
truck, thereby implying that Syria was partly responsible. Michael Casey, "Israeli
Ambassador Believes Truck Used in U.N. Bombing Came from Syria," Associated
Press news release, August 21, 2003; "Israeli Envoy Links Syria to
UN Blast, Stirs Flap," Reuters news release, August 21, 2003. Itmar
Rabinowich, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, told Seymour
Hersh that he "wondered … whether, given the quality of their sources,
the Syrians had had advance information about the September 11th plot – and
failed to warn the United States." Hersh, "The Syrian Bet." There
was little evidence to support these charges, but Israel’s willingness to make
them shows how eager they were to get the United States embroiled with yet another
193 Syria had been in the Lobby’s gunsights well before
9/11. In fact, Syria, not Iraq, was the main target in the "Clean Break"
study that Feith, Perle, and Wurmser wrote for Netanyahu in 1996. And Daniel
Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour, the head of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon
(USCFL), had co-authored a 2000 report calling for the United States to use
military threats to force Syria to remove its troops from Lebanon, get rid of
any WMD it might have, and stop supporting terrorism. ("Ending Syria’s
Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role," Report of the Middle East Study
Group, Middle East Forum, May 2000.) The UCSFL is a close cousin of the Lobby,
and it includes numerous neoconservatives (Abrams, Feith, Ledeen, Perle, and
Wurmser) among its "official core supporters." Jordan Green, "Neocons
Dream of Lebanon," ZNet, July 23, 2003; David R. Sands, "Hawks
Recycle Arguments for Iraq War against Syria," Washington Times,
April 16, 2003. Except for Ledeen, they all signed the 2000 report, as did pro-Israel
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), another core supporter of UCSFL.
194 Nathan Guttman, "Some Senior U.S. Figures
Say Syria Has Crossed the Red Line," Ha’aretz, Aril 14, 2004; Michael
Flynn, "The War Hawks: The Right Flexes Muscle with New U.S. Agenda,"
Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2003. In addition to Perle and Wolfowitz,
John Bolton pushed hard from inside the Administration for regime change in
Syria. He had told Israeli leaders a month before the Iraq war that the Bush
Administration would deal with Syria, as well as Iran and North Korea, right
after Saddam fell from power. Flynn, "The Right Flexes Muscle." In
pursuit of that goal, Bolton reportedly prepared to tell Congress in mid-July
that Syria’s WMD programs had reached the point where they were a serious threat
to stability in the Middle East and had to be dealt with sooner rather than
later. However, the CIA and other government agencies objected, claiming that
Bolton’s analysis greatly inflated the Syrian threat. Consequently, the Administration
did not allow Bolton to give his testimony on Syria at that time. Douglas Jehl,
"New Warning Was Put Off on Weapons Syria Plans," New York Times,
July 18, 2003; Marc Perelman, "State Department Hawk under Fire in Intelligence
Flap over Syria," Forward, July 25, 2003; Warren P. Strobel and
Jonathan S. Landay, "Intelligence Data on Syria Now Disputed," Philadelphia
Inquirer, July 17, 2003. Yet Bolton was not put off for long. He appeared
before Congress in September 2003 and described Syria as a growing threat to
U.S. interests in the Middle East. Nathan Guttman, "US: Syria Supporting
Terror, Developing Weapons of Mass Destruction," Ha’aretz, September
195 Quoted in Robin Wright, "U.S. Insists Syria
Alter Its Course," Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2003. Also see Martin
Indyk’s and Dennis Ross’s tough-minded rhetoric about Syria in Hersh, "The
196 Lawrence F. Kaplan, "White Lie," New
Republic, April 21& 28, 2003. Also see William Kristol and Lawrence
F. Kaplan, The War over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny ad America’s Mission (New
York: Encounter Books, 2003).
197 DeYoung, "U.S. Toughens Stance." There
was a story in Ha’aretz ("NY Congressman Says Will Push Bill to
Pressure Syria") on August 19, 2003, which reported that Engel had just
met with Sharon in his Jerusalem Office for 90 minutes and the Israeli leader
had endorsed Engel’s efforts to push the Syria Accountability Act. Regarding
the specifics of that legislation, see Zvi Bar’el, "Deciphering the Syrians,
Ha’aretz, July 9, 2003; "The Return of the Syria Accountability
Act," NewsMax.com, April 19, 2003; Claude Salhani, "The Syria
Accountability Act: Taking the Wrong Road to Damascus," Policy Analysis,
No. 512, CATO Institute, March 18, 2004. Not surprisingly, Richard Perle called
on Congress to pass the Syria Accountability Act shortly after Engel re-introduced
the legislation. Sands, "Hawks Recycle Arguments."
198 Ron Kampeas, "Bush, Once Reluctant on Sanctions,
Prepares to Take a Tough Line with Syria," JTA, March 16, 2004.
199 Salhani, "The Syria Accountability Act,"
200 Julian Borger, "Bush Vetoes Syria War Plan,"
Guardian, April 15, 2003; Kampeas, "Bush, Once Reluctant."
201 See Hersh, "The Syrian Bet." Other pieces
discussing the advantages for the United states of cooperating with Syria include
Spencer Ackerman, "Rough Trade," New Repulic, January 13, 2003;
Susan Taylor Martin, "Experts Disagree on Dangers of Syria," St.
Petersburg Times, November 3, 2002; Salhani, "The Syria Accountability
Act"; Stephen Zunes, "Bush Has Clear Run at Syria," Asia Times
Online, March 2, 2005.
202 Two articles that appeared in the Forward
after Baghdad fell describe the driving forces behind the new U.S. policy toward
Syria. In a piece in mid-April, the author noted: "A sudden flurry of U.S.
warnings to Syria in recent days indicates that Washington has undertaken what
Israel and its supporters here have been urging for months: a comprehensive
reassessment of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad." Perelman, "Behind Warnings."
A few months later in mid-July, another author noted: "During the past
several months, top Israeli officials have warned their American counterparts
and audiences about Assad’s unreliability. American officials have echoed the
stance and press reports have speculated about possible American military intervention
in Syria." Marc Perelman, "Syria Makes Overture over Negotiations,"
Forward, July 11, 2003.
203 Quoted in Alan Sipress, "Israel Emphasizes
Iranian Threat," Washington Post, February 7, 2002. This article,
which was written as Sharon was arriving in Washington, makes clear that Tel
Aviv was "redoubling its efforts to warn the Bush administration that Iran
poses a greater threat than the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein." Also see
Seymour Hersh, "The Iran Game," New Yorker, Vol. 77, issue
38 (December 3, 2001), pp. 42-49; Peter Hirschberg, "Background/Peres Raises
Iranian Threat," Ha’aretz, February 5, 2002; David Hirst, "Israel
Thrusts Iran in Line of US Fire," Guardian, February 2, 2002; "Israel
Once Again Sees Iran as A Cause for Concern," Ha’aretz, May 7, 2001.
204 Stephen Farrell, Robert Thomson, and Danielle
Haas, "Attack Iran the Day Iraq War Ends, Demands Israel," The
Times (London), September 5, 2002; Stephen Farrell and Robert Thomson, "The
Times Interview with Ariel Sharon," in ibid.
205 "Ambassador to U.S. Calls for ‘Regime Change’
in Iran, Syria," Ha’aretz, April 28, 2003. Ten days later the
New York Times reported that the Washington was growing increasingly concerned
about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and that there is "a lot of hammering from
the Israelis for us to take this position seriously." Steven R. Weisman,
"New U.S. Concerns on Iran’s Pursuit of Nuclear Arms," New York
Times, May 8, 2003. Shimon Peres then published an op-ed in the Wall
Street Journal on June 25 entitled, "We Must Unite to Prevent an Ayatollah
Nuke." His description of the Iranian threat sounded just like his earlier
description of the threat from Saddam, even including a ritual reference to
the lessons of appeasement in the 1930s. Iran, he emphasized, must be told in
no uncertain terms that the United States and Israel will not tolerate it going
206 In late May 2003, Inter Press Service reported
that, "The neo-cons’ efforts to now focus US attention on ‘regime change’
in Iran has become much more intense since early May and already has borne substantial
fruit." Jim Lobe, "U.S. Neo-Cons Move Quickly on Iran," Inter
Press Service, May 28, 2003. In early June, the Forward reported that, "Neoconservatives
inside and outside the administration have been urging an active effort to promote
regime change in Tehran. Reports of possible covert actions have surfaced in
recent weeks." Marc Perelman, "Pentagon Team on Iran Comes under Fire,"
Forward, June 6, 2003. Also see idem, "White House Is Aiming to
Raise Iranian Nukes at U.N. Security Council," Forward, May 9, 2003;
Idem, "New Front Sets Sights on Toppling Iran Regime," Forward,
May 16, 2003. Finally, the Lobby has established close relations with Reza Pahlavi,
the son of the late Shah of Iran. He is even reported to have had meetings with
Netanyahu and Sharon. This relationship is similar to the Lobby’s relationship
with Ahmed Chalabi. Specifically, pro-Israel forces promote Pahlavi, and in
return, he makes clear that if he comes to power in Iran, it will have good
relations with Israel. Connie Bruck, "Exiles: How Iran’s Expatriates Are
Gaming the Nuclear Threat," New Yorker, Vol. 82, issue 2 (March
6, 2006), pp. 48- 63; Perelman, "New Front."
207 The flyer advertising the conference, which was
entitled "The Future of Iran: Mullahcracy, Democracy and the War on Terror,"
can be found at a number of sites on the web. Also see Green, "Neocons
Dream of Lebanon"; Lobe, "U.S. Neo-Cons Move Quickly."
208 William Kristol, "The End of the Beginning,"
Weekly Standard, February 12, 2003. Others writing articles at the time
include Daniel Pipes and Patrick Clawson, who wrote a piece on May 20 for the
Jerusalem Post entitled "Turn up the Pressure on Iran." They
called for the Bush Administration to support the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a terrorist
organization based in Iraq that was bent on overthrowing the ayatollahs running
Iran. Lawrence Kaplan argued in the New Republic ("Iranamok")
on June 9 that the US needed to get tougher with Iran over its nuclear programs,
which he feared were further along than most American policymakers recognized.
Michael Ledeen, one of the leading hawks on Iran, wrote in the National Review
Online ("The Others") on April 4: "There is no more time
for diplomatic ‘solutions.’ We will have to deal with the terror masters, here
and now. Iran, at least, offers us the possibility of a memorable victory, because
the Iranian people openly loath the regime, and will enthusiastically combat
it, if only the United States supports them in their just struggle."
209 For evidence of the Lobby’s intensified efforts
to get the Bush Administration to deal with the Iranian nuclear problem, see
Stewart Ain, "Israel Urging U.S. to Stop Iran Nukes," Jewish Week,
October 7, 2005; Efraim Inbar, "The Imperatives to Use Force against Iranian
Nuclearization," BESA Center [Bar-Ilan University, Israel] Perspectives,
Number 12, December 1, 2005; Martin S. Indyk, "Iran’s Bluster Isn’t A Bluff,"
Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2005; Ron Kampeas, "With Time Short
on Iran Nukes, AIPAC Criticizes Bush Approach," JTA, December 2,
2005; Charles Krauthammer, "In Iran, Arming for Armageddon," Washington
Post, December 16, 2005; Dafna Linzer, "Pro- Israel Group Criticizes
White House Policy on Iran," Washington Post, December 25, 2005;
Ori Nir, "New Sanction Bill Loses Momentum as Administration Presses Diplomacy,"
Forward, June 10, 2005; Idem, "Jewish Groups Push for Iran Sanctions,"
Forward, September 23, 2005; Idem, "Israeli Aides Warn U.S. Not
to Drop Ball on Iran," Forward, December 9, 2005; Michael Rubin
et al., "War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War
for the Free World," American Enterprise Institute, November 30, 2005;
Rowan Scarborough, "Israel Pushes U.S. on Iran Nuke Solution," Washington
Times, February 21, 2005.
210 Some neoconservatives even welcome this outcome.
For example, Robert Kagan and William Kristol wrote in the aftermath of 9/11
that, "Afghanistan will prove but an opening battle …. this war will not
end in Afghanistan. It is going to spread and engulf a number of countries in
conflicts of varying intensity. It could well require the use of American military
power in multiple places simultaneously. It is going to resemble the clash of
civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid." "The Gathering Storm,"
Weekly Standard, October 29, 2002. Also see Eliot A. Cohen, "World
War IV," Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2001; Phil McCombs, "The
Fire This Time," Washington Post, April 13, 2003; Norman Podhoretz,
"How to Win World War IV," Commentary, February 2002; Idem,
"World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win,"
Commentary, September 2004; Brian Whitaker, "Playing Skittles with
Saddam," Guardian, September 3, 2002.
211 Ron Kampeas, "After Restructuring, AIPAC
Plans to Focus on Wider Range of Issues," JTA, September 26, 2005.
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