About

Launched by Inter Press Service (IPS) in 2007, LobeLog was headed by Jim Lobe, the IPS Washington DC bureau chief from 1980 to 1984 and from 1989 to 2015. Lobelog is the only weblog to have received the prestigious Arthur Ross Media Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs (2015) from the American Academy of Diplomacy. Initially focused on neoconservatives and their influence on US foreign policy, it gradually broadened its scope to feature analyses of U.S. policy toward the Greater Middle East with an emphasis on Iran, Israel-Palestine, and the Persian Gulf states more generally.

The blog, which the Foreign Service Journal also named the “Site of the Month” in June 2017, has also regularly published posts by expert contributors on various global and regional issues, including the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, threats to international institutions and cooperation, mainstream media coverage of foreign policy and events overseas, tensions in Northeast Asia, and the rise of far-right movements in Europe and elsewhere.

LobeLog’s investigative and analytical work has been cited or linked to by major publications, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, Buzzfeed, and The Intercept, particularly in regard to the interrelationships among right-wing donors, foreign governments, and think tanks. Among other scoops, LobeLog broke the story of former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump Sebastian Gorka’s association with Vitezi Rend, an anti-Semitic Hungarian knighthood that cooperated with the Nazi occupation during World War II.

Regular contributors to the blog include internationally recognized experts on both U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East, in particular, including former senior U.S. and foreign diplomatic and intelligence officials, distinguished scholars from think tanks and academia, other area specialists, journalists, and NGO leaders active on these issues. LobeLog also frequently cross-posts relevant and compelling material from other websites and publications, including the progressive Israeli-Palestinian blog +972mag.com, eurasianet.org, the International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, and the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Since 2015, LobeLog has been based at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. Its work has been supported by several foundations, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Ploughshares Fund, and the Arca Foundation.

3 Comments

  1. Hello Jim,
    Just interested to see what you’re doing. I plan to be in DC later in the year assuming that you’re somewhere in the vicinity.

  2. Sujet: Re: Don’t Rule Out the Possibility of War with Iran – LobeLog

    I read Shireen Hunter’s comments entitled “Don’t rule out the possibility of war with Iran” with keen interest. I would like to preface my observations by saying that I believe Mrs. Hunter is an an astute diplomat, journalist and academician. However, her analysis is flawed and suffers from serious errors of judgment.

    Initially, I would like to agree with her thesis that in life or political decision making nothing can be ruled out from the realm of possibility. In particular, when it comes to thwarting the ambitions and existential threats of a populist, despotic theocracy with a revolutionary philosophy.

    Let us now address the substance of her commentary.

    1. She claims that as a result of the US decision to withdraw from JCPOA ( Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the hardliners in Iran are gaining support and popularity. First, there are no reliable indices to substantiate this claim. Moreover, the consensus of opinion is that the majority of the people which are comprised of the youth of Iran, blames the regime and not the US goverrnment for their plight and suffering.

    2. She claims that the US pulled out the JCPOA agreement because of lack of faith in the Iranian regime. The operating word is TRUST. The regime has over decades concealed its hostile intentions and ulterior motives in dealing with its neighbors and the international community. The US or for that matter any country, has therefore, good reason to doubt the willingness of the Iranian regime to honor its word.

    3. It is suggested that the Hawks in the US administration are keen on launching a military attack against Iran to teach the regime a lesson and to neutralize its hegemonic military ambitions. The reality is that so long as the autocratic theocracy in Iran lacks nuclear arms and does not directly threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia or the States of the Persian Gulf, the US or any other country has no politically palatable, legal or moral reason to attack Iran. The US is highly likely to achieve its objective of cowing or changing the Iranian regime through pacific means by exerting relentless and incremental multilateral economic, military and diplomatic pressure.

    4. Concomittantly the analysis purports that the US is responsible for regime changes in Iraq, Syria, Libya and others. With the exception of Iraq, whose people were living under a brutal, murderous dictator, all other countries have undergone social upheavals or political transformations, primarily because of spontaneous, domestic uprisings better known as the Arab Spring. US involvement was a byproduct and an ensuing factor. It was under no circumstance the catalyst for change. If Lybia and Syria are failed States, it is because of their corrupt, inept and irresponsible leadership.

    5. The commentary refers to the US Defense Planning Guide which precludes the US from accepting the existence of a hostile regional power as a menace to US national interests as further pretext for attacking the Iranian regime. The author needs to be reminded that the revolutionary, despotic theocratic regime of Iran has been the epicenter and dominant political and military power of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East for over two decades. ( Israel is inextricably linked to the US and therefore is outside of this equation). In spite of Iran’s overwhelming power status, the US has refrained from a military response and has resorted to other means than military force to curb Iran’s ambitions rather than to deal with the threat of a hostile regime according to the requisites of the US Defense Planning Guide. It is moreover, highly doubtful with an administration that is bent on retrenchment for it to undertake another costly, protracted and unpredictable military challenge against Iran.

    6. Mrs. Hunter’s claims that America had a change of heart in supporting the Shah because of Iran’s ambitions in the Persian Gulf region. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, during the Nixon era, the US and the British, who in particular, was no longer in a financial position to maintain its presence in the area, urged the Shah to shoulder the mantle of responsibility for safeguarding the stability and security of the Persian Gulf region. The Iranian revolution occured not because of US instigation or subterfuge. It came about overwhelmingly because of a weak, indecisive leadership underscored by the Shah’s paralyis stemming from his disbelief in the ingratitude of his people and his innate habit of withdrawal in the face of illusionary external threats, that paved the way for the current islamic regime to take power. It is time to permanently bury the myth, disawoved and disproven by the disclosures of the Freedom of Information Act, documents, testimonies, responsible eye witness accounts that the US and its allies were responsible for the creation of the Mullahs. Although it is true that based on historical evidence, they could and should have done more by clear cut guidance and road maps in persuading the Shah to stand his ground and not abandon his country.

    7. The commentary alludes to the MEK (Mujaheddin Khalg and beside the clergy and its Palestinian allies, the chief religious Marxist group opposed to the Shah) as an alternative supported by the US in confronting the IR. That is not the case nor is it realistic. The US government recognizes that the MEK has a long track record of terrorism and has no credibility inside Iran, If some senior members associated with the administration have demonstrated their support for the MEK, their primary intent has been to use them as a pawn, proxy or leverage against the regime in an attempt to develop a viable, united alternative.

    8. Mrs. Hunter suggests that the US government is interested in bringing about a truncated Iran with a weak central government. US policy in the region shows that the US does not favor degraded central governments ruling developing societies in the ME. In fact, It is my contention that a divided, centrifugal government is antithetical to US objectives. In Iran specifically, advocating separatism or irredentism and diffusion of power can only lead to the dispersion of nuclear and military technology and resources and effectively create a greater menace to the region and the global community.

    9. Finally, the impression given that there are those in the US administration that view” Iran as a rebellious Satrapy that must be subdued” is highly offensive and ludicrous. First, the only time the concept of Satrap applies to Iran is when during the reign of Cyrus the Great, the father of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, Iran conquered most of the discovered world of the period and its possessions which were called Satraps were dealt with with equanimity and civility. But in retrospect, revolutions have occurred throughout history from which monstrous regimes were born. Such regimes wreaked havoc and were grudgingly viewed as ominous that needed to be vanquished but they were never seen as Satraps.

    10. Yes, military confrontation should be avoided. However, the international community should not speak from the vantage point of weakness. It cannot afford to unilaterally suspend sanctions and offer concessions without tangible actions on the part of the IR to respect the rights of its people and its neighbors. History has shown that weakness breeds contempt and appeasement an inducement for exploitation. I believe a carrot and stick approach is a solution worth seeking. The carrot can include piecemeal offers to help rebuild Iran, save it from the scourge of dessication, and facilitate its reengagement with the world community in return for the step by step dismantling of its terroristic approach at home and abroad. If the IR does not accept such mutual conditions for a modus vivendi then the Iranian people and the international community will have to expedite its disintegration….

    regards,
    Manoutchehr Ardalan
    Former Diplomat and Corporate Executive

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