Hawks on Iran

Lobe Log publishes Hawks on Iran every Friday. Our posts highlight militaristic commentary and confrontational policy recommendations about Iran from a variety of sources including news articles, think tanks and pundits.

Emergency Committee for Israel: A news advertisement unleashed this week by the ultra-hawkish letterhead group the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI)–headed by Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol–speaks for itself. “Time to Act” seems like a parody from the Daily Show but the ECI actually wants Americans to see the world through the ultra-paranoid, fact-devoid lens that they’re manufacturing. Eli Clifton provides a backgrounder on what the ECI is really about:

ECI’s reflexive hawkishness stems from its hard-right neoconservative disposition. The organization was even born in the same Washington office as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), a short-lived right-wing pressure group that pushed for an Iraq invasion. A major player in the Iraq war push, Kristol, for his part, already called for a war with Iran last October.

Robert Wright discusses ECI’s Iran policy recommendations in the Atlantic.

Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: Surprise, surprise. The ECI ad gets a plug from the militantly pro-Israel Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin who regularly agitates for a U.S. war on Iran. Congressional hawks pushing measures that will make those “meaningless talks” between the Iranians and Western countries even less likely to result in a negotiated settlement are also praised by Rubin:

Sitting mutely by on the sidelines while the centrifuges keep spinning in Iran is a dereliction of duty by Congress. Unlike President Obama, however, I think there are lawmakers willing to step up to the plate. History will judge them well.

For more on “Congressional obstructionism” on Iran see Trita Parsi’s recent Op-Ed in the New York Times.

Daniel Pipes, National Review Online: Arch hardliner Daniel Pipes–whose writings were cited 18 times in the “Manifesto” penned by Oslo killer Anders Brevik–criticizes Nicholas Kristof’s observations from his recent trip to Iran. Why? Because Kristof suggests that Iranians are unlikely to welcome a war with open arms:

After providing this information – which tallies with what other travelers to Iran have recounted – Kristof reaches an inexplicable and illogical conclusion: “My guess is that the demise of the system is a matter of time — unless there’s a war between Iran and the West, perhaps ignited by Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear sites. That, I sense, would provoke a nationalist backlash and rescue the ayatollahs.”

Comment: Whence this “sense”? If the Iranian population blames the mullahs for its economic woes today, why not assume it will also blame war on them too?

Emanuele Ottolenghi, FDD/Commentary: According to former Dick Cheney national security adviser John Hannah, the ultra-hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies and particularly Hannah’s “colleague” and FDD executive director Mark Dubowitz was pivotal in framing the U.S.’s decision to sanction Iran’s central bank. Now that sounds all fine and dandy except for one contradiction that all this exposes. If the FDD’s goal with Iran is regime change as stated here by Dubowitz and Reuel Marc Gerecht and this week by FDD staffer Emanuele Ottolenghi, and the FDD really has been as influential in framing the U.S.’s Iran sanctions policy as suggested by Hannah and others, then why does the U.S. insist that sanctions are integral to reaching a nuclear deal with Iran? If the sanctions are designed by an organization that is striving for regime change then what hope can there be in any success through diplomacy? Here’s Ottolenghi:

Trouble is brewing then, and offering a facile compromise on nuclear matters to this regime at this juncture would be a terrible mistake. Sanctions are slowly working – but we should keep using them less to extract an impossible deal and more to undermine the regime in Tehran.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.



  1. If the FDD’s goal with Iran is regime change…, then why does the U.S. insist that sanctions are integral to reaching a nuclear deal with Iran?

    ANswer: because that’s baloney. The US has consistently and repeatedly dismissed or even actively undermined opportunities to reach a nuclear deal with Iran that would have addressed any REAL weapons proliferation concerns, instead pushing Iran to simply abandon its rights under the NPT. WHy? Because the last thing the US wants is to resolve this standoff with Iran peacefully whilst leaving the regime in power. This dispute never had anything to do with any genuine concerns about weapons proliferation — that was always just a pretext, just as “WMDs in Iraq” was merely a pretext.

  2. Speaking of unintended consequences, the sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil is the height of folly. It’s as honorable and workable as a war on drugs. Oil will sell. Just as drugs will sell. If you deny them access to SWIFT banking, they will find other ways.

    What’s most concerning is that Russia and China, along with India and Brazil are known to be seeking to trade in something other than dollars…

    Well, our sanctions are so well supported that we’ve given S. Korea, Japan, and India a pass on them having to comply. Russia and China won’t support it either…

    I think we’re driving our allies to do business behind our backs. We’re becoming isolated, and relying on the kindness of strangers. We’re powerful, so everyone kisses our ass, but then goes and does what they want behind our backs. Then again, our own gov’t has thrown due process and habeas corpus aside as well.

Comments are closed.