The two top producers of pistachios are the United States and Iran, which have squared off over grievances for more than three decades. Now, there’s news that Israel has a preference for the Iranian variety and Prime Minister Netanyahu has a special budget item for pistachio ice cream, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Special Report: To understand why U.S. foreign policy is floundering in the Middle East, one must go back to the pivotal 1980 election when President Carter’s hopes for a second term hinged on getting Iran to release 52 U.S. hostages and Republicans went behind his back, writes Robert Parry.
Special Report: Newly available documents reveal how Ronald Reagan’s neocon aides cleared the way for Israeli arms sales to Iran in 1981, shortly after Iran freed 52 U.S. hostages whose captivity doomed Jimmy Carter’s reelection. The move also planted the seeds of the Iran-Contra scandal, reports Robert Parry.
As neocons mount a last-ditch offensive to stop Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary – partly because he isn’t hawkish enough on Iran – the war drums are beating again across Official Washington, drowning out any thoughtful cost-benefit analysis, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Exclusive: Despite signs that Iran is ready to accept new limits on its nuclear program, the neocon lobby in Washington is still trying to gin up support for a U.S.-Israeli military strike that could plunge the world into another crisis, with some of the usual suspects back at work, Robert Parry reports.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite who will give one of two Republican responses to President Obama’s State of the Union, is deviating slightly from the GOP’s neocon orthodoxy and drawing criticism from the likes of neocon Robert Kagan. But any rethinking of tough-guy-ism is welcome, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: The State of the Union offers President Obama a high-profile opportunity to finally close the deal with Iran over its nuclear program by accepting the need for U.S. concessions on sanctions, but there are doubts he will seize this Nixon-to-China moment, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes in this appeal.
President Obama has indicated that he wants a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, especially limiting its nuclear program, but he has hesitated taking the kind of positive steps that President Nixon did in his opening to China more than four decades ago, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett observe.
A key residual power of Washington’s neocons is their access to think-tank journals and influential op-ed pages to “controversialize” American analysts and writers who deviate from foreign policy orthodoxy. At such moments, history and honesty are cast aside for ideology and expediency, Nima Shirazi notes.
Exclusive: Though false intelligence was at the center of the disastrous Iraq War, CIA Director-to-be John Brennan played fast and loose on Iran’s nuclear program in his Senate testimony, a troubling sign he might undermine the principle of honest analysis just like his mentor, George Tenet, warns ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.