Robert Dreyfuss

Robert Dreyfuss is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect. He is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. He can be reached through his website.

Recent Articles

Know When to Quit

Even the last congressional holdouts are ready to leave Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama speaks to troops as Vice President Joe Biden, left, listens at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
President Barack Obama's Democratic base and a majority of Democrats in Congress are poised to revolt if the White House fails to order a sharp drawdown in the number of troops in Afghanistan this month. That message was clear in the House of Representatives last week, where Democrats and Republicans teamed up to demand an endgame for the war in Afghanistan in a pair of amendments to the 2012 defense authorization bill. The resulting vote, in which dozens of Republicans -- and nearly the entire Democratic caucus -- voted in favor of drawing down U.S. forces, shows just how widespread opposition to the war has become. As President Obama's self-imposed July deadline approaches, and with Osama bin Laden now out of the picture, pressure on the White House for an accelerated pullout is mounting. In a speech at West Point 18 months ago, Obama dismayed the liberal wing of his party by acceding to military demands for an additional, 30,000-troop "surge" for the war in Afghanistan; he sought...

Is There a Nationalist Solution In Iraq?

The sectarian conflict rages. But under the radar, a coalition of nationalist elements is emerging.

Over dinner in a quiet corner of a restaurant in Washington, D.C., a few months ago, a leading Iraqi activist and politician laid out a hopeful plan that, in his view, is the only viable political solution to Iraq's civil war: a new coalition to replace the failed, sectarian regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with a nationalist, Sunni-Shia alliance. The Iraqi, on a brief Washington visit, is deeply involved in efforts to create a broad-based alliance within Iraqi politics that could oust Maliki. "We have a detailed plan," he said. Many Iraqis, representing a wide range of Iraqi parties -- moderate and secular Sunni and Shia, Sunni religious parties, supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the dissident Shia Fadhila party, the Sunni resistance-linked Association of Muslim Scholars, much of Iraq's armed, Sunni-led resistance, and various independents -- are working toward this goal, he said. In fits and starts, and under the worst possible conditions -- literally under fire --...

The Shia Fellas

How the Bush Administration and the Neocons got into bed with Iran's agents in Iraq.

Back in 2004, President Bush went on NBC's Meet the Press to assure Americans that Iraq was not going to turn into an Islamist theocracy under the emerging Shia leadership. "They're not going to develop that," said Bush, noting that he'd just met Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). "I remember speaking to Mr. al-Hakim. I said, 'You know, I'm a Methodist. What are my chances of success in your country and your vision?' And he said, 'It's going to be a free society where you can worship freely.'" Added the president: "This is a Shia fellow." No matter that the president actually said "fella," inadvertently pronouncing the Arab word for "peasant." Even by then it was clear, and by now it is blindingly obvious, that not only is there no room for Methodists in Hakim's Iraq; there isn't much room for Sunni Arabs, either. Indeed, the central irony of the war in Iraq is that a military operation ostensibly designed to install a...

The Fixer Meets His Match

James A. Baker III, the Bush family's favorite fixer, held forth at a Washington, D.C., news conference on Tuesday, ostensibly to present a mid-course report on the work of his little-known Iraq Study Group. In fact, he did no such thing, keeping his cards close to his chest and saying next to nothing about the work of the task force thus far. Still, if anyone can get close enough to President Bush to explain the importance of changing course in Iraq -- that is, if anyone can get past Dick Cheney, the administration's Cerberus, with that message -- it would be Jim Baker. Whether Baker will come to the conclusion that it's time to leave Iraq is anybody's guess. So far, Baker isn't saying. And he's told all of his fellow commissioners, as well as the several dozen Iraq and Middle East experts on the Iraq Study Group's working groups, not to breathe a word about what they're thinking. But according to sources on the ISG, who spoke only on deep background, the ISG is, in fact, inching...

The Commissar's in Town

At the very heart of U.S. Middle East policy, from the war in Iraq to pressure for regime change in Iran and Syria to the spread of free-market democracy in the region, sits the 39-year-old daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney. Elizabeth “Liz” Cheney, appointed to her post in February 2005, has a tongue-twisting title: principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs and coordinator for broader Middle East and North Africa initiatives. By all accounts, it is an enormously powerful post, and one for which she is uniquely unqualified. During the past 15 months, Elizabeth Cheney has met with and bolstered a gaggle of Syrian exiles, often in tandem with John Hannah and David Wurmser, top officials in the Office of the Vice President (OVP); has pressed hard for money to accelerate the administration's ever more overt campaign for forced regime change in both Damascus and Teheran; and has overseen an increasingly discredited push for American-inspired...