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Gareth Porter (born 18 June 1942, Independence, Kansas) is an American historian, investigative journalist and policy analyst on U.S. foreign and military policy. A strong opponent of U.S. wars in Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, he has also written on the potential for diplomatic compromise to end or avoid wars in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Iraq and Iran. He is the author of a history of the origins of the Vietnam War, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.
Porter has written regular news reports and news analyses on political, diplomatic and military developments in regard to Middle East conflicts for Inter Press Service since 2005. He was the first journalist to provide a detailed account of the alleged secret Iranian diplomatic proposal to the United States in 2003, and has published an in-depth analysis of an exit strategy for Iraq
Tuesday, November 15, 2016(4 comments)
The John Bolton threat to Trump's Middle East policy
Trump's choices of nominations for the top positions on national security will certainly be the crucial factor in determining what policy lines ultimately emerge on those issues -- and why the real possibility of Bolton's nomination as secretary of state now represents the greatest threat to international peace and security.
Saturday, November 5, 2016(1 comments)
US hypocrisy: Bombing of Aleppo is no worse than what happened in Gaza and Iraq
As terrible as the toll of civilian lives is, the United States should drop the stance of moral superiority. When the US military invaded Iraq in 2003, it made no effort to keep track of how many civilians were killed in its bombing and artillery fire, claiming it had no way to tell who was civilian and who was not.
Monday, October 31, 2016 Justifying the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen
Official Washington insists Iran is the main Mideast troublemaker when clearly that isn't true, but the "group think" explains why a few intercepted arms shipments to Somalia where linked to Iran and Yemen, reports Gareth Porter.
Sunday, October 9, 2016(4 comments)
Obama's Syria policy and the illusion of US power in the Middle East
The Obama administration has allowed its policy in Syria to be determined primarily by the ambitions of its Sunni allies to overthrow Assad. The administration has claimed that it never favored the destruction of Syrian institutions, but that claim is contradicted by its acquiescence in the Sunni allies' support of Nusra Front.
Sunday, September 25, 2016(3 comments)
How the Pentagon sank the US-Russia deal in Syria -- and the ceasefire
US and allied planes carried out multiple strikes on a Syrian government base and killed at least 62 Syrian troops and wounded more than 100. The Pentagon acknowledged a mistake in targeting, but the impact on the ceasefire deal was immediate. Syria accused the US of a deliberate attack on its forces, and the Russians similarly expressed doubt about the US explanation.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016(2 comments)
Al Qaeda's Ties to US-Backed Syrian Rebels
The U.S. is demanding the grounding of Syria's air force but is resisting Russian demands that U.S.-armed rebels separate from Al Qaeda, a possible fatal flaw in the new cease-fire, writes Gareth Porter.
Thursday, September 1, 2016(1 comments)
The real US Syria scandal: Supporting sectarian war
Could senior Obama administration officials have been unaware that a war to overthrow Assad would inevitably become an enormous sectarian bloodbath? By August 2012 a US Defense Intelligence Agency report intelligence warned that "events are taking a clear sectarian direction," and that the "the "Salafist[s], Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq]" were "the major forces driving the insurgency."
Sunday, August 14, 2016 Rigging the Coverage of Syria
The major U.S. news media has consistently slanted its coverage of the Syrian conflict to back neocon desires for more U.S. military intervention in support of "regime change," Gareth Porter wrote for FAIR.
Saturday, August 6, 2016(1 comments)
Al Qaeda's Name Game in Syria
Washington's neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment has long seen Al Qaeda's Nusra Front as a strategic ally in Syria -- and now hopes a name change will protect it through President Obama's last months, reports Gareth Porter.
Friday, July 29, 2016(17 comments)
Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks
Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.
Saturday, July 9, 2016(1 comments)
A New Fight Over Syria War Strategy
Obama's willingness to increase cooperation with the Russians is recognition that the continuing collaboration between Nusra and the so-called "moderates" represents an untenable situation if Syrian peace negotiations are to have any meaning. If the "moderates" don't separate from Nusra, they effectively serve as its protective shield.
Thursday, June 30, 2016(1 comments)
The "Dissent" Memo That Isn't
The major U.S. media touts a State Department "dissent cable" urging military strikes on the Syrian military as a brave act by 51 diplomats, but it actually matches the views of Secretary Kerry and other top officials, notes Gareth Porter.
Saturday, May 14, 2016 Political Pressure Stymies US-Iran Ties
With the Iran nuclear agreement, President Obama opened lines of communications to Iran, but political pressures in Washington prevent a more substantive shift in relations, reports Gareth Porter.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016(6 comments)
The classified "28 pages": A diversion from real US-Saudi issues
The controversy surrounding the infamous "28 pages" on the possible Saudi connection with the terrorists that were excised from the joint Congressional report on the 9/11 attacks is at fever pitch. But that controversy is a distraction from the real problems that Saudi Arabia's policies pose to the United States and the entire Middle East region.
Monday, March 28, 2016 How Putin's leverage shaped the Syrian ceasefire
Coming after a demonstration of the effectiveness of Russian airpower in frustrating the 2015 's jihadist-led offensive, Putin's seizing the opportunity to nail down the agreement with Washington and then pulling out most of his airpower conveyed a message to the jihadist's external patrons that it was in their interests not to restart the war.
Thursday, March 24, 2016 US Media Hid Al Qaeda's Syria Role
When Russian airstrikes began in Syria, the U.S. media falsely claimed President Putin had promised to hit only ISIS and instead attacked "moderate" rebels, but the dirty secret was that those rebels were working with Al Qaeda, writes Gareth Porter.
Monday, March 21, 2016(2 comments)
Obama's Break with the Establishment
President Obama, with his characteristic diffidence, has announced his "liberation" from the Washington foreign-policy "playbook," but the national security elite is already striking back, writes Gareth Porter.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016(5 comments)
Kerry Sought Missile Strikes to Force Syria's Assad to Step Down
The real origin of the present Syrian peace negotiations is Kerry's ambition to pursue the illusory aim of winning a diplomatic victory in Syria by much greater pressure on the Assad regime. Ironically, in setting in motion the military build-up of an al-Qaeda-dominated armed opposition, Kerry sowed the seeds of the military reversal that ensured the failure of his endeavor.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 "Plan B" and the bankruptcy of US Syria policy
The "Plan B" episode is another moment in the pattern of failed US policy making on the Syrian crisis. It reveals a pattern of deep division over Syria in which key players seek to advance their own personal interests and the desire to maintain a US leadership role trumps the realities of the situation on the ground in Syria. If the US policy were a company doing business in Syria, it would have been bankrupt years ago.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016(1 comments)
Obama's "Moderate" Syrian Deception
President Obama, who once called the idea of "moderate" Syrian rebels a "fantasy," has maintained the fiction to conceal the fact that many "moderates" are fighting alongside Al Qaeda's jihadists, an inconvenient truth that is complicating an end to Syria's civil war, explains Gareth Porter.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016(5 comments)
US position on Syria tilts in favour of Russian intervention
Given the new military balance, the Obama administration now recognizes that its former strategy is now irrelevant. It has been supplanted with a new strategy that is equally opportunistic. The idea now is to take advantage of shared US-Russian strategic interests regarding ISIS -- and downgrade the objective of forcing a change in the Syrian regime.
Friday, January 29, 2016(1 comments)
Obama's Iranian Missile Sanctions Were Deceptive and Hypocritical
The Obama's official line is a way of justifying the continuation of the U.S. denunciation of the Iranian missile program, which is demanded by domestic politics and U.S. alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia -- even in the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran. It is only realistic to expect, therefore, U.S. policy on that subject to be marked by hypocrisy and duplicity for years to come.
Monday, January 18, 2016 Iran Changes the Regional Dynamic
Israel and -- to a lesser extent -- Saudi Arabia continue to dictate much of U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast, especially animosity toward Iran. But the Iran nuclear deal may change the dynamic toward a more balanced strategy at least in the long term if not the short, as Gareth Porter explains.
Monday, January 4, 2016(6 comments)
US military leadership resisted Obama's bid for regime change in Syria, Libya
the US military has a range of means by which it can oppose administration policies that it regards as unacceptable. But it also shows that the military leadership failed to alter the course of US policy, and raises the question whether it was willing to use all the means available to stop the funnelling of arms to al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups in Syria.
Saturday, December 19, 2015(3 comments)
The Real Obstacle to Syrian Peace
Despite Russia and the U.S. coming together on Friday to back a U.N.-approved peace plan for Syria, major obstacles remain, including the on-the-ground reality that U.S. "allies," such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have armed and financed powerful jihadist forces that won't compromise, as Gareth Porter explains.
Sunday, November 22, 2015 How terror in Paris calls for revising US Syria policy
Unless Obama is prepared to face a rupture in the US alliance with the Sunni Gulf Sheikdoms over the issue, the result will be that the very groups committed to overthrowing the remnants of the old order by force will be invited by the United States and its Gulf allies to take key positions in the post-Assad government.
Saturday, November 7, 2015(1 comments)
The sham Syrian peace conference
It is clear that the international conference on Syria that held its first meeting in Vienna on October 30 is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 The New Yorker Doesn't Fact Check What "Everyone Knows" Is True
This is to direct attention to much more bigger and more complex problem affecting the entire news media structure: a climate of opinion in which certain issues are matters of such solid consensus that normally alert and energetic journalists suspend their skepticism and fact checking, because, after all, "everybody knows" that certain propositions are true.
Friday, October 16, 2015(6 comments)
US Make-Believe in Syrian War
Official Washington and its mainstream media push deeper and deeper into a Mideast fantasyland where mythical "moderate rebels" in Syria represent a real force rather than a P.R. cover for Sunni jihadists, all the better to bash the Russians for their military offensive, as Gareth Porter explains at Middle East Eye.
Thursday, October 1, 2015 Rouhani's dual messages and Iran's security strategy
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's address at the UN General Assembly and a talk the previous night to about 150 Americans touted the recent nuclear breakthrough as a precedent for further diplomatic accommodation with the United States. His dual message of diplomatic engagement with Washington and insistence that cooperation on resisting "Daesh" is the priority in Syria reflect the essentials of Iran's national security.
Thursday, September 24, 2015(1 comments)
Iran's Parchin nuclear myth begins to unravel
The politically charged tale of the bomb-test chamber of Parchin is beginning to unravel. IAEA director general Yukiya Amano entered the building in which the explosives chamber had supposedly been located on Monday and announced afterward that he found "no equipment" in the building.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015(1 comments)
Why the US and Iran aren't cooperating against IS
While Iran acknowledges the need for a change in US-Iran relations to ease regional security threats, the United States has not made a move toward any such acknowledgment. US policy toward the Middle East has long been defined primarily not by threats originating in the region but by much more potent domestic political interests, both electoral and bureaucratic.
Sunday, August 30, 2015(9 comments)
Barak's tales of Israel's near war with Iran conceal the real story
The Obama administration pretended to be alarmed about Netanyahu's readiness to attack Iran. But Obama was actually playing along with the Israeli strategy in order to line up support for a more aggressive regime of sanctions and then to put pressure on Iran to enter into negotiations aimed at closing down its enrichment program.
Friday, August 14, 2015 Obama's Stupid Blame-Iran Game
President Obama always bows to Official Washington's conventional wisdom no matter how wrongheaded it is -- and then either falls in line behind some reckless neocon policy prescription or turns away just before falling off some geopolitical cliff. His continued Iran-bashing is a case in point, says Gareth Porter at Middle East Eye.
Monday, July 27, 2015 Obama Buys False Iran Narrative
President Obama has fallen into the habit of accepting whatever "group think" is prevalent in Official Washington, which often falsely accuses some "enemy" of a nefarious deed, but Obama then tries to dodge the desired reaction: war. This risky pattern is playing out again over Iran, writes Gareth Porter.
Saturday, July 25, 2015(2 comments)
Obama's line on the Iran nuclear deal: A second false narrative
Secretary Kerry and other Obama administration officials may have moderated their views of the Iran's nuclear program over the course of negotiations, but the external and domestic pressures for an even tougher line toward Iran have clearly outweighed any such learning process on the issue.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015(4 comments)
How a weaker Iran got the hegemon to lift sanctions
The main back story of the nuclear agreement is that it was Iranian counter-pressure on the United States through its nuclear program that finally compelled the Obama administration to change its strategy of relying mainly on coercion and begin the negotiations that Iran had wanted for more than two decades.
Sunday, July 12, 2015 US Slowdown on Iran Talks has Dark Side
The implications of the deliberate Obama administration decision to postpone any agreement to blunt domestic criticism from the right and, apparently, to try to wrest more diplomatic leverage in doing so, are far-reaching and very serious. Obama will presumably complete the negotiations soon as a clear triumph over Iran achieved by its tough negotiating stance -- even though that line will be the opposite of the truth.
Sunday, July 5, 2015 US spin on access to Iranian sites has distorted the issue
the Obama administration's statements suggesting that the IAEA will have authority to visit any site they consider "suspect" is a politically convenient oversimplification. Under the technical annex to the Lausanne agreement that is now under negotiation, Iran would have the right to receive the evidence on which the IAEA is basing its request, according to Iranian officials.
Saturday, June 20, 2015 Why the US military opposed new combat roles in Iraq
The question the military leaders have asked themselves is whether giving US troops and pilots more dangerous roles in the war against IS in Iraq is likely to generate more political support or have the opposite effect. Their pessimism on that question is based on the knowledge that such an escalation won't help defeat IS.
Friday, June 5, 2015(2 comments)
Demands in US-Iran nuclear talks as political Kabuki theatre
The US delegation is almost certainly preparing to give up its demands for visits to military sites on demand and interviews with Iranian scientists. Meanwhile, however, we can expect the Kabuki theatre over those demands to continue as long as it can be useful for managing the Obama administration domestic political problems.
Saturday, May 23, 2015 Obama's failure on Saudi-Qatari aid to al-Qaeda affiliate
Obama is well aware that the fall of the Assad regime is likely to result in a terrorist regime in Syria. His decision to tolerate -- at least for now - Saudi and Qatari policies that make that outcome far more likely appears to reflect little more than a personal political interest.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015(2 comments)
US Media Shields Saudi War on Yemen
The U.S. news media always seems to have an excuse for the actions of the Saudi-Israeli alliance, now trivializing Saudi Arabia's open aggression against Yemen as simply one side of a "proxy war" with Iran, a misleading depiction, says Gareth Porter.
Saturday, April 4, 2015(1 comments)
Iran won upfront sanctions relief, but with potential snags
Iran is certainly concerned about how a future US administration could and would implement the agreement. Iran was insisting that the UN Security Council resolution repealing previous resolutions with a new one reflecting the comprehensive agreement be passed before the change in administration in Washington in 2017.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015(3 comments)
Iran Demands Lifting of Sanctions for "Irreversible" Moves, Says Insider
the remaining bone of contention is that the six-nation group has insisted on maintaining the entire legal system of sanctions in place, even after the sanctions have been suspended, until the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached the conclusion that Iran's nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes -- a process that it admits could take many years.
Friday, March 27, 2015(1 comments)
Will Sanctions Fixation Kill Iran Nuke Deal?
An agreement to constrain Iran's nuclear program is within reach but could still fail if President Obama succumbs to political pressure and refuses to grant Iran meaningful relief from sanctions, as Gareth Porter explains.
Friday, March 13, 2015(7 comments)
The Real Story Behind the Republicans' Iran Letter
Members of Congress don't arrive at their positions on issues related to Iran through discussion and debate among themselves. They are given their marching orders by AIPAC lobbyists, and time after time, they sign the letters and vote for legislation or resolution that they are given, as former AIPAC lobbyist M. J. Rosenberg has recalled.
Friday, March 6, 2015 The long history of Israel gaming the "Iranian threat"
Mossad has repudiated Netanyahu's political manipulation of the Iran threat. Since 2012, at least Israeli intelligence has agreed with US intelligence that Iran has not made any decision to try to acquire nuclear weapons. And a series of Mossad chiefs have taken the unprecedented step openly rejecting Netanyahu's use of the term "existential threat."
Saturday, February 21, 2015(1 comments)
The Obama-Netanyahu Showdown
President Obama has been reduced to asking Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for permission to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, recognizing Netanyahu's power over the U.S. Congress. But Netanyahu's determination to block any deal has left Obama traversing a difficult negotiating path, writes Gareth Porter.
Saturday, February 14, 2015(3 comments)
The real problem of "getting to yes" with Iran
Khamenei knows very well that this is the opportunity to play Iran's nuclear cards in order to get the sanctions removed. But the United States appears to be using its sanctions card to force Iran to accept a reduction of roughly 75 percent in its enrichment capacity and not even offering to lift all sanctions in the short run even if Iran caves in.
Saturday, February 7, 2015(1 comments)
A Rush to Judgment in Argentine Bomb Case?
The mysterious death of an Argentine prosecutor has whipped up new suspicions around the case of who bombed the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in 1994 and whether there was an official cover-up, but the evidence on both counts remains dubious or discredited, says Gareth Porter.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 The Israel Lobby Shows Its Clout
House Speaker Boehner's unprecedented invitation to give Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a platform of a joint session of Congress to undercut President Obama's foreign policy is just the latest example of how much power the Israel lobby wields, as Gareth Porter explains.
Saturday, January 17, 2015 Local Syria ceasefires: The way out of a US policy dead end?
Even if the Obama administration recognizes the advantages of the proposal of the local ceasefire approach for Syria, it cannot be assumed that it will actually carry out the policy. The reason is the heavy influence of its relations with its main regional allies on Washington. Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar would all reject a policy that would allow a regime they regard as an Iranian ally to persist in Syria.
Sunday, January 11, 2015(2 comments)
Four ways the West got the Iran nuclear issue wrong
For more than three decades, the United States and its European allies have committed one fundamental error after another in the process of creating a commonly held narrative that Iran was secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The story of how suspicions of the Iranian program hardened into convictions is a cautionary tale of political and institutional interests.
Saturday, January 3, 2015(4 comments)
The real politics behind the US war on IS
Under the circumstances that exist in Iraq and Syria, the most rational response to IS's military successes would have been to avoid US military action altogether. But Obama had powerful incentives to adopt a military campaign that it could sell to key political constituencies. It makes no sense strategically, but avoids the perils that really matter to American politicians.
Friday, December 26, 2014 New Pressure to Stop Iran Nuke Accord
The economic pain, being inflicted on Iran and Russia by the Saudi-induced oil-price drop, has fueled a new surge in Official Washington's "tough-guy-ism" and thus may hurt chances for successful negotiations, especially an agreement to constrain Iran's nuclear program, as Gareth Porter reports.
Sunday, December 21, 2014 Ex-IAEA Chief Warns on Using Unverified Intel to Pressure Iran
Referring to the allegations of past Iranian nuclear weapons research that have been published in IAEA reports, Blix said, "Something that worries me is that these accusations that come from foreign intelligence agencies can be utilized by states to keep Iran under suspicion."
Sunday, December 14, 2014(3 comments)
The CIA's Bureaucracy of Torture
Bureaucratic inertia -- the CIA's desire for bigger budgets and then its fear of negative consequences -- helped drive the torture program from its frantic start to its belated finish, as Gareth Porter explains.