Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 10, 2011

Dennis Ross Fired Over IAEA Dud

I have a hunch that the abrupt firing of Dennis Ross is one of the (well deserved) outcomes of the recent "nuclear Iran" IAEA, Americn induced report dud. The NYT writes:

Dennis B. Ross, a seasoned diplomat who has been one of President Obama’s most influential advisers on Iran, the Middle East peace process and the political upheaval in the Arab world, will leave the White House in December, a senior administration official said on Thursday. Mr. Ross, who announced his departure at a lunch with Jewish leaders, told White House officials that he promised his wife he would leave the government after two years.

Yeah, right. The proverbial "to have more time with the family" excuse which is regularly used when people in the officialdom get fired for serious screw ups. It never really passes the most basic smell test.

A Middle East envoy to three presidents, Mr. Ross, 62, is known for his painstaking approach to diplomacy and longstanding ties to Israeli leaders, which made him an important interlocutor with Israel behind the scenes, but also stood in stark contrast to the bolder instincts and more distant approach of his boss.

"Painstaking approach" somehow fits. A lot of pain and no progress at all. Ross was known as "Israel's lawyer" and never minded any mass murder provided it was done to Israel's favor.

That the Obama administration gave him a job was a sure sign that stupid and damaging moves in Israel's favor would follow. As they did.

And here is the beef that gives me the hunch that this firing is related to the IAEA dud. As usual especially in Middle East issues the NYT buries the lede at the end its story.

Mr. Ross was also involved in devising the administration’s pressure tactics against Iran, after Mr. Obama’s initial overtures fell flat. Tensions with Iran have risen in recent days because of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency laying out evidence that Iran has continued to work on a nuclear weapon.

Tensions with Iran have not really risen. What has risen is international, especially Russian and Chinese, resistance against the confrontational U.S. strategy towards Iran and abusing and damaging the IAEA at Dennis Ross' advise.

The recent IAEA report, published under U.S. pressure, and which even former IAEA inspectors in good standing call "unprofessional", has widely missed the target the U.S. aimed at. Ross "was involved in devising the administration’s pressure tactics against Iran". He certainly was and the tactics he advised to follow FAILED big time.

He was fired. Good riddance. If only 20+ years too late.

Posted by b on November 10, 2011 at 19:23 UTC | Permalink


And thanks to you, b, for the not insignificant part that your blogging played in exposing this crude and malicious warmongering.
Moon of Alabama has been to the fore (so far as I can see) in turning this carefully laid land mine into a squib which has done nobody any harm except the arrogant neo-cons who devised it.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 10 2011 19:44 utc | 1

They are going to get what they want (eventually), by hook or by crook, in other words, 'any means necessary'; just a matter of time.

Oil Executive: Military-Style 'Psy Ops' Experience Applied

It's the PNAC way...

The top 10 military ‘psy-ops’ corporations admit to using against Americans

By Robert Johnson

Environmental activist Sharon Wilson showed up to an oil industry event in Houston last week and caught a startling glimpse into how the fracking industry approaches residents in towns where they drill.

Wilson recorded industry insiders confirming they hire military psychological operation veterans, and use procedures pulled straight from the Army’s counterinsurgency manual.

The first half of the following slide titles are pulled exactly from the manuals section on ASPECTS OF COUNTERINSURGENCY. The second half is our interpretation of how that directive would be employed in American towns.

The text in the slides is pulled directly from the manual as well, though references to government etc. are put in brackets and changed to [corporation] for context. The corporations are referred to as the counterinsurgency or COIN.

Legitimacy is the Main Objective: Insert the government of choice

“The primary objective of any counterinsurgent is to foster the development of effective governance.

… All [corporations] rule through a combination of consent and coercion. [Corporations] described as “legitimate” rule primarily with the consent of the governed, while those described as “illegitimate” tend to rely mainly or entirely on coercion.

[Both] Their citizens obey the state for fear of the consequences of doing otherwise, rather than because they voluntarily accept its rule. A [corporation] that derives its powers from the governed tends to be accepted by its citizens as legitimate.

It still uses coercion for example, against criminals—but the bulk of the population voluntarily accepts its governance.”

Source: Army FM-34

Unity of Effort is Essential: Obtain full control of all government agencies

“Unity of effort must pervade every echelon.

… Ideally a counterinsurgent should have authority over all government agencies involved in operations. However, the best situation that military commanders can generally hope for is to be able to achieve unity of effort through communication and liaison with those responsible for the nonmilitary agencies.

There are many … organizations needing coordination. The [local government] must be key players in higher-level planning, while similar connections are needed throughout the chain of command.”

Source: Army FM-34

Understand the Environment: Become friends with the townsfolk

“The local population is a critical center of gravity of an insurgency.

Successful conduct of counter-insurgency operations depends on thoroughly understanding the society and culture within which they are being conducted.

[Corporate leaders] must understand the following about the population in the area of operations:

How key groups in the society are organized.
Relationships and tensions among them.
Ideologies and narratives that resonate with the groups.
Group interests and motivations.
Means by which groups communicate.
The society’s leadership system.”

more at the link...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 10 2011 21:33 utc | 2

IAEA on Iran: A ‘Colossal Non-Event’ As Casus Belli

Nevertheless, Amano chose to focus the report on unsubstantiated intelligence reports, provided almost entirely by the United States, Israel, and other Western governments, alleging that the Islamic Republic is working on a nuclear weapons program…

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 10 2011 22:01 utc | 3

another good call b. you're on a roll.

uncle The top 10 military ‘psy-ops’ corporations admit to using against Americans

i'm so shocked.remember that argument i had here a couple years back with someone who insisted iraq psy-ops wasn't intended for americans? or something to that effect. we're all intended dupes.

Posted by: annie | Nov 10 2011 22:30 utc | 4

Back in July Stephen Walt (co-author of the book "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy") wrote the following about Dennis Ross.

"Ross has been advising presidents ever since the first Bush administration and played a central role in both the Clinton and Obama administration, and his stewardship of the "peace process" has led exactly nowhere. In what other line of work could someone fail consistently for two decades and still have a job?"


The guy is a hack. In fact even after spending 20+ years failing in the peace process he had the ego to write a book called "Statecraft" assuming people would want to take advice on international relations from someone who can't even negotiate a peace treaty over a two decade period.

So Obama moved him from the Israel-Palestine brief to the Persian Gulf desk in 2009 to apply pressure on Iran and after two more years of "statecraft" Ahmadinjad today came out and said Iran would not move "one iota" on the nuclear issue. Looks like Obama has finally decided to put Dennis Ross out of his misery. Ross will no doubt go back to the AIPAC think tank WINEP where he spent the W Bush years, no doubt they will take pity on this mindless hack.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 10 2011 23:27 utc | 5

Now if we can press terrorism charges against the psy-ops commander who cooked up that false-flag terror 'plot' to trigger a war on Iran, then I'll know that the neocon crime ring has finally bumped up against the wall of justice and is looking to face some serious jail time.

Posted by: Cynthia | Nov 10 2011 23:40 utc | 6

Colm, he didn't fail in the Peace process. That's precisely the point, and why he's been so pivotal for so long. Peace is not the goal. Pressing for Peace is a facade for constant tension and discord. Israel implodes without that friction, so there can be no Peace.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 11 2011 0:03 utc | 7

Why is the term "Neocon" being resurrected all of a sudden? I don't like its use in this context. This can't be laid solely at the "Neocons" feet. Does Clinton get off the hook? Bush Sr.? Ronnie? Obama? Come on, they all bat for the same team. Pretending it's just this small cadre of malevolent Plutocrats amongst a sea of benevolent ones is misdirectional. I fell for that years ago, and have since changed my thinking after seeing it for the ruse it is.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 11 2011 0:10 utc | 8

MB # 8,

Indeed sometimes I wonder whether Israel truly does wag the dog, or if OTOH, they are being set up to take the fall should US plans of hegemony fall flat.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 11 2011 0:49 utc | 9

Morocco Bama,

What makes you think that only "Dubya" and his cronies can be described as neocons? Obama is just as much of a neocon as Bush was. The neocons cross party lines, and they date back to the post-Cold War era, starting with Daddy Bush.

Posted by: Cynthia | Nov 11 2011 1:01 utc | 10

I'm with Lysander, and think Moon Over Alabama has it wrong: Ross was not booted out, that would be impossible, zionists do not answer to US politicians, they answer to Israel. Israel must have wanted Ross out of the White House -- rats are first to leave the sinking ship.

Posted by: Bessam | Nov 11 2011 1:38 utc | 11

If Israel wanted Ross out of the WH, and I tend to think that it is more likely (Obama at this juncture would not take on AIPAC)is it an early warning of something afoot? Would they want to shield him from the fall-out of an unauthorized attack on Iran perhaps?

Posted by: BDL | Nov 11 2011 2:32 utc | 12

It may be that the ideological attack against Iran was premature, before the election rather than after it. Dem presidents have historically gone to war after an election, usually after running as a candidate on a peace platform.

Wilson in 1916 ran as a candidate in the 1916 election on a slogan 'he kept us out of war.' Immediately on being elected in entered wolrd war 1 and began a military draft.

roosevelt ran in the 1940 election on 'no foreign wars,' catering to the enormous peace feeling of the people after the disillusion of war war 1. He manipulated the Japanese to bomb Pearl Habor after the election.

Truman was Elected in 1948, and went to war in 1950 against Korea.

Johnson accused Goldwater of being a war monger in the 1964 Election, and then escalated Vietnam after the Election.

Obama was different only in that he ran on changing the War On Terrorism, and continued and expanded it after the election. If he goes to war with Iran, which is not unlikely, it will be after the election, if history is any guide.

Posted by: Mungo Folk | Nov 11 2011 2:43 utc | 13

This morning I had to have an acquaintance drive me a considerable distance for a medical procedure I was having done. Of course, conversation turned to politics, seeing as how the drive was turning torturous by my driver's infatuation with Rush Limbaugh's radio blather.

When I commented how insane it would be to attack Iran, my trusty Limbaugh fan commented "Yeah, and theres no doubt our President wouldn't support them!"

"Them?" I queried.

"The Israelis." He replied. Adding; "Obama has already threatened to cut off funding to the Israelis if they go after Iran's nukes. He hates the Israelis."

From there, the conversation degenerated further. I "learned" that Obama has refused to condemn Hamas, and has been fully supportive of the Palestinians. When I brought up our vetoes at the UN, and the defunding of UNESCO, he was unaware of any vetoes, and asked "who" Unesco was.

My point? I don't think my driver's degree of media-nurtured ignorance is an accident. And I don't think that his degree of ignorance is the exception rather than the rule. If the media sells it, the people are buying it. And thats precisely why we will stand around like sheep while these maniacs in DC lie us into another insane military adventure, infinitely more dangerous than the last one they lied us into.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 11 2011 2:56 utc | 14

Jim Lobe: "Israel's Advocate" to Leave White House for Pro-Israel Think Tank

Ross stance on Iran was also considerably more hawkish than Obama's public position of "engagement" with the Islamic Republic, at least during the campaign and at the outset of the administration.

In the run-up to the 2008 elections, Ross participated in two task forces on Iran policy, including one by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which called for military strikes against Tehran if it did not agree to abandon its uranium enrichment programme. Other task force members included prominent neo-conservatives who championed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Ross was also a founding member in 2008 of United Against Iran (UANI), another hawkish group that has mounted an aggressive public campaign to highlight the alleged threat posed by Iran to Israel and the U.S.

And, in a book co-written by WINEP fellow David Makovsky and published just after the 2008 election, Ross called for using diplomatic engagement primarily as a means to rally international support behind "tougher policies – either militarily or meaningful containment" – an approach that has been largely adopted by the administration.

Indeed, the fact that Ross has largely prevailed in setting the basic policy parametres on both the "peace process" and on Iran, at least for through next year's election, makes it unlikely that Obama will make any major policy changes in the interim.

"The administration does not need Dennis Ross anymore," said M.J. Rosenberg, a Mideast expert at Media Matters, who used to work for AIPAC and the more dovish Israel Policy Forum. "It's on automatic pilot, enhanced by direct demands from AIPAC and Netanyahu that will invariably get a positive response. Ross was a middle man and a middle man is no longer necessary."

"Dennis Ross is returning to the outpost of the Israel Lobby whence he came, leaving a diplomatic shambles behind him," according to Amb. Chas Freeman (ret.), former head of the Middle East Policy Council here.

"None of the issues in his charge prospered during his tenure, which saw the collapse of any pretence of a peace process between Israel and the Arabs, a deepening of the Iranian conviction that a nuclear deterrent is necessary to deter Israeli or American attack, and the collapse of American prestige and influence among the Arabs and in the Islamic world more generally," he wrote in an email exchange with IPS.

Posted by: b | Nov 11 2011 5:31 utc | 15

Funny - the first three the "Reader Recommended comments" at the NYT story about Ross use the phrase "Good riddance" and the following 30+ or so are all negative towards Ross. There is only one comment flagged as "Highlights", i.e. recommended by NYT staff, and that one is positive on Ross. Says a lot about the NYT ...

Posted by: b | Nov 11 2011 5:46 utc | 16

If you're right, b, and I'm not saying your hunch isn't correct, then there is a significant downside to this, and that is Ross's replacement will be someone who can presumably get the job done, where Ross couldn't, meaning someone who who can sell an attack on Iran.

Of course, as I mentioned, Ross has been a success up to this point in that he prevented Peace from breaking out in the region whilst operating under the pretense that Peace was the goal. I'm sure he will be, and has been, rewarded for his "fine" work, this potential blunder aside.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 11 2011 13:47 utc | 17

Likudniks certainly have more influence on US policy than, say, Laotians, Latvians, Liberians, or Lithuanians, but I think it’s more accurate to view right-wing Israel as the teeth of the dog, rather than the tail wagging the dog.

Posted by: Watson | Nov 11 2011 14:00 utc | 18

@18, I tend to agree, and Obama's comments to Sarkozy off-mic appear to indicate this. If those teeth become too rotten and painful, they will be pulled and replaced with implants.....meaning Israel, if it gets to that point, and it will, is put on the alter just as Abraham allegedly did with his son, metaphorically speaking.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 11 2011 15:02 utc | 19

if mr Dennis Ross has been sent home for the reason in this news report,President Obama aught to be commended for it.He has done a good job and in interest of his people and Peace in the world,he must continue taking such actions to ensure that there no more unjust war.

Posted by: aitezazuddin ahmed | Nov 12 2011 18:02 utc | 20

@20, maybe another Nobel Peace Prize is in order. It would be a first, wouldn't it, for someone to get two of those puppies?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 12 2011 19:09 utc | 21

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