Cover-up and Blowback

What Congress Left Out of the Iran-Contra Report

by Jonathan Marshall
published in MER151

The House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran and Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition. Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair. (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1987.)

Of the millions of Americans who watched some or all of the televised hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal during the summer of 1987, only a handful will slog through the 690 pages of fine print that make up the final report of the congressional investigating committees. That’s a shame, because the report succeeds in many areas where the hearings failed dismally.

Reagan's Iran

Factions Behind US Policy in the Gulf

by Eric Hooglund
published in MER151

Despite its reputation for having inflexible ideological positions on all foreign policy issues, the Reagan administration actually came to office in January 1981 without a coherent policy for dealing with Iran. At first the new administration was content to let Iran fade from the spotlight of national media attention that it had held during the last 14 months of the Carter administration. The hostage crisis had been resolved, fatefully on the very day Reagan was inaugurated. The administration contributed rhetorically to the Iran-bashing mood of the country, but since Iraq still seemed to have the upper hand in the war that it had begun a few months earlier in September 1980, there was a general perception that Iran was contained and could be ignored.

Rewiring a State

The Techno-Politics of Electricity in the CPA's Iraq

by Nida Alahmad
published in MER266

The Coalition Provisional Authority, the US-British body that briefly ruled in Baghdad from May 2003 to June 2004, had grand ambitions for Iraq. The idea was to transform the country completely from what was basically a command economy (notwithstanding liberalization measures in the 1990s) into an open market and from a dictatorship into a liberal democracy. The radical nature of these plans and orders, coupled with the CPA’s swift dissolution, has led many to dismiss the body as a hasty and ill-conceived imperial experiment. Indeed it was -- and a destructive one as well. But the CPA period still deserves serious examination. It was the only time when the US, in its capacity as occupier, was in charge of Iraq administratively and legally.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER266

“The Iraq war is largely about oil,” wrote Alan Greenspan in his memoir The Age of Turbulence (2007). “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows.” It may indeed be self-evident that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, as the former Federal Reserve chairman says, because of oil. But what does this proposition mean? The answer is not so obvious.

North-South vs. East-West

The Shifting Focus of US Military Power

by Michael Klare
published in MER151

The new US-Soviet agreement banning intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe appears to signal a new period of dialogue and cooperation between the two superpowers. It seems that the intense hostilities of the early Reagan era have given way to a more relaxed and constructive relationship between Washington and Moscow, with leaders of both countries calling for negotiated solutions to a wide range of previously divisive issues.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER151

The adversarial relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, the two great powers of this era, is key to understanding Washington’s and Moscow’s policies in the Middle East. In the Persian Gulf, for instance, Washington’s secret arms sales to Iran and subsequent naval buildup were both prompted by the Reagan administration’s fear of Soviet political advances in the region. And Washington’s strategic interest in the Middle East goes beyond oil and markets, as successive administrations have used war and turmoil there to construct a base structure capable of supporting US military operations in and around the southern part of the Soviet Union.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER144

The scheme began to unravel last October 7. In Managua, the sole survivor of a downed American C-123 cargo plane full of weapons for the contras told a crowded press conference, “My name is Eugene Hasenfus.” In Washington, businessman Roy Furmark called on his old friend William Casey at CIA director’s hideaway office next to the White House. Furmark had been sent by Adnan Khashoggi; the Saudi tycoon said he had not been repaid more than $10 million he advanced for arms shipped to Iran. When Furmark returned to Washington on November 24, Casey phoned Lt. Col. Oliver North at the White House. “There’s a guy here who says you owe him $10 million on the Iran thing,” Casey said. Casey hung up and turned to Furmark.

Dorman and Farhang, The US Press and Iran

by Ervand Abrahamian
published in MER153

William Dorman and Mansour Farhang, The US Press and Iran: Foreign Policy and the Journalism of Deference (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987).

 

"The Pressure Should Be on the US and Israel to Recognize the PLO"

An Interview with Hilton Obenzinger

by Joel Beinin
published in MER146

Hilton Obenzinger is a member of the executive committee of the November 29 Committee for Palestine, and on the staff of their bimonthly, Palestine Focus. His book of poems, This Passover or the Next I Will Never Be in Jerusalem, was reviewed in our February 1982 issue. Joel Beinin interviewed him in San Francisco in February 1987.

Tell us about the kind of organizing work that you’ve been involved in with the November 29 Committee.

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"The US Must Start Negotiations with the PLO"

An Interview with Gail Pressberg

by Joe Stork
published in MER146

Gail Pressberg is the Middle East coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Joe Stork spoke with her in Washington in late March 1987.

Where is the peace movement at now with regard to Middle East issues?

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