Cliff Smith

Cliff Smith is the Washington Project Director for the Middle East Forum.

Why No Mention of Radical Islam in the State of the Union?


President Trump’s first State of the Union contained a lot of talk about “terrorism,” ISIS, and Guantanamo Bay, but not a word about radical Islamism. “Radical Islamist ideology” was the language used less than six weeks earlier when his administration’s first national security strategy was unveiled. This strategy document boldly declares radical Islamism “evil” and […]

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The Uses and Abuses of Refugee Status


In a bold reversal of longstanding Israeli policy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently called for dismantling the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and rolling its functions into the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), which handles the rest of the world’s refugees. Previously, despite the multitude of failings of UNRWA, Israel has […]

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Tackling the Middle East After the Election


The next U.S. president will have a difficult job in the Middle East. The Obama administration’s failure to appreciate the long-term consequences of its actions (and inactions) have allowed forces unfriendly to the United States to make unprecedented strategic, political, and even territorial gains. The Obama administration’s recently reaffirmed strategy toward ISIS has required Iraq’s security […]

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Congress Must Act to Prevent Unilateral Move to Create Palestinian State


President Obama is rumored to be considering a major reversal of decades-long U.S. policy toward Israel by supporting a UN Security Council resolution that unilaterally recognizes a Palestinian state before a peace agreement is negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. Congress must act to counter this bold and reckless move that endangers Israel’s security and […]

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Iran’s Missiles and Obama’s Doctrine


The United States is facing a humiliation of the first order resulting from almost comically provocative Iranian test launches of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles earlier this month and the lack of any real response from Washington, save for largely symbolic sanctions. For the Obama Administration, a recent interview suggests it sees this humiliation and loss of […]

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Run, Rubio, Run!


The word is that Florida Senator Marco Rubio will decide “within weeks” whether or not to seek the presidency. The dynamic young senator has been talked up as a potential presidential candidate ever since Florida voters sent him to Washington. However, if prominent pundits are to be believed, his White House prospects have been on […]

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Two Incoming Movers and Shakers to Watch


In the blizzard of coverage of swing seats that will ensue after next week’s election, it will be easy to overlook important new arrivals without stiff Democratic opposition—though they will have an outsized influence going forward. Take Alabama’s Gary Palmer and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, safe bets to be elected to a House seat in in […]

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