Arab News: Giuliani Packs Staff with Hawks

WASHINGTON, 14 September 2007 — Rudy Giuliani, the Republican presidential candidate, is working hard to claim his place as the Republican’s leading hawk.

The former New York City mayor recently announced the latest choice to join his presidential campaign team is neoconservative Daniel Pipes.

Pipes is viewed by many as anti-Muslim. Ahmed Rehab, the director general for CAIR, the Council of American Islamic Relations in Chicago, wrote last week in Media Monitors Network: “Daniel Pipes is as much a scholar on Islam and Muslims as David Duke is a scholar on Judaism and Jews. Pipes is wedded to his personal political agenda to such a point that it dominates his worldview invalidating his ability to act as a neutral scholar on Muslim-related topics.”

In his article, entitled: “The Islamophobe Who Cried Islamist,” Rehab writes: “For Pipes, a ‘bad’ Muslim is a Muslim who challenges his views on Israel and a ‘good’ Muslim is one who agrees with them; in his ‘scholarly’ lingo, the code terms are ‘Islamist’ and ‘moderate’ respectively.

“The fact that Pipes is taken seriously by anyone is an indication of how low the bar of discourse on Islam is today (see M.T. Akbar: “We are not done with racism — yet”). With fear and suspicion clouding reason and critical thinking, it is not difficult for a Harvard graduate with a grim face and a set of intriguing theories to wrestle some media attention.”

Giuliani’s choices are unusual: Last week he announced that he had hired Mideast hawk Norman Podhoretz as a foreign policy adviser.

Podhoretz, one of the founders of the neoconservative movement, an unwavering supporter of the war against Iraq, has been in the headlines in recent months as one of most vocal proponents of American military action against Iran.

Giuliani’s team of foreign policy advisers already has several prominent neoconservatives. His eight-member advisory panel also includes several figures with experience in Israeli affairs.

The news of Giuliani’s right-wing team has caused alarm in many circles. Ken Silverstein wrote in Harper’s Magazine, that Pipes is “further out ideologically” than any other of the already ideologues working with the Giuliani campaign.

In an earlier piece, Silverstein quoted Augustus Richard Norton, a Middle East scholar who had been an adviser to the Iraq Study Group, who said: “What I find fascinating, is how skewed this team seems to be in terms of the regional focus. … There is no real expertise on Africa, Asia, Latin America, or much of Europe.” This seems to beg the question of the criteria used by Giuliani in assembling his foreign policy advisors.

Another of Giuliani’s foreign policy advisers, Charles Hill, served as a top aide to Secretary of State George Shultz in the Reagan administration and once served as political counselor to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The team also includes Martin Kramer, an Islamic Affairs professor at Harvard University and a fellow with both the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center.

These selections show Giuliani is “very serious about his approach to ensuring the security and safety of Israel,” Ben Chouake, head of the pro-Israel political action committee Norpac, told reporters.

“I think it’s fair to say that Pipes is even further out ideologically than Norman Podhoretz, another Giuliani adviser,” said Jim Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute, in an email he sent out alerting readers to Giuliani’s new advisers.

“Readers unfamiliar with Pipes can check out his profile at Wikipedia,” writes Zogby. “For a representative sampling of his work, consider a 2006 article he wrote in the Jerusalem Post (not available online): ‘Iraq’s plight is neither a coalition responsibility nor a particular danger to the West. Fixing Iraq is neither the coalition’s responsibility, nor its burden. When Sunni terrorists target Shiites and vice versa, non-Muslims are less likely to be hurt. Civil war in Iraq, in short, would be a humanitarian tragedy, but not a strategic one.’”

In recent months, Podhoretz has written and spoken out forcefully against the Iranian regime, and argued that ultimately, military confrontation will prove necessary.

“I believe,” Podhoretz told an Israeli broadcaster on May 21, “contrary to what many people assume, that [Bush] will [attack Iran] before he leaves office.”

He added, “I think he agrees with the analysis that I offer that there is no alternative to military action.”

Giuliani remains the leading candidate among Republicans nationwide, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released this week. He has the support of 21 percent to Fred Thompson’s 19 percent. Another AP poll showed one of Giuliani’s main Republican rivals, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, leading the Republican field in New Hampshire, with 27 percent of the vote to Giuliani’s 20 percent.

Copyright © 2007 Arab News