"Now, according to the Financial Times of London, (Liz) Cheney is coordinating the work of a new entity called the Iran-Syria Operations Group. The unit was established "to plot a more aggressive democracy promotion strategy for those two 'rogue' states," reported the Times. In February, the State Department announced that Cheney would oversee a $5 million program to "accelerate the work of reformers in Syria," providing grants of up to $1 million each to Syrian dissidents.
And in the current fiscal year, she will oversee a similar, $7 million regime-change grant program for Iran, though funding for that effort is expected to grow to at least $85 million soon, to include both a propaganda program and support to Iranian opposition groups. "She came in knowing very little about the Middle East," says Marina S. Ottaway, senior associate and co-director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who has worked with Liz Cheney on democratic reform issues. "She had a mandate to do democracy promotion, but she had very little familiarity with the subject.... They deliberately picked a person who was not a Middle East specialist, so that the conventional wisdom, well, let me rephrase, so that real, actual knowledge of the issues in the region wouldn't interfere with policy."
And, according to a recent State Department planning document, the United States is setting up anti-Iranian intelligence and mobilization centers in Dubai, Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, London, and Baku to work with "Iranian expatriate communities." Having set into motion much of this activity, Liz Cheney's role in once again up in the air. Many at the State Department may breathe a sigh of relief this summer, when Cheney will once again likely take a leave of absence for the birth of her fifth child, expected in July. Even so, she will remain part of her father's inner circle.
And as the United States lurches toward a confrontation with Iran - October Surprise anyone? - Liz and Dick will be hand in hand."
Friday, June 16, 2006
* don points to dreyfuss' latest:
Posted by lukery at 6/16/2006 07:37:00 PM