Lee Smith

Lee Smith is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard. A senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Smith is the also author of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (Doubleday 2010).

Stories by Lee Smith

The Nats’ Bad Season: Blame Mike Rizzo, Not Matt Williams

A fish rots from the head.
3:11 PM, Sep 30, 2015

The Washington Nationals ended the home campaign of their 2015 season on a high-note Monday with Max Scherzer taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning before giving up a single. Manager Matt Williams pulled Scherzer soon after, with the right-hander striking out ten and getting credit for the 5-1 win over the Reds.

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Putin in Syria

Sep 28, 2015

Even now with the Russians on the verge of combat operations in Syria, the White House still says it believes that they’re there to fight ISIS. John Kerry says that his Russian counterpart told him that the Russians are “only interested in fighting” the Islamic State. Other administration officials hold out hope for a grand U.S.-Russia coalition against ISIS. But that’s nonsense: Vladimir Putin landed troops in order to protect his investment in Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

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The Greatest Catcher Who Ever Lived

Yogi Berra, 1925-2015.
2:02 PM, Sep 24, 2015

Baseball fans continue to pay their respects to Lawrence Peter Berra, aka “Yogi,” the legendary Yankees catcher, big league manager and coach, and homespun philosopher, who died Tuesday at age 90. “What I really liked about him is that he was such a stand-up guy,” one mourner standing outside the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J.

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Obama's Syria Doctrine: Blaming Others For His Own Failures

2:32 PM, Sep 23, 2015

In his testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday, former CIA director (ret.) General David Petraeus argued

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The Putin Solution

What Russia is up to in Syria.
Sep 21, 2015

A photograph of a drowned 3-year-old boy washed up on a Turkish beach after his family failed to find refuge from the war in Syria seems to have finally gotten the world’s attention. The conflict has been an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe for more than four years. A quarter of a million are dead, and millions have been driven from their homes, either displaced within Syria or moved to flee abroad, where they take their chances on reaching shelter.

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Seventy Years of U.S. Middle East Policy, Overturned

Obama cedes power to Putin.
2:50 PM, Sep 15, 2015

The White House seems to think that Vladimir Putin’s Syria policy is a blunder of the first order.

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Obama’s Victory Is Iran’s Victory

Sep 14, 2015

Last week the White House puffed its feathers when Barbara Mikulski became the 34th Democratic senator to come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran. Mikulski’s support ensures enough votes in Obama’s pocket to sustain a presidential veto on a resolution of disapproval, but it’s still not clear why the administration is celebrating. A majority of senators and congressmen oppose Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative. So does most of the American public, by a two-to-one ratio according to a new poll released last week.

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Obama Avoided Syria Action to Help Iran Negotiations

4:44 PM, Sep 08, 2015

Over the weekend, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt argued that Syria may be “the most surprising of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy.”

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Sanctions Relief for Terrorists

12:54 PM, Aug 31, 2015

Last Friday, I moderated a panel at Hudson Institute titled, “Why is Qassem Suleimani Smiling? The Iran Deal and Sanctions Relief for Terrorists.” (See video of the event here.) The panel’s focus was not speculative—for instance, how the regime might spend the signing bonus promised by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or how the deal might moderate the regime, or reconfigure Iranian society—but rather looked at the regime’s actual behavior over the last 36 years. In particular, the panel discussed Iran’s acts of terror against Americans, especially servicemen and women.

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Lebanon's Garbage Politics

5:12 PM, Aug 25, 2015

Over the weekend, thousands of Lebanese took to the streets to protest against their country’s corrupt political culture.

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Hastening War

Aug 17, 2015

War, President Obama says, is the only alternative to his deal with Iran. But if the president’s overriding goal is to avoid bloody conflict, why is he arming the Middle East for a shootout that may lead to Armageddon?

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A Month After Signing Iran Deal in Vienna, the American Public Makes its Opposition Clear

4:17 PM, Aug 14, 2015

A new Gallup poll shows that 55% of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of Iran compared to 33% who approve.

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Rejecting the Deal Doesn't Mean War

With U.S. sanctions still in place, Iran will remain out in the cold.
2:50 PM, Aug 13, 2015

It’s either the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, says President Obama, or it’s another Middle East war. Opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement argue that this is simply a scare tactic the White House is using to get Congress to sign off on a lousy deal. 

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Obama and the Iranian Revolution Guard Corps

They're tacitly coordinating around the Middle East
3:35 PM, Aug 10, 2015

President Obama has decided to double down on his claim that Iranian hardliners “are making common cause with the Republican caucus.” In an interview with Fareed Zakaria that aired on Sunday, Obama

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Fuel on the Fire

Aug 10, 2015

John Kerry is bullish on the Middle East. He believes that the Iran deal will make it possible for the White House and Tehran to tamp down wars in places like Syria and Yemen. And—who knows?—maybe even solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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Obama Tars Iran Deal Skeptics

4:01 PM, Aug 05, 2015

In his speech today at American University on the Iran nuclear arms deal, President Obama asked for critics to evaluate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on its own merits.

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Zarif: 'Karine A Was an Israeli False Flag'

3:22 PM, Aug 04, 2015

According to Iranian-based media, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif appeared on a panel today at Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations where he spoke about the nuclear agreement he negotiated with the P5+1 last month in Vienna. Zarif explained that the so-called snap-back sanctions mechanism was less effective than the Obama administration claims. “Our snap-back is easier than theirs,” is how one Iranian journalist tweeted Zarif’s talk, “because we can resume our work with nuts and bolts, but they should convince countries to resume sanctions.” Also, said Zarif, “doing business with foreigners is a guarantee to make them unable to use snap-back mechanism.”

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GOP Should Own Iran Deal Opposition In Thursday's Debate

Hosted by Michael Graham.
1:25 PM, Aug 03, 2015

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on the Iran Deal, how the voters are reacting to it, and why GOP candidates should own opposition to it in Thursday's debates.

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Making Stuff Up

Aug 03, 2015

When the secretary of state says, as John Kerry did last week in his Senate testimony, that the Obama White House is “guaranteeing” Iran won’t have the bomb, you can be sure that—well, you can be pretty confident that he doesn’t mean it. And that someday soon he’ll pretend he never said it.

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Report: Israel Airstrikes in Syria

Killing Samir Kuntar.
7:04 PM, Jul 29, 2015

Israeli media is reporting that an IAF strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border

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Iranian Ayatollahs Grinning After Deal

5:35 PM, Jul 29, 2015

At the end of an exchange between Sen. Tom Cotton and Gen. Martin Dempsey regarding the number of American servicemen killed by the Iranians, Cotton asks if Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani was responsible for the explosively formed penetrators that took the lives of several hundred Americans.

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U.S. Backed Into Accepting Iran's Initial Bargaining Position

7:50 AM, Jul 28, 2015

This week, the Wall Street Journal wrote that in a report to Capitol Hill last week, the Obama administration said

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U.S. Will Not Require Iran to Come Clean on Possible Military Dimensions of Nuke Program

10:35 AM, Jul 27, 2015

The following is an excerpt from a fact sheet prepared by Omri Ceren of the Israel Project that explains the significance of the Obama administration’s latest concession to Tehran—the reported collapse on the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.

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It’s Not a Deal

It’s a new, and appalling, partnership.
Jul 27, 2015

It's not hard to figure out why the Obama administration is lashing out at critics of the deal it signed with Iran last week. The White House has been pretending it’s a nuclear deal but knows that it really isn’t. Everyone from the president to the secretary of state and his negotiating team is selling it as a historic achievement. The White House, Obama said, “has achieved something that decades of animosity has not: a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

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White House Not Honest About Iran Deal

Hosted by Michael Graham.
4:05 PM, Jul 21, 2015

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on the Iran deal, and why we can't trust the White House to be honest about it.

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Former Nuclear Inspector: Iran Will Use 24-Day Delay to 'Sanitize" Covert Facilities

1:49 PM, Jul 21, 2015

A fact sheet that Omri Ceren at the Israel Project prepared details why the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s inspection and verification regime is unlikely to stop Iran from a nuclear breakout.

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Iran Deal Huge Victory for Regime's Hardliners

6:51 AM, Jul 21, 2015

One of the new talking points for defenders of the Obama White House’s Iran deal is that lifting sanctions will hurt the regime’s hardliners, in particular the Revolutionary Guard.

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What Happens in Vienna . . .

Could spell disaster for the Middle East.
Jul 20, 2015


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Obama Strikes a Deal—With Qassem Suleimani

3:50 PM, Jul 14, 2015

According to the terms of the Iran deal announced in Vienna on Tuesday, U.N. Security Council sanctions regarding nuclear-related issues will be lifted on a number of entities and individuals—from Iranian banks to Lebanese assassins, like Anis Nacacche. The name that most sticks out is IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani.

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Will Iran Deal Lead To Full Nuclear Breakout Before Obama Leaves?

Hosted by Michael Graham.
1:02 PM, Jul 14, 2015

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on the Iran deal, and whether the country will achieve full nuclear breakout before the end of Obama's second term.

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