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

Kerry Plan May Put Al Qaeda in the West Bank

11:08 AM, Feb 12, 2014
Gossip in Jerusalem suggests that many Israelis misunderstand John Kerry’s obsession with the peace process: They believe that the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate is using Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as a platform to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination. That’s not... Read more

Kerry Talks Out of School

03:10 PM, Feb 04, 2014
It was hardly a surprise when last week’s much-anticipated Geneva II conference bringing representatives of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime together with opposition members came up empty. Nor was it surprising that, as recent press reports show, the administration’s plan to rid Assad of his... Read more

Obama’s Fantasy World

12:00 AM, Feb 03, 2014
So what if the sectarian conflict raging from Beirut to Baghdad claimed yet more lives last week? From the Obama administration’s perspective, all’s well with its Middle East policy. Not a bombing in the Lebanese capital, nor clashes throughout Iraq, nor even reports that Bashar al-Assad’s... Read more

This Is Syria

01:41 PM, Jan 22, 2014
The Middle East Media Research Institute translates a recent article by Saudi columnist Khalaf Al-Harbi, published in the Saudi government daily Okaz , arguing that the number of Arabs Ariel Sharon “killed is nowhere near that of those who died at the hands of Arab rulers, especially since... Read more

Saad Hariri’s ‘Moderate Awakening’

12:20 PM, Jan 17, 2014
The Hague, Netherlands Almost nine years after the February 14, 2005 murder of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri in a car bomb explosion in central Beirut that killed 22 others and wounded more than 200, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has come to fruition. Thursday morning the... Read more

More on Ariel Sharon

04:23 PM, Jan 14, 2014
“The Post-Sharon era began abruptly on January 5,” Peter Berkowitz  wrote  in a perceptive and far-seeing 2006 article for the Weekly Standard, describing how Sharon’s massive stroke affected the Israeli political spectrum and Israel’s standing in the region. Moreover, Sharon,... Read more

Ariel Sharon, 1928-2014

04:01 PM, Jan 11, 2014
The obituaries of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon touch on virtually every aspect and character trait—from the physical courage, military acumen, and political wisdom to the sense of humor, warmth, and prodigious appetite—of the nearly legendary statesman and soldier who died today at... Read more

Lebanon Succumbs to the Regional Civil War

02:18 PM, Jan 02, 2014
A car bomb detonated today in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold. So far, four are reported dead and over 50 have been injured. With rumors spreading that the bombing may have been the work of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades , a Sunni jihadist group with ties to al Qaeda, it... Read more


12:00 AM, Dec 23, 2013
Two public opinion polls released last week show that the American public is skeptical of the Obama administration’s interim agreement with Iran concerning the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons program. Further, the surveys show that Americans by a large majority mistrust the mullahs and, as... Read more

We’re All Hardliners Now

04:14 PM, Dec 19, 2013
A recent  AP/GfK poll shows  that a majority of Americans, 55 percent, disapprove of how Barack Obama is handling the Iran issue. There’s good reason for skepticism about Iranian intentions—after all, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif  threatens  that if the interim... Read more

Seymour Hersh and Assad’s Nun Spin a Story

01:01 PM, Dec 11, 2013
Over the weekend, Seymour Hersh published an article in the London Review of Books claiming that the Obama administration got it wrong regarding the August 21 chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. It wasn’t Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces that launched the... Read more

Poll: Plurality Disapproves of Nuclear Deal With Iran

04:34 PM, Dec 09, 2013
A new Pew Poll released today  shows  the American public does not support the White House’s interim deal over the Iranian nuclear program. Conducted by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY  two weeks after the  November 24 agreement struck at Geneva  between... Read more

Obama at Saban: No Military Strike on Iranian Nuke Facilities

01:15 PM, Dec 09, 2013
The military option against the Iranian nuclear weapons program is still on the table: That’s the message President Obama wanted to leave listeners with Saturday at the annual Saban Forum , hosted by the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy.  Sure, Obama... Read more

Podcast: What Did We Get In the Geneva Deal?

05:30 PM, Nov 25, 2013
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on Iran, the Geneva deal the U.S. has struck, and his recent piece "Kerry Says 'No Daylight' ". This podcast can be downloaded here . Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here . ADVERTISEMENT: [img... Read more

Kerry Says 'No Daylight'

02:52 PM, Nov 25, 2013
In the wake of the interim deal that the White House signed with Iran Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry said on the Sunday talk shows that nothing has changed, not with the American position in the Middle East, or with the U.S. alliance system in the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin... Read more

Fantasy Diplomacy

12:00 AM, Nov 25, 2013
On November 20, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program recommence in Geneva. The last round two weeks ago ended with egg on the Obama administration’s face after Secretary of State John Kerry failed to clear “bracketed text” with his own side in the talks. French foreign minister... Read more

What Happened to Bombing Iran?

12:12 PM, Nov 19, 2013
It’s Congress’s fault if there’s a war with Iran, says the White House. Last week administration officials showed their frustration with lawmakers who seek to impose another round of sanctions on the Iranians. "It is important to understand that if pursuing a resolution diplomatically is... Read more

Kerry: Obama Was for Bombing Syria Before He Was Against It

01:37 PM, Nov 12, 2013
It’s not been a good week for Secretary of State John Kerry. Savaged in a Jackson Diehl column for his vision of a “Middle East dream world,” Kerry went from one miscue to another. First, he winds up in a scrape in Jerusalem when Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu finds out that the... Read more

Obama Still Wants a Deal with Iran

03:05 PM, Nov 11, 2013
So the Obama administration is, after all, capable of tough, bull-necked diplomacy. These guys go for the jugular—for them diplomacy is a blood sport where anything is licit so long as victory is the endgame. Too bad the White House deploys those skills not against U.S. adversaries but against... Read more

Podcast: Obama's Iran Negotiations Represent A 'Revolution' In US Foreign Policy

05:40 PM, Nov 08, 2013
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on President Obama's puzzling new Iran strategy. This podcast can be downloaded here . Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here . ADVERTISEMENT: [img nocaption float="left" width="640" height="251"... Read more

Ankara Alienates Everyone

12:00 AM, Nov 04, 2013
A recent spate of newspaper articles suggests a concerted media campaign targeting Turkey’s foreign intelligence service, the MIT, its director, Hakan Fidan, and almost surely his boss as well, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a piece published by the Wall Street Journal and another by... Read more

And It Was All Right

12:03 PM, Oct 28, 2013
Lou Reed died yesterday in Amagansett, N.Y., thus ending his life on the same island, Long Island, where it began more than 71 years ago in Kings County, better known as Brooklyn.  For most of the time in between, Reed was all about Manhattan (he was, says this obituary in Spin... Read more

Obama ‘Impatient’ and ‘Disengaged’

02:01 PM, Oct 23, 2013
A long New York Times story today details the quarrels and vicissitudes that have marked the Obama White House’s Syria policy over the last two and a half years.  Some senior officials wanted to arm the rebels to topple Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, while others pushed back.... Read more

The Persian Gulf Power Vacuum

12:00 AM, Oct 21, 2013
Despite the administration’s hype of President Obama’s “historic” 15-minute phone call with the ostensibly moderate Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, the looming prospect of direct engagement with the regime in Tehran over its nuclear weapons program, and all the other symptoms of Rouhani fever... Read more

Donald Rumsfeld on Obama: ‘I Begin with Incompetence as a Problem’

06:31 AM, Oct 04, 2013
David Samuels’ deeply reported oddball narratives and profiles have appeared on the covers of Harper’s , the Atlantic , the New Yorker , and other magazines. Samuels has also contributed two long interviews for Amazon’s new Kindle Singles series: The first with Israeli President Simon Peres,... Read more

The Media’s Magical Thinking About Iran

09:01 AM, Oct 03, 2013
Blame it on Rouhani Fever. Earlier this week, Foreign Policy ’s website reported that for the first time in decades an Iranian official used the word “Israel”—“not Zionist entity,” “not occupying regime”—to describe the Jewish state. Later acknowledging their story was wrong (“Death to... Read more

Talking to Adelle Waldman

01:14 PM, Sep 26, 2013
Since its July publication, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P . has quickly become one of the most controversial novels of the year. The literary debut of author Adelle Waldman gives an account of the romantic and intellectual life of a young writer who, on the verge of publishing his first... Read more

Obama Switches Sides

05:05 PM, Sep 25, 2013
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani didn’t have to snub Obama yesterday by choosing not to meet with him on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. But, as with Vladimir Putin’s victory lap op-ed in the New York Times , Rouhani chose to rub Obama’s face in the dirt because he could.... Read more

A Short History of Shortstops

02:36 PM, Sep 16, 2013
Of the 39 most awesome jobs in America, only the nine members of the Supreme Court have lifetime tenure. Major League Baseball’s 30 shortstops, on the other hand, are always looking over their shoulder. Every ground ball in the hole, every slow roller dribbling past the mound, every relay throw... Read more

Sorting Out the Opposition to Assad

12:00 AM, Sep 16, 2013
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry went against received wisdom—and against the assessment of the White House he works for—when he argued that Syrian opposition forces are not dominated by Islamic extremists. “I just don’t agree that a majority are al Qaeda and the bad guys,” Kerry argued... Read more