Laurent Murawiec, whose expertise is in information warfare and revolution in military affairs, is listed as a Senior Fellow by the Hudson Institute and as an "Expert" by the Middle East Forum. Until 2002, Murawiec was a "senior international policy analyst with the RAND Corporation." He is also listed as a "terrorism analyst" by the Jamestown Foundation .
According to the Institute, Murawiec "taught philosophy in Paris and was a foreign correspondent in Germany and Central Europe for 'La Vie Francaise', a major French business weekly. He later co-founded and managed GeoPol Services S.A., a Geneva, Switzerland, consulting company that advised multinational corporations and banks. ... Prior to moving to the United States, he was an adviser to the French Ministry of Defense and taught the history of economic planning at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. He has taught military analysis and cultural anthropology at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University." Murawiec "earned his B.A., Phil. and M.A., Phi.l from the Sorbonne University in Paris."
"RightWeb" reports that Laurent Murawiec "has various dubious distinctions: He is a former Lyndon LaRouche colleague and executive editor of LaRouche's 'Executive Intelligence Review'; and when he was invited by the then-Richard Perle-led Defense Policy Board in July 2002 to give a talk on the Middle East, he delivered a highly controversial diatribe regarding Saudi Arabia. In his presentation, which was [allegedly] leaked by a board member, Murawiec said:
- "[Saudi Arabia is] the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent."
In a subsequent August 13, 2002, interview with ITP.net, Murawiec said: "My experience of your part of the world is that most people hate the Saudis' guts, not to make too fine a point about it. Everybody knows they are a bunch of lazy assholes that are arrogant, too big for their shoes, which behave in a consistently disgusting manner. People in your region have told me that for 20 years. But I am not telling you anything new." Murawiec later "denied he ever spoke with an ITP.net reporter. ITP.net subsequently released the recorded conversation."
Additionally, on August 23, 2002, Murawiec was called to task: "Gulf News Magazine tags U.S. analyst as liar" by Duraid Al Baik:
- "Dubai-based Arabian Business broadcast on its web site a taped telephonic interview with Murawiec in which he insulted the Saudis and Islam. ... Murawiec denied on Tuesday that he neither gave any interview to Arabian Business nor to anybody about the Saudis. He told AFP that 'the whole story is spurious and void.' ... The magazine challenged Murawiec's denial and broadcast the taped remarks on its web site. ... In a statement issued in Dubai yesterday, the magazine said the taped interview exposes lies of the U.S. analyst. ... It said the foreign affairs analyst to a U.S. government advisory group had lied when he denied making derogatory remarks about the Saudis. ... It stated that Arabian Business which published the initial interview with Murawiec online on ITP.net, stands by its story, and is making a tape of the interview, plus a transcript, available to media and regional governments."
In the September 7, 2002, New York Post, Andy Soltis reported that "...A Rand Corp. researcher who made critical comments to Pentagon advisers about Saudi Arabia is out of a job. Laurent Murawiec said he had quit the elite think tank as of Wednesday and insisted he wasn't fired - despite demands for his ouster." cache file
Ha'aretz Daily: "Perles of wisdom for the Feithful" by Akiva Eldar (? 2002):
"It's true that restoring a monarchy in Iraq does not exactly fit the Bush administration's vision of a democratic Middle East. But there are signs that it fits some old dreams of a few of the key strategists around the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triangle running America's Iraq policy. A few weeks ago, Richard Perle invited the Pentagon chiefs to a meeting with researchers from a Washington think tank with particularly close relations with the Defense Department.
"According to information that reached a former top official in the Israeli security services, the researchers showed two slides to the Pentagon officials. The first was a depiction of the three goals in the war on terror and the democratization of the Middle East: Iraq - a tactical goal, Saudi Arabia - a strategic goal, and Egypt - the great prize.
"The triangle in the next slide was no less interesting: Palestine is Israel, Jordan is Palestine, and Iraq is the Hashemite Kingdom."
One given interpretation for the last slide is this:
- "That is, ethnically cleanse the Palestinians to Jordan, and give Iraq to the Jordanian royal family. Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser spelled much of this out in their Securing the Realm paper." (2000)
A Pentagon Leak: August 6, 2002, Defense Policy Board Briefing & Aftermath
- 6 August 2002: "Briefing depicted Saudis as enemies. RAND analyst urges rethinking of Saudi Arabia as U.S. ally" by Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post. Also copies here and here.
- 6 August 2002: "Rand report: Saudis 'active at every level of the terror chain'," World Tribune.
- 6 August 2002: "Pentagon Blasts Saudi Arabia Report," CBS News.com: "The Defense Department distanced itself Tuesday from a defense think tank recommendation that the United States 'target' Saudi oil fields and financial assets if the Arab nation doesn't do more to fight terrorism. ... The suggestion was made in a briefing to the Defense Policy Board, a group of intellectuals and former senior officials that advises the Pentagon. The government-funded briefing was produced by Laurent Murawiec, a Rand Corp. analyst and former adviser to the French Defense Ministry. ... The Pentagon said in a statement that the presentation does not 'reflect the official view of the Defense Department.'"
- 6 August 2002: "US 'reconsiders' Saudi Arabia ties" by Roger Hardy, BBC/UK: "A briefing given to an influential Pentagon advisory board is reported to have described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States because of its alleged support for terrorism. ... According to the Washington Post newspaper, the briefing reflects a view that is gaining ground within the Bush administration."
- 6 August 2002: "Report Calls Saudi Friendship Into Question," FOX News: "'Of course, everyone has a right to their opinion. It did not represent the views of the government. It didn't represent the views of the Defense Policy Board,' said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of the report. ... 'Clearly, somebody decided that it was a good idea to take something that was that potentially controversial -- I almost said inflammatory -- and give it to a newspaper, even though the meeting was a classified meeting and a closed meeting of the Defense Policy Board.' ... Rumsfeld added that there are some concerns about activities in Saudi Arabia -- simmering Islamic fundamentalism has worried U.S. officials -- but on balance the relationship is very productive."
- 6 August 2002: "Saudi Foreign Minister emphasizes strength of U.S.-Saudi relations," Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Press Release: "HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today emphasized the strength of U.S.-Saudi relations, and reiterated that the two countries have been friends and allies for over 60 years. Prince Saud described the bilateral relationship as 'excellent in all fields'. ... Prince Saud described as 'pure fiction' the contents of a briefing given by Laurent Murawiec of the Rand Corporation to the U.S. Defense Policy Board on July 10, 2002, in which he described the Kingdom as an enemy of the United States."
- 7 August 2002: CNN Transcript of Interviews by Colleen McEdwards with Donald Rumsfeld, General Richard Myers, Henry Kissinger, Michael Ledeen, and Shireen Hunter (Center for Strategic and International Studies).
- 7 August 2002: "Views Aired In Briefing On Saudis Disavowed" by Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post: "Rumsfeld, speaking at a meeting with Pentagon employees, called the publication of an article about the briefing in yesterday's Washington Post 'unfortunate.' He went on to attack the unidentified person who leaked the briefing, saying, 'I just think it's a terribly unprofessional thing to do and clearly harmful.'"
- 7 August 2002: "U.S. Out of Saudi Arabia" by Jesse Walker, Reason.com.
- 7 August 2002: "US apologises to 'enemy' Saudis. Coalition Powell disowns briefing at Pentagon" by Oliver Burkeman, Guardian/UK: "Colin L. Powell, the US secretary of state, phoned the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, to assure him of continuing US support, while the White House and the defence department scrambled to emphasise that the briefing had been given by an outside analyst and did not represent the government's view."
- 7 August 2002: "The PowerPoint That Rocked the Pentagon. The Lyndon LaRouche defector who's advising the defense establishment on Saudi Arabia" by Jack Shafer, Slate. Shafer provides an assessment of his research in locating biographical information on Murawiec in 2002. The briefing is provided at the end of the Slate article. It can also be viewed here.
- 7 August 2002: "Saudi Arabia not an enemy, U.S. assures Mideast nation," CNN.com: "Rand also distanced itself from the presentation, saying it 'was not a Rand research product.' ... Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a town hall-style meeting of Pentagon employees Tuesday that it was 'unfortunate' that information about the briefing was leaked to the media."
- 7 August 2002: "Neocons Go for the Gold. Saudi Arabia, Jordan targets of Israel Firsters" by Justin Raimondo, antiwar.com: "Rumsfeld, however, wants us to believe that he's plenty steamed up about this leak: 'Clearly, somebody decided that it was a good idea to take something that was that potentially controversial - I almost said inflammatory - and give it to a newspaper, even though the meeting was a classified meeting and a closed meeting of the Defense Policy Board.' ... The leak was 'clearly harmful,' he complained, and doesn't really represent the majority view of the policy board. I especially liked this Associated Press report of Rummy's displeasure: 'The defense secretary's harshest comments were aimed at those responsible for leaking the report. He says this probably came from someone who wanted to appear important.' ... But not really important, you see - or, at least, not important enough to be tracked down by requiring all members of the Defense Policy Board to submit to a polygraph test. If they can ask it of Congress, then why not demand it of the members of what was once a bureaucratic backwater and is now, apparently, the Mordor of the War Party? ... It doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to home in on the likeliest suspect in this latest case of 'leaked' classified information: none other than the chairman of this phony Defense Policy 'board,' a man whose appointment to a sensitive position has been confirmed by no one. Perle was essentially sneaked in the back door of this administration, and has been allowed to run rampant ever since - and he and his fellow neocons are active on more than one front...."
- 9 August 2002: "On the Media" Interview by Bob Garfield with Thomas E. Ricks.
- 9 August 2002: "Saudi Arabia not 'potential' enemy, says Rumsfeld" by Anwar Iqbal, Dawn: "But Mr Rumsfeld dismissed the presentation as the personal views of an individual who is not even a US citizen but a 'French national' invited to address a board made up of 'private citizens who act as advisers to the Pentagon'. ... Mr Rumsfeld said he brought up the briefer's nationality to underscore that since he was a foreign national he had no security clearance and the briefing contained no classified information. Mr Rumsfeld said he misspoke himself on Tuesday when he told Pentagon employees that the briefing was classified. ... 'It was not the result of Rand analytical work or research. It was his personal views, which is fine. Everyone has personal views,' Mr Rumsfeld said. ... 'It does not represent the defence policy board's views. It does not represent the department of defence's views. And no senior member of the department of defence was there to hear it.' ... The board had such prominent advisers as Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state; and Richard Perle, a former defence department official. No member of the board would comment publicly about the briefing. Mr Rumsfeld said two members of the board had heard Mr Murawiec's briefing and brought him to address the group."
- 9 August 2002: "Don't Make Saudi Friend into Arab Foe" by David Silverberg, Saudi-American Forum.
- 9 August 2002: "Going After the Saudis. Big Oil joins up with the neocons - and a LaRouche 'defector'" by Justin Raimondo, antiwar.com.
- 16 August 2002: "Even RAND Repudiates Anti-Saudi Murawiec," Executive Intelligence Review.
- 16 August 2002: "Saudi Briefing Fraud. The Sordid Sponsors Of Perle's `French Expert'," Executive Intelligence Review. Article provides Murawiec's connection to the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Office of Net Assessment.
- 18 August 2002: "Perle's stealth attack on Saudi Arabia" by Richard H. Curtiss, aljazerrah.
- 21 August 2002: "Kissinger, Quale, Gingrich and Perle on a Lie Detector?" by David Corn, The Nation: "Ultimately, the leak is less important than the briefing itself. But why does Rumsfeld--the decrier of all leaks--not vigorously pursue the leaker in this instance? Doing so would be a signal to all government employees. Imagine Perle, Gingrich and Quayle on the box."
- 22 August 2002: "Trashing the Saudis" by Robert Novak, Townhall.com: "Senior Saudi officials had hoped that Rumsfeld would unequivocally reject and apologize for the briefing by Rand Corporation analyst Laurent Murawiec, which described longtime ally Saudi Arabia as a terrorist nation that is 'the kernel of evil' and the U.S.'s 'most dangerous opponent' in the Middle East. Instead, Rumsfeld separated himself from the affair, characteristically indicating what bothered him most was that contents of the briefing were leaked."
- 22 August 2002: "Inside The Secret War Council. How an unpaid conservative board that holds private meetings and puts nothing in writing gets heard at the Pentagon" by Mark Thompson, TIME.
- 27 August 2002: "The Continuing Saga of Laurent (of Arabia) Murawiec. The Rand analyst whose PowerPoint rocked the Pentagon returns to the news" by Jack Shafer, Slate.
- 27 August 2002: "Changing the Middle East Map - Bush Style" by Karamatullah Ghori, Islam Online: "However, Iraq is intended to be just the opening gambit on the chessboard that Bush is laying for the Middle East. The net he and his 'empire builders' are planning to cast around their target would eventually cover Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt. ... Ample evidence to this effect was provided recently when the details of a highly classified briefing given to the top-notch Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon July 10 was leaked to the press. The story, broken by the Washington Post on August 6, referred to Saudi Arabia's being described as an 'enemy state' to defense policy planners. ... It is inconceivable that a high-security defense-oriented briefing could be ferreted out from the bowels of the Pentagon and leaked to the press unless the intention was for it to be made public. The motive could be none other than to serve as a warning to Saudi Arabia, and provide its leaders with some insight into the new mindset taking hold of the Bush administration. Incidentally, the leak became public only a day after the Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud Al-Faisal, had categorically informed the world, via Al-Jazeera TV, that his country will never allow its territory to be used against Iraq. ... An unknown intellectual, Laurent Murawiec, conducted the Pentagon briefing, on behalf of the notorious Rand Corporation, a right wing think tank. The inspiration behind the whole exercise was none other than Richard Perle, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is an inveterate enemy of Muslims and Arabs, and one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in the Washington mafia surrounding Bush. ... Most political pundits, taken by surprise by the 'leak' and the virulence of the briefing against a faithful Washington friend and ally like Saudi Arabia, have since come to the conclusion that Perle not only commissioned the study, but also dictated its contours; he also, then, leaked it to his favorite paper to create the stir he always wanted to."
- 7 September 2002: In the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: "Laurent Murawiec, a Rand Corp. researcher who delivered a briefing at the Pentagon describing Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States and a backer of terrorism, which led the Bush administration to distance itself from the report, is leaving the think tank."
- 13 September 2002: "Hawks hit by a rhetorical ricochet" by Jim Lobe, Asia Times.
- March/April 2003 (edition): "The Thirty-Year Itch" by Robert Dreyfuss, Mother Jones: "Last Summer, Perle provided a brief glimpse into his circle's thinking when he invited rand Corporation strategist Laurent Murawiec to make a presentation to his Defense Policy Board, ... Murawiec's closed-door briefing provoked a storm of criticism when it was leaked to the media; .... He ultimately lost his job when rand decided he was too controversial."
- 27 June 2003: "Democratic Revolution - It's What's for Dinner. Time to end Operation Iraqi Freedom? Well, it depends on what your definition of 'Iraq' is" by Anthony Gancarski, antiwar.com: "With the advantage of hindsight, however, we can see the tactical advantage of having a shadowy figure like Murawiec flanking Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, and the other hawks of 2002 to the 'right' on the issue of Middle Eastern subjugation. And we can also see that Murawiec, for all the heat he took last summer, may have been given the unenviable task of stating what US Policy would end up being in the region [talks of 'cakewalks' from bigger names notwithstanding]."
On June 6, 2003, a little more than a year after the Defense Policy Board presentation, and all the public discourse about him, Murawiec participated in a program at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies on "Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe?".
The Foundation's web site identifies Murawiec as a "Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute and author of Taking Saudi Out of Arabia (forthcoming)." Other participants were "Dr. Hillel Fradkin, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Stephen Schwartz, Senior Policy Analyst, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and author of The Two Faces of Islam; and Ali Al-Ahmed, Executive Director, Saudi Institute."
- "Intelligence officials linked al Qaeda to the multiple, simultaneous suicide car bombings in mid-May, 2003, that killed at least 30 people, including eight Americans. The bombings were a brutal reminder to the presence of Islamic radicalism in Saudi Arabia-financed, at least in part, by prominent Saudis and encouraged by the leading clerics of the Wahhabi state religion. As American troops are preparing to leave the Kingdom the problematic nature of U.S-Saudi relations requires intense scrutiny. Should America view Saudi Arabia as a friend, or reexamine its policies and start viewing it as a foe?
- "Moreover: in light of the Bush doctrine, should the U.S. government pressure Saudi Arabia to undertake reform toward democratization, pluralism, religious freedom and women's rights? Is a process of democratization at all possible in Wahhabi Saudi Arabia? What will it take for such process to begin? These and other issues will be discussed by a panel of experts on the topic."
Links to photographs and transcripts by all participants in the discussion are provided.
Murawiec's Articles on Saudi Arabia
- Laurent Murawiec, Will the U.S. Divorce Saudi Arabia?, Middle East & International Review, April/May/June 2002.
- Laurent Murawiec, Saudi Arabia's Links to Terrorism. A briefing by Laurent Murawiec, Middle East Forum, November 19, 2002.
- Saudi Arabia: No Longer America's Strategic Ally. Laurent Murawiec Addresses the Policy Forum, JINSA online, September 27, 2003.
- Laurent Murawiec, The Saudi Takeover of Al-Azhar University, Jamestown Foundation, December 4, 2003.
- Laurent Murawiec and David M. Adamson, Demography and Security, Rand Corporation, (Full Text). "In November 2000, a group of population scholars, security analysts, and interested observers gathered in Paris, France, to discuss demographic trends and their implications for international security. This document summarizes these discussions."
- Laurent Murawiec, "La Guerre D'apres" "a book about Saudi Arabia published in France by Albin Michel Publishers." (December 4, 2003)
Other SourceWatch Resources
- Links to articles about or by Murawiec, findarticles.com.
- Karlis Kirsis, Russia's Higher Police: Continuity of the Russian Intelligence Elite, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 29, 2002: "In order to provide some insight into the motivations and self-conceptions of the intelligence elite, Clifford G. Gaddy, Fellow at the Brookings Institution, spoke with a small group at the Endowment on the history of the intelligence services in Russia and the lessons these new leaders of Russia have drawn. His presentation was drawn from research that he has engaged in jointly with Laurent Murawiec of the Rand Corporation."
- Michel Porcheron, A war unleashed on the ruins of diplomacy, Granma International On line (Havana, Cuba):"In the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's team is hoping for a short war. Laurent Murawiec, a military expert from the ultra-conservative Hudson Institute and a Frenchman close to the U.S. hawks, predicted a duration of 'more or less two weeks,' according to the March 18 edition of Libération. Murawiec affirms that "Iraq's military capacities are half what they were in 1991, whilst U.S. military power is far superior."
- Ramin Parham, Uncle Joe, An interview with Laurent Murawiec, Iranian Voice, June 1, 2003.