David Wurmser

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David Wurmser is the former Middle East adviser to Dick Cheney. Earlier in the George W. Bush Administration, he came from a position as director of Middle East studies at the American Enterprise Institute, he worked for Douglas Feith in the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group. Wurmser transferred to work for John Bolton at the State Department. [1] On leaving government, he created a consultancy, Delphi Global Analysis Group, to do risk assessment for financial institutions.

Current positions

In an interview, he suggested a term for what he thinks Iran is becoming: "a theo-fascist state...There is still theological overlay but it's a different group of theologians," citing Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi as one of the religious leaders who stand to gain if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has obtained greater power over the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council. [2]

At a recent retrospective, at the Brookings Institution, he spoke of frustration with Condoleeza Rice, whose "realist" ideology clashed with neoconservatism. “My greatest frustration is with Condi Rice...I thought she would get it, that ultimately her approach would melt down. But it didn’t.” He saw the new wisdom coming from outside Washington: “I can see neocons reaching out to governors and seeing them as the future hard-line leaders,” such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and just-resigned Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Speaking of Palin, he said “She is very smart,” though he admits she needs “to acquire more foreign policy understanding.”[3]

He has expressed concern that while Russia may speak against Iranian nuclear programs, it may not put real pressure on Iran. [4]

Department of Defense

Along with F. Michael Maloof, he was one of the two founding staff of the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group created by Douglas Feith. This unit focused on finding terrorist linkages ignored by the United States intelligence community. Its highest priority was finding a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

Policy for Israel

Wurmser and his wife, Meyrav Wurmser, participated in a strategy document for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm."[5] It recommended Israel "work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back" regional threats, help overthrow Saddam Hussein, and strike "Syrian military targets in Lebanon" and possibly in Syria proper. Coauthors of the report included Richard Perle and Douglas Feith.


He wrote a number of articles and letters, in the late 1990s, calling for revolution in Iraq, possibly with external support. Key to such a revolution was Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.

In 1997, he wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal called "Iraq Needs a Revolution", in which he cited the US failure in supporting coups, in 1991 and 1995, because the US depended on the Iraqi military. He said the 1995 coup attempted by the INC failed due to US assumptions that the combination of widespread unrest, and Shi'ite or Kurdish separatism, would redirect the potential military coup plotters to support Saddam, to avoid humiliation of the military.[6]. He was among the signers of the Project for the New American Century letter calling for Saddam's overthrow, for which the INC was again considered a key element.[7]

At AEI on 1999, he expanded on the "Clean Break" at book length. Starting from the premise that the Gulf War and sanctions had failed, he again mentioned the problem of relying on the Iraqi military: "U.S. policy toward Iraq consistently fails because it favors the covert pursuit of a coup rather than overt support for an insurgency". [8]. Wurmser writes that pan-Arab nationalism and Ba'athism is incompatible with Western interests.[9] He cited a March 19, 1998, letter from King Hussein of Jordan and Ahmed Chalabi to Bill Clinton, proposing "to rid Iraq of Saddam and to do so with an insurgency crafted around the INC, rather than with a coup or with Ba'athist support." It was rejected.[10]


In 2000, Wurmser worked on a strategy document published by Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum and Ziad Abdelnour's U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon that advocated a wider U.S. role in Lebanon, by forcing Syria to get out of Lebanon and to destroy alleged weapons of mass destruction. [11] It called for confrontation rather than engagement. Signers included Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Michael Rubin, Paula Dobriansky, Richard Perle, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Michael Ledeen, and Frank Gaffney, Jr..


Before working for Cheney and Feith, he was a Special Adviser to the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security at the U.S. Department of State (2001-2003), and a project officer at the U.S. Institute for Peace from 1988 to 1994.

Personal and educational

He is married to Meyrav Wurmser, the director of Middle East studies at the Hudson Institute. His bachelors', masters' and doctorate degrees are from Johns Hopkins University.


  1. Isakoff, Michael & David Corn (2006), Hubris: the Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, Crown, ISBN 0307346811, pp. 111-112
  2. Jon Ward (June 17, 2009), "For some Obama critics, it's a matter of intensity", Washington Times
  3. Nathan Guttman (December 24, 2008), "No Longer in Power, Free To Talk, Neocons Seek To Rewrite History", Jewish Daily Forward
  4. James Rosen (10 April 2009), "Former Bush Aides Warn Obama to Beware of Russia's Pledge in Iran Nuclear Issue", FOXNews.com
  5. Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.", The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
  6. David Wurmser (November 12, 1997), "Iraq Needs a Revolution", Wall Street Journal
  7. Letter from the Project for a New American Century to President Bill Clinton. Dated January 26, 1998. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  8. David Wurmser (1999), Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, American Enterprise Institute, p. 39
  9. Tyranny's Ally, pp. 46-56
  10. Tyranny's Ally, p. 80
  11. Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour, ed. (May 2000), Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role; Report of the Lebanon Study Group, Middle East Forum