Ray Close

Ray Close is from a long line of Middle East experts. From the outset of the Iraq campaign, he fearlessly organized fellow colleagues from the CIA to speak out against the misuse of intelligence. He has been a relentless campaigner to return professionalism to our intelligence community and to rebuild the firewall separating it from politics. Here is a short bio:

Ray Close comes from a family with deep roots in the Middle East. He and many of his immediate relatives have been teachers, diplomats or businessmen in the Arab Middle East for four generations, since his maternal great-grandfather arrived in 1853 and began establishing schools in southern Lebanon. His father, Harold Close, was a professor and later Dean of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Beirut from 1910 until 1955. His mother's brother, Colonel William Eddy, served as the interpreter between President Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud at their historic meeting aboard a US Navy cruiser in the Suez Canal immediately following the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

After graduating from Princeton University in 1951, Ray served for 26 years as a Middle East specialist with the Operations Directorate of the CIA. During his career, he served under cover as a political officer at American Embassies in Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. For seven years before his retirement in 1977, he was the CIA's senior representative in Saudi Arabia.

Source: http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/2004/05/more-dubious-def-dept-allegations.htm

Most commented posts

  1. An embarrassing display of subservience — 1 comment
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Author's posts

May 20 2011

Revelant history

Dear Friends:

A propos President Obama’s Middle East policy speech yesterday,  and the vigorous reaction that it provoked from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, I have recalled an Op-Ed of mine that was published in the International Herald Tribune in November 2002, a few months before the Iraq invasion.  I believe it retains striking relevance in today’s situation.  It reveals, among other things, how short Washington’s institutional memory can be, especially when it comes to presidential commitments regarding the Palestine-Israel issue.  … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2011/05/20/revelant-history/

May 07 2011

Been there, done that

Good advice.

Been there; done that (1957).  Seemed like a good idea at the time, according to Eisenhower and two good old Presbyterian Princetonians named Dulles. Bad idea, however.  We don’t do intervention very well. Result: more harm than good!  Still paying the price!

Ray

Leave Syria to the Syrians

By Charles Glass, May 02, 2011

This is not a good time to be running the Middle East desk at the State Department. If you happen to be him or her, take my advice: Do nothing. Especially in Syria. … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2011/05/07/been-there-done-that/

Apr 17 2011

Paradigm shift in Palestine-Israel situation?

 

Note: John Whitbeck is a Harvard-educated American lawyer, now resident in Paris, whose international practice has focused primarily on the Middle East.

– Ray Close

Finally, some hope for a game-changing turn of events in the Palestine-Israel situation

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

Today’s ARAB NEWS editorial, transmitted below, notes, with justified optimism, the recent strong endorsements by the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund of Palestine’s readiness for sovereign statehood, which are themselves indicative … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2011/04/17/paradigm-shift-in-palestine-israel-situation/

Feb 01 2011

Hizbullah’s man

From: Oliver Miles
Sent: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 9:07 pm
Subject: Lebanon

MEC Analytical Group
1 February 2010
Lebanon 

The Lebanese president has appointed Najib Miqati, former prime minister and billionaire, as Prime Minister after he received 68 votes in support in the Lebanese parliament including those of the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and his party, against 60 for Saad Hariri. Like all Lebanese Prime Ministers, under the conventions of the National Pact, Miqati is Sunni, but Sunnis in Tripoli … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2011/02/01/hizbullahs-man/

Oct 30 2010

Dismal

Dear Friends:

Below is the full text of an excellent (make that superior) speech delivered last week in Washington by Kathleen Christison to the annual meeting of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) on the subject of current U.S. policy toward the Israel-Palestine problem.

Most of you will recall that Kathy is a retired senior Middle East analyst at the CIA, who writes and speaks often, and very effectively, on this issue.  The speech below is blunt and … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/10/30/dismal/

Oct 29 2010

No solution

“There can be no elegant solution to a poorly defined problem.”

Dear Friends:

This past summer I was privileged to participate in a very small retreat with four friends who came from totally different professional backgrounds and walks of life — one a Christian minister who is president of a small liberal arts college, one the athletic director of a major Division I university, and two highly successful business executives from entirely different sectors of the corporate world.  As … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/10/29/no-solution/

Oct 13 2010

Sowing evil

People who cultivate the land and produce food for their fellow men share a special bond with all other “sons of the soil” who practice the same life’s work.  In all cultures and traditions, the farmer enjoys is a unique place in society, accorded a particular kind of dignity and considered worthy of a special degree of respect.  By the same token, any farmer who would steal the fruit of his neighbor’s fields, or, worse still, who would ruin or … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/10/13/sowing-evil/