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
  2. Straightforward common sense — 1 comment

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A wise and gentle old man


Dear Friends:

Reproduced below, after my personal comments, is a movie review by the much-admired critic A. O. Scott that appeared in the Sunday New York Times this past week. Featured in the write-up is a man whom I was once privileged to know and call a friend — Avraham (“Abe”) Shalom, a former head of Israel’s internal security agency known as the Shin Bet (or Beth), roughly equivalent to our FBI (as distinct from the better-known Mossad, which … [more]

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2012/11/27/a-wise-and-gentle-old-man/

An embarrassing display of subservience

Dear Friends:

I think we can safely assume that every rabbi in America will instruct his congregation this Saturday along the lines of this artfully-crafted set of talking points (below).  Every delegate to the AIPAC convention next week, and every member of both houses of Congress will undoubtedly receive a copy, as well. Phone calls will clog the switchboards.  The author, Amos Yadlin, has very carefully constructed a set of arguments as skillfully as a lawyer might do in preparing … [more]

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2012/03/01/an-embarrassing-display-of-subservience/

Straightforward common sense

Monsieur d’Nalgar:  Ray Close just forwarded the following letter, with this short introduction:

A friend of mine, a retired U.S. ambassador, sent this excellent letter to President Obama yesterday.

Straightforward common sense.


Dear Mr. President:

Just think for a minute—what would happen if the United States abstained when the Palestinian question comes before the UN Security Council in the next week or two?

The resolution would pass. The world would be stunned. The United States would enter an … [more]

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2011/09/18/straightforward-common-sense/

Direct challenge

US House Committee saves Israeli aid in foreign aid cut

By Ran Dagoni, 21 July 11 12:13

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday cut the Obama administration’s $51 billion 2012 budget request for the State Department and foreign aid by $6.4 billion, but kept unchanged the $3 billion in military aid for Israel.

Commentators say that the committee vote is a direct challenge to President Barack Obama. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is trying to … [more]

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2011/07/26/direct-challenge/

Well, well

From one of the Arab world’s most insightful and eloquent political spokesmen — perhaps his best ever! 

Rami Khouri highlights a (potentiallyvery significant and promising new direction being taken by some influential elements of the Palestinian national movement —  one that all of us have been hoping for a very long time would eventually emerge to establish once and for all the moral and political legitimacy that their cause has frequently been unjustly denied.  

The long-range double … [more]

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2011/06/30/well-well/

Henry, why do you think?

The cynicism of Israeli settlement policy

By Ray Close, Tue 6/7/2011

In case anyone has any doubts about the cynical motivation that has often inspired the Israeli Government’s practice of unofficially encouraging the establishment of settlements in occupied territory as a calculated instrument of territorial expansion:

You’ll be interested in this anecdote, I think.  Coincidentally, four of the six or seven persons present at that small dinner party thirty-seven years ago had Princeton connections:  Prince Saud al Faisal (Hun School [more]

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2011/06/07/henry-why-do-you-think/

Tafasta merubah, lo tafasta!

Dear Friends:

This is an exceptionally constructive and illuminating appraisal of the current state of U.S. policy toward the Israel-Palestine issue, written by Henry Siegman, president of the US/Middle East Project (and presently a nonresident visiting research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Program, SOAS, University of London). 

 It is important to note that Mr. Siegman served on the executive committee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for nearly thirty years — from 1965 to 1994 … [more]

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2011/06/01/tafasta-merubah-lo-tafasta/