Four U.S. presidents have failed on the Middle East. Is Brett McGurk the reason why?




Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

Julia Ioffe does not offer a straightforward conclusion about Brett McGurk, who apparently has served four successive presidents, focusing on Iraq, but prominent in negotiating the Abraham Accords between Israel and some Arab states, which some blame for the October 7 attack because it ignored the Palestinians.[2] But she’s echoing questions, including about his race and gender privilege, that probably almost no one outside the Beltway would ask, so I pretty much have to think she’s dubious.

Usually I’m not into personalities. I want to deal with policy. But Ioffe’s article was the first I’d seen that suggested a link between the Abraham Accords and the October 7 attack.[3] Whatever McGurk actually is, it would seem he’s important.

Julia Ioffe, “Who’s Afraid of Brett McGurk?” Puck, February 6, 2024,


Fig. 2. Photograph by Joachim F. Thurn, August 1991, Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F089030-0003, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE.

Nicolas Camut, “Geert Wilders left stranded as Dutch coalition talks collapse,” Politico, February 6, 2024,

Right-wing militias
Police White supremacist gangs

Fig. 3. Photograph by Lorie Shaull, April 1, 2021, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Dan Atkinson, “Stingrays, Simulators, Surveillance, and Silverados,” HorizonMass, February 6, 2024,

  1. [1]Agence France-Presse and Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2018,
  2. [2]Julia Ioffe, “Who’s Afraid of Brett McGurk?” Puck, February 6, 2024,
  3. [3]Julia Ioffe, “Who’s Afraid of Brett McGurk?” Puck, February 6, 2024,

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