Analysis by Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (IPS) - Less than a week from mid-term elections that are expected to bring at least one house of Congress under Democratic control, neo-conservatives, whose foreign policy ideas dominated most of the first half of the administration of U.S. George W. Bush, are having a hard time.
Not only do they stand to lose a number of steadfast supporters in both the House and Senate, particularly the one senator, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, whose constant warnings against "Islamofascism" popularised one of their favourite expressions.
But a clear Democratic victory will also almost certainly increase pressure on the administration to set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and make it more difficult to rally support for military action against Iran -- a top neo-conservative priority -- in the two years left to Bush's presidency.
"A Democratic Congress will make it much harder for the hawks [on Iran]," noted Kenneth Pollack, a former senior Middle East analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) now with the Brookings Institution.
Moreover, the war in Iraq, for which the neo-conservatives were the loudest and most effective champions, has proven such an albatross for Republican candidates this year that, even if the party manages to hold on to the Senate, support among its rank-and-file there for maintaining an open-ended commitment in Iraq or for a new adventure in Iran is likely to be very weak.
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