Obama’s Choices: Ignore Strife in Egypt? Push for Israeli-Palestinian peace?

At CBSnews.com Dan Raviv — one of the authors of Spies Against Armageddon and host of the CBS News Weekend Roundup on national radio — considers Middle East options for President Obama.  Here is an excerpt:

Confronted with this set of new facts — and a host of older facts, such as Iran’s nuclear program, which Mr. Obama has warned must not produce nuclear weapons — the American president could choose to be highly active, or to stand back for a while and let the Middle East simmer.

 The problem is that the Mideast, left practically unwatched to simmer, tends to boil over.

 So far, because the United States is so pleased that Morsi mediated successfully between Israel and Hamas, Washington is giving Morsi a fairly easy time. In the first Obama Administration comment on the apparent power grab in Cairo, the State Department meekly said that it raises “concerns” because “the revolution” was supposed to mean that no one man will ever again wield too much authority in Egypt.

 But, beyond that, the U.S. only urged that everyone keep calm — and perhaps move toward writing a constitution that would protect the civil rights of Egyptians.

 President Obama may decide to be more ambitious in the Middle East, but at the least he will probably wait until after the Israeli election on January 22 before launching any major initiative. He had a special envoy for peace in the Middle East for a few years, former Sen. George Mitchell, but Mitchell quit after finding that he could not make much headway in keeping Israelis and Palestinians at the negotiating table.

 In the Gaza talks, however, Mr. Obama demonstrated the unique role of the U.S. by sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to push the talk forward in Jerusalem, Ramallah (in the West Bank), and Cairo. She was able to preside over the announcement of a cease-fire on Wednesday in the Egyptian capital, where she spoke of a need “to consolidate the progress” and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.

 As well as trying to help Israeli and Palestinians negotiate — defying strong skepticism on all sides — Mr. Obama could pursue a wider goal of creating a pro-peace, pro-stability coalition in the Middle East.

For the rest of the article, see: http://cbsn.ws/V4OymG  or click here.

 

November 23, 2012

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