Are Secretary of State Rice’s Sights Set On Iran Instead of Israel-Palestine?

When President Bush took the stage at the United Nations General Assembly two weeks ago, he announced, “I directed Secretary of State Rice to lead a diplomatic effort to engage moderate leaders across the region to help the Palestinians reform their security services and support Israeli and Palestinian leaders in their efforts to come together to resolve their differences.”  Yet the focus for her trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian territories seems to have shifted to building a coalition of moderate leaders that will contain the threat from Iran first, and focus on peace in the region second. 

In a press briefing that immediately preceded Secretary Rice’s departure, a State Department spokesman forecasted, “The trip will talk about the broad range of issues in the Middle East. That – she’s going into this trip with the idea that she’s going to talk about the full agenda of issues that are before leaders in the region, countries in the region, the people in the region. That could range from Israeli-Palestinian issues to Lebanon, to Syria, to Iraq, to Iran. So again, we’ll stay tuned on her agenda in Cairo. But you should look at this trip as an opportunity to discuss a wide array of issues.”

In an Agence France-Presse article, CALME luminary Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor at the University of Maryland, posited, “I don’t think the administration can have Iran and Iraq as priorities and at the same time be effective on the Arab-Israeli peace process. The view at the White House is that that Arab-Israeli effort is needed in part to solidify an anti-Iran coalition.”  The full article, and other analytical views, may be found here.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Iran, Israel, Middle East Peace, Palestinians, U.S. Role

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