Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Hint On The Future of Obama "Peace Process" Policy

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By Barry Rubin

George Mitchell, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, has given the first hint about the Obama Administration's future strategy. He said that he will now take six weeks to talk to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find out what they want. One idea he will present is that the two sides carry out indirect talks through the United States--essentially what has been going on for the last two years with no progress.

Note the six weeks' timeline. Presumably, Mitchell will make a report around February 1 which will then be considered and debated in the Obama Administration. This would mean that the administration will take its time and come up with something new around April.

Of course, that's speculation but it seems about the best guess one can make at present.  According to other statements, the U.S. government opposes a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence and will try to discourage (how effectively remains to be seen) other countries from recognizing a Palestinian state. I also doubt, from what I'm finding, that this administration will try an imposed solution in 2011. But we shall see.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

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