Thursday, November 8, 2012

Analysis: Post-US election peace push unlikely

Jerusalem Post
November 8, 2012


As domestic issues weight in, the Middle East peace process is not going to be a top priority for the president-elect.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President AbbasPHOTO: JASON REED / REUTERS
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE – On Barack Obama’s second day as president of the United States, he appointed George Mitchell as a special US envoy to the Middle East.

Four years later, regardless of the winner of Tuesday’s vote, there is almost no chance that the peace process will receive the same primacy at the start of the next term. Partly that’s because of the grinding stalemate between the parties, but a much larger factor is the grinding distress of the US economy.

America’s economic trouble was not only the dominant issue of the 2012 election, it pushed foreign policy out of the race almost entirely.

Mitt Romney tried to make political hay of Obama’s tense relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the looming possibility that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons. But the only international issue that really intruded on the campaign in its final, and most impactful weeks, was the terror attack that killed four US diplomats, including a US ambassador, in Libya on the 11th anniversary of September 11.

Even the incident in Libya, though, didn’t open up a debate about America’s approach to the Middle East or combating terrorism, but rather served as a spring board for recriminations and charges of manipulations, misquotes, poor judgment and ultimately a cover-up.

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