President-Elect Barack Obama introduces National Security Team

So we all heard the Chicago introduction of Obama’s National Security Team. So what does it mean for peace in the Middle East, the kernel of any transformation of American foreign policy around the world.

The Council for the National Interest Foundation sent out this email message this morning concerning the prospects that Obama can achieve peace in the Middle East, an issue that could form the basis for his wider success in ending the war on terrorism, the Iraq war, and the fighting in Afganistan. It is widely known that Al Qaeda used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and America’s long held Israel bias, including the funding of Israeli colonization of Palestinian property in the territories, as a motivation for their anti-Americanism and terrorist activities, like 9/11.

“There is much to do – from preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea, to seeking a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, to strengthening international institutions”.-Barack Obama during a Press Conference unveiling his National Security Team.

With the selection of Obama’s National Security Team made public today the group of veteran experts, headed by Senator Hillary Clinton, will be faced with a multitude of issues regarding the Middle East. The political landscape in the region is in limbo as elections in Israel, Lebanon, and possibly Palestine loom.

Amidst the end of a political whirlwind in the US, a group of Americans set out to Israel and her neighbors whose elections could provide a great challenge for the team.

Two days after the election, CHIF sent a delegation of 15 individuals to Beirut, Lebanon.  They represented the 15th “Political Pilgrimage” CNIF has sponsored to the Middle East. The delegation was led by former Ambassador Edward Peck and was joined by CNIF President Eugene Bird. They are traveling by road from Beirut to Cairo, meeting with government leaders, opposition parties, non-governmental organizations and journalists along the way. The purpose of the delegation is to  learn the reaction of the Arab world to the Obama administration to come.

What do the peoples of the Middle East want from the Obama in his first 100 days in office. Former Ambassador Peck’s findings thus far,

“The United States will face three important elections in the Middle East in the first 6-months of the Obama administration”, said Edward Peck, former chief of mission in Baghdad and US Ambassador to Mauritania

“The important election in Israel may determine the fate of the peace process in Palestine and Israel. Elections scheduled in Lebanon later in the spring, and a possible Palestinian election later in the year, is of great importance to US-relations with the Middle East and the War on Terror”.

In traveling from Beirut to Cairo the group asked some 25 leaders they interviewed; “What do you expect the first 100 days of the Obama Administration with regard to the problem of Israel and her neighbors?, and “What can you do as a leader in your county to support President-Elect Obama and his administration in their efforts to bring a final peace to the Middle East?

The full results of the trip have not yet been reported.

However, unless a contiguous, independent and sovereign Palestine arises from the ashes of Israeli colonialism, there will be no peace in the Middle East. It would appear that George Bush, although late on arriving on the peace scene, meant what he said when he kicked the Middle East football to the new Obama administration.

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