UPDATE: Washington Institute Reports Bigger Role for Ross

The matchless Nelson Report has updated the news about the prospective appointment of Dennis Ross as Special Envoy for Iran, and the update is even more concerning than the original report. Chris Nelson apparently got hold of an internal memo from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in which its director, Robert Satloff, outlines Ross’ much-expanded job description. It reads as if Ross will be a sort of Middle East “czar”. Here it is, as quoted in the Report:

To: Members of the Board of Trustees
From: Chairman Fred Lafer, President Howard Berkowitz, and Executive
Director Robert Satloff
Re: Ambassador Dennis Ross to Join Obama Administration

We are delighted to share the news that Ambassador Dennis Ross, counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute, has accepted an invitation to join the Obama administration as ambassador-at-large and senior advisor to Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton.

In that seventh-floor job, designed especially for him, Ambassador Ross
will be the secretary’s top advisor on a wide range of Middle East issues,
from the Arab-Israeli peace process to Iran. Ambassador Ross will not
reprise his previous role as special Arab-Israeli peace envoy, a post that
will be held by someone else; rather he will be working closely with both
the special envoy and the secretary. Ambassador Ross is expected to take
his post immediately after inauguration.

We know you share our pride in Ambassador Ross’s achievements, which
reflect not only his outstanding contribution to U.S. foreign policy, but
also the Institute’s unique role in supporting those who can advance peace
and security in the Middle East.

Needless to say, if the memo is genuine (and I have no doubt that it is) and accurate, Ross’ appointment marks a major setback for those who had hoped that Obama might bring some fresh thinking to Middle East policy, particularly vis-a-vis Iran and Israel-Palestine.

P.S. Haass has vigorously denied that he has been offered the Israel-Palestinian portfolio, although I’ve heard the denials are not entirely persuasive. If Haass indeed does not get it, then Dan Kurtzer, who served as a close adviser to Obama during the campaign, would be considered the most likely choice at this point, although Martin Indyk would, I imagine, be far more compatible with Ross. Indeed, neither Kurtzer nor Haass may find the job particularly inviting if they have to report through Ross to Clinton and the White House.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. Appointing extremely anti-Iran Dennis Ross as ‘Special Envoy to Iran’ is like appointing a pedophile as kindergarten teacher.

  2. Haas? Dennis Ross? Very scary indeed! The Zionist takeover is complete! These are just the final nails in the coffin that is the United States. The U.S. is already on its deathbed, and all Obama can do is preside over its funeral. Most likely, there’s 1 year left, 2 at the most.

  3. Another in your face move for those who early on supported Obama because they wanted to believe he would be different, i.e. not a tool of the Zionists AKA neocons. Neocons, of course, is a much safer word, more removed so as to deflect accusations of anti-semitism. Very disheartening but the way it is. Watching my Senator Cardin on the Senate floor defending the murdering of Palestinians and joined by other shouts of amen tells the story of our foreign policy. You know, when you think back to the murder of our sailors on the Liberty and how that was covered up, you realize that nothing under present conditions will make our political class place national interest above that of Israel’s interests. The grand prize to anyone who figures out how to recapture our foreign policy.

  4. Obama’s approach to the Middle East problems is approaching the bizarre. It was the hope of a huge number of his supporters, (enough to make him a winner), that he would free the United States from its slavish support of anything and everything Israel wants to do. Obviously, we were all hoodwinked by this apparently smoothtalking con artist. From Clinton to Ross, he has appointed Neo-Cons as his point persons in this troubled area. What he evidently fails to realize is that Israel is a failed state…a state, even after they’ve put in power a Quisling like Mamoud Abbas, do not know how to avoid a policy that is a running sore of murder, mayhem, war criminality, and genocide towards the Palestenians. Amazing. Like abused children, the Israelis seem to have no mentors except their abusers, the Nazis, whose memory they obviously worship . What a travesty! Like the Evangelicals and most of the Southern Baptists, who are accessories to muder before the fact in the Rape of Iraq, Obama has taken the twenty pieces of silver from AIPAC and has betrayed his trust.

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