Ross to White House: it’s official

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

As this blog reported last week, longtime U.S. Middle East peace negotiator and pro-Israel think tanker Dennis Ross is going over to the White House; as numerous blogs have reported, it’s something of a promotion for Ross, who had a nebulous role at the State Department as a special envoy to something or other.

Here’s what the NSC spokesman had to say:

“National Security Adviser General James Jones is pleased to announce an addition to our already strong National Security Staff. The addition is in the important Central Region that encompasses the Middle East, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia. Gen. Jones is in the midst of a several day trip to this important region.

“Dennis Ross will become Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region with overall responsibility for the region.  He will work with Don Camp, Senior Director for South Asia, Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser and Coordinator for Afghanistan-Pakistan, Dan Shapiro, Senior Director for Near East and North Africa, and Puneet Talwar, Senior Director for the Gulf States, Iran and Iraq.”

What, exactly, does that mean? How directly will Ross involve himself in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, now officially the job of former Sen. George Mitchell, who’s been piling up the frequent flier points going to the region?  What role will Ross play in the nation’s changing Iran policy?

You want answers? Go to a seer.  Right now seasoned Ross watchers are more intrigued than informed; only time will tell.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.