Israel Resource Review 20th November, 2008


Obama Distances Himself From Malley
David Bedein

The Obama transition team is working to distance itself from a controversial negotiator who has been negotiating with Israel's enemies.

Robert Malley, Middle East director of the International Crisis Group, a think tank that has traditionally been critical of Israel, has been holding discussions with the leaders of Syria, Egypt and Hamas.

Recent reports from the Israeli media, reflected in a recent Bulletin report, had indicated President-elect Barack Obama had sent Mr. Malley to the Middle East on his behalf. This was despite his having quit as an "informal adviser" to the campaign in May after his ties with Hamas became public and a political liability for the Obama campaign.

Mr. Malley had, according to the reports, presented himself as a liaison for President-elect Obama.

The Obama transition team wrote to me, in an official letter, that Mr. Malley does not work for the president-elect.

================================================================= This is the article that I wrote about the Obama/Malley connection:


In First Mideast Policy Initiative, Obama Sends Adviser To Egypt, Syria

By David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent, THE PHILADELPHIA BULLETIN

Jerusalem - The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Presidential-elect Barack Obama has dispatched his senior foreign policy adviser Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline the Democrat's policy on the Middle East.

Mr. Malley, who served in the Clinton administration, relayed a pledge from Mr. Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo as well as reconcile differences with Damascus.

"The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests," an aide to Mr. Malley said.

The aide said Obama plans to launch a U.S. diplomatic initiative toward Syria, regarded by the Bush administration as a leading supporter of the al-Qaida insurgency in Iraq. Mr. Obama, unlike President George W. Bush, has also 
supported Israeli peace negotiations with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr. Malley, his aides said, met both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and with Mr. Assad to explain Mr. Obama's agenda for the Middle East.

These aides said that Mr. Obama told Mr. Mubarak that the United States would maintain military and civilian aid and sell advanced F-16 aircraft to Cairo. Egypt has not ordered F-16s in nearly a decade.

Mr. Malley, in his capacity as a senior advisor to President Clinton at the failed Camp David talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, incurred the wrath of many Israeli officials when he laid some of the blame for the failure of the Camp David talks on Israel.

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