Obama faces second-term Middle East challenges
bbc / Jeremy Bowen
07-Nov-2012 (one comment)

On 22 January 2009, 48 hours after he was sworn in for his first term as president, Barack Obama laid out his goals in the Middle East. Top of the list was to seek peace "actively and aggressively" between Israel and the Palestinians. In his second term, President Obama is likely to authorise more support for the Syrian rebels, short of direct US military intervention.

An even bigger decision awaits on Iran.

Darius Kadivar

Jeremy Bowen's Take

by Darius Kadivar on

If Iran rebuffed an offer that President Obama considered fair, and if he felt Iran was going to go nuclear, there is every chance that he would order an attack.

The two-track policy, of accompanying negotiations with a military threat, has always had the threat of war as a endgame.

Behind every decision that crosses the president's desk will be the knowledge that, despite its huge military power, America's political leverage in the Middle East is in decline.


A peaceful settlement of the Iran crisis will not give the Obama White House much chance to draw breath in the Middle East. 

Compliant, reliable, authoritarian allies have been deposed. And a new generation that sees America as an adversary, not a friend, is being empowered.