Israel's Ehud Barak hoping to extend political career
JERUSALEM (AP) - He's been Israel's prime minister, military chief, the country's most decorated soldier and, for the past five years, its defence minister and moderate face to the West.
Now Mr Ehud Barak's long and distinguished career might be coming to an end. He is unpopular with the public, and polls predict his Independence Party will barely make it into parliament in the Jan. 22 election, if at all.
Most commentators predict his days in politics are numbered, but others say it may be too early to count the wily general out. "Barak is all alone now. He just has too many enemies," said political analyst Mr Hanan Kristal. "So why is he running? Is that how he wants to end his career? The only explanation is that he is a fighter, and a fighter doesn't give up."
Ahead of elections, Mr Barak, 70, is trying to carve out his electoral place in the cenre, by staking out more dovish positions on Iran and separating religion and state. His party is hoping that his experience will be his salvation at a time when the region is churning with popular dissent, civil war and, perhaps, war with Iran.