Obama heads to Middle East with low expectations
WASHINGTON (AP) - When President Barack Obama steps into the Middle East's political cauldron this coming week, he won't be seeking any grand resolution for the region's vexing problems. His goal will be trying to keep the troubles, from Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon to the bitter discord between Israelis and Palestinians, from boiling over on his watch.
Mr Obama arrives in Jerusalem on Wednesday for his first trip to Israel as president. His first priority will be resetting his oft-troubled relationship with now-weakened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and evaluating the new coalition government Mr Netanyahu laboriously cobbled together.
The President also will look to boost his appeal to a sceptical Israeli public, as well as to frustrated Palestinians.
"This is not about accomplishing anything now. This is what I call a down payment trip," said Mr Aaron David Miller, an adviser on Mid-East peace to six secretaries of state who is now at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre.