Obama and the Middle East: Reading Election Tea Leaves

In Israel, Barack Obama's victory has raised the question: "Is it good for Israel?" The answer depends on several yet unknown factors.1) Who will win the Israeli elections? As previous American administrations have learned, without Israeli cooperation the peace process cannot move forward. If Kadima wins and Tzippi Livni forms a coalition, Obama's election could be a watershed, as he will have an Israeli government that wants to continue the peace process. On the other hand, if Likud wins and Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Prime Minister, it is hard to see significant forward movement -- and Obama may not want to waste any political energy. Obama's victory might even influence the outcome of the Israeli election in Livni's favor. Israelis may want to avoid serious tension with the United States, their greatest friend and ally, something that would occur with Netanyahu at the helm.2) Who will be the next Palestinian President? The 2009 Palestinian elections will determine the...(Read Full Article)