Iran envoy out already?

Rick Moran
It doesn't appear to have anything to do with the elections because the decision was apparently made in advance of the vote. But Dennis Ross, the man named to quarterback our "outreach" to Iran, is being replaced.

An announcement is expected in the next couple of days, according to Barak Ravid in Haaretz:

One possibility is Iran's persistent refusal to accept Ross as a U.S. emissary given the diplomat's Jewish background as well as his purported pro-Israel leanings. Ross is known to maintain contacts with numerous senior officials in Israel's defense establishment and the Israeli government.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem surmised that another possibility for Ross' ouster is his just-released book, "Myths, Illusions, and Peace - Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East."

Ross, who co-wrote the book with David Makovsky, a former journalist who is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued against a linkage between the Palestinian issue and the West's policy against Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Ross and Mokovsky also raised the possibility of military action against Iran.

"Tougher policies - either militarily or meaningful containment - will be easier to sell internationally and domestically if we have diplomatically tried to resolve our differences with Iran in a serious and credible fashion," they wrote.

Another possible reason for the reshuffle could be Ross' dissatisfaction with his present standing in the State Department, particularly given the fact that Washington's two other envoys to the region - George Mitchell, who is overseeing the Mideast peace process; and Richard Holbrooke, who is dealing with Pakistan and Afghanistan - wield great influence and are featured prominently.

Ed Lasky agrees with that last reason:

Holbrooke and Mitchell report directly to the President, sidelining the State Department; the role of the US Ambassador to the UN was raised to Cabinet rank, sidelining the State Department; the President's personal speech-making diplomacy sidelines the State Department; a re-set button being pushed?

It could very well be a combination of factors, including Ross's dissatisfaction with his lack of access to the president - a complaint heard many a time over the years from ego-sensitive bureaucrats.

They will probably downplay this change as just routine staff reassignment but don't you think it a little strange that they would fire a guy who hasn't even gotten a chance to do his job?

Keystone Kops strike again!



It doesn't appear to have anything to do with the elections because the decision was apparently made in advance of the vote. But Dennis Ross, the man named to quarterback our "outreach" to Iran, is being replaced.

An announcement is expected in the next couple of days, according to Barak Ravid in Haaretz:

One possibility is Iran's persistent refusal to accept Ross as a U.S. emissary given the diplomat's Jewish background as well as his purported pro-Israel leanings. Ross is known to maintain contacts with numerous senior officials in Israel's defense establishment and the Israeli government.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem surmised that another possibility for Ross' ouster is his just-released book, "Myths, Illusions, and Peace - Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East."

Ross, who co-wrote the book with David Makovsky, a former journalist who is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued against a linkage between the Palestinian issue and the West's policy against Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Ross and Mokovsky also raised the possibility of military action against Iran.

"Tougher policies - either militarily or meaningful containment - will be easier to sell internationally and domestically if we have diplomatically tried to resolve our differences with Iran in a serious and credible fashion," they wrote.

Another possible reason for the reshuffle could be Ross' dissatisfaction with his present standing in the State Department, particularly given the fact that Washington's two other envoys to the region - George Mitchell, who is overseeing the Mideast peace process; and Richard Holbrooke, who is dealing with Pakistan and Afghanistan - wield great influence and are featured prominently.

Ed Lasky agrees with that last reason:

Holbrooke and Mitchell report directly to the President, sidelining the State Department; the role of the US Ambassador to the UN was raised to Cabinet rank, sidelining the State Department; the President's personal speech-making diplomacy sidelines the State Department; a re-set button being pushed?

It could very well be a combination of factors, including Ross's dissatisfaction with his lack of access to the president - a complaint heard many a time over the years from ego-sensitive bureaucrats.

They will probably downplay this change as just routine staff reassignment but don't you think it a little strange that they would fire a guy who hasn't even gotten a chance to do his job?

Keystone Kops strike again!