Obama goal: End Iraq war, win Mideast peace
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — Firmly and finally ending the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, President Barack Obama will have but a moment before trying to hasten peace nearby between Israelis and Palestinians. Left unclear is whether winding down the war that inflamed Arab passions will do anything to help long-shot Mideast talks.
From the Oval Office, a setting designed to command gravity and attention, Obama will declare Tuesday night that Iraqis are now the ones in charge of a war he had opposed. Within hours on Wednesday, he will be immersed in talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, underscoring the hopeful but precarious U.S. role as a middleman.
The White House is framing the two events as commitments kept by the president.
But there is little excitement buzz and certainly no bold promises that capping the combat mission in Iraq will prod broader peace in the Middle East.
Tuesday night, Obama’s emphasis will be to thank the troops and explain why the fight goes on in Afghanistan and beyond — and not so much about the potential for Iraq to be “a beacon of liberty in the Middle East” as President George W. Bush put it.