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Tasting the Dregs

The story that the Arab League will support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN next fall is not really news.  Real news would mean one of two startling developments: that the Arabs failed to give rhetorical and empty support to the Palestinians, or that they offered them real and meaningful help.

Empty rhetorical gestures?  Dog bites man.

But if the news says little about the future of the Palestinians or the policy of the Arab world, it says a lot about the Obama administration’s ability to manage the currents of the Middle East.  It’s hard to think of a time when both Arabs and Israelis had so little respect for the United States.  Obama is seen as a man who cannot deliver.  Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians nor the other Arabs are prepared to cut him any slack.

This isn’t the end — or doesn’t have to be.  The wheel of fortune spins frequently and fast in the Middle East; today’s loser rules the roost tomorrow.  The good news?  At the moment, Saudi, Turkish, Israeli and US interests are reasonably well aligned.  Iran still on the outside, looking in.

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