The Plank

Dennis Ross To Nsc

It seems that Ha'aretz report wasn't totally off base. Says Time:

Dennis Ross, the Obama Administration's special adviser on Iran,
will be leaving his post at the State Department to become a senior
adviser at the National Security Council with an expanded portfolio,
Administration officials tell TIME.

The new White House position puts him closer to the center of foreign
policy power, placing him in the top ranks of Obama's in-house aides,
said an Administration official. "He is closer to being able to provide
advice to the President," the official said. But Ross' exact duties
remain unclear.

As always with Ross, at least in this administration, his movements are cloaked in obscurity. Time says it's not clear whether he'll retain Iran in his portfolio--but the AP's Matthew Lee describes the move as allowing Ross "to better coordinate inter-agency policy on the Persian Gulf region," which strongly suggests that he'll keep working on Iran issues.

As it happens, a top coordinating role at the NSC is what I was told months ago had been the original plan for Ross--but that he got caught up in a bureaucratic tug-of-war involving Hillary Clinton and the State Department. Indeed, one way of reading this might be as the latest sign that the NSC is where the real foreign policy-making action is these days, not Hillary's State Department.

--Michael Crowley

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