THE PLANK MAY 12, 2009
The White House puts out a schedule for Obama's coming talks with various Middle East leaders:
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel will visit on May 18, President Mubarak of
Egypt will visit on May 26, and
President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority will visit on May 28.
It seems noteworthy that Mubarak is included in that grouping, especially in light of Obama's decision to make his big speech to the Arab world next month in Cairo. The White House, it seems, is eager to once again make Egypt a key player in its Middle East strategy. Speaking of Obama's speech, the NYT's Michael Slackman has a good primer on the promise and peril the Cairo location holds for Obama:
If he presses Cairo on freedom issues, he risks alienating a government
he needs for strategic reasons. He could also incite anger among
average Egyptians who almost instinctively recoil at outsiders’ telling
them what to do. And yet, if he does not raise the issues, he could be
taken to task for conveniently overlooking a serious point.