Obama to Tag Mitchell As Middle East Envoy

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell is expected to be named as Obama's Middle East envoy.

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By Andrew Burt, Washington Whispers

President Barack Obama is likely to name former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell envoy to the Middle East. The appointment could come this week. Mitchell, known for his work in the peacemaking efforts in Northern Ireland and help in the Major League Baseball steroids scandal, suggested in the 2001 Mitchell Report that Israel halt the expansion of settlements in exchange for nonviolence and the dismantling of terrorist networks from the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accepted Mitchell's recommendations, but they were turned down by Yasser Arafat.

How will Mitchell impact Obama's policy for the Middle East? One need only look at the Mitchell Report, says Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. "I think that's really important when it comes to what Obama and Mitchell and [incoming Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton will try to do now."

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