I’ve never heard of him but apparently he’s already a known quantity in the blogosphere for some of the op-eds he’s published about Israel over the years. He works for the International Crisis Group, a Soros-connected think tank littered with leftist eminences; it was in that capacity, not in any role for the campaign, that he started chatting up jihadists. The Times of London says he’s been sacked but his “advisory” position seems fairly tenuous: He has no formal relationship with them and is merely “one of dozens” of analysts, according to the NYT, who send position papers occasionally to their foreign policy people. Which makes this sound less like a case of someone being “fired” than simply being disinvited from sitting in on more conference calls. The real punchline, in fact? Read a ways down into the ToL piece and you’ll see he has closer ties with the Clintons — the “safe” choice among Democrats this year — than with Barry O.

Even so, I look forward to the next Sullivan-esque apologia from Doug Kmiec explaining why this guy is the “true hawk” among the candidates left in the campaign.

One of Barack Obama’s Middle East policy advisers disclosed today that he had held meetings with the militant Palestinian group Hamas – prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links with him.

Robert Malley told The Times he had regularly been in contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza but is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. Such talks, he stressed, were related to his work for a conflict resolution think tank and had no connection with his position on Mr Obama’s Middle East advisory council.

“I’ve never hidden the fact that in my job with the International Crisis Group I meet all kinds of people,” he added.

But Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr Obama, responded swiftly, saying: “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

Same exit question as in the last post: Is any enterprising reporter going to press the Messiah on where Hezbollah currently stands in his hazy meet-with/don’t-meet-with paradigm?

Update: I wasn’t pushed, I jumped!

Speaking to NBC NEWS, Malley said, “I decided based on the fact that this was coming a distraction that it was best that I remove myself from any association with the campaign.”…

He said this morning he got a call from the London Times, asking about his meetings with Hamas. So he called the campaign and said he thought it best to take himself out of what was a very informal relationship to begin with.