Dennis Ross out at the Iran desk?

posted at 12:55 pm on June 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

With Iran undergoing its biggest upheaval in decades, this seems like a bad time for the US to make a roster change in its foreign-policy team for the Islamic Republic.  Ha’aretz reports that the Obama administration will remove Dennis Ross as its senior adviser on Iran just at the time when the administration can least afford the discontinuity.  And according to its sources, the move may send exactly the wrong signal to the mullahcracy — and to the protestors in the streets:

Dennis Ross, who most recently served as a special State Department envoy to Iran, will abruptly be relieved of his duties, sources in Washington told Haaretz. An official announcement is expected in the coming days. …

Washington insiders speculate that a number of reasons moved the administration to reassign Ross. One possibility is Iran’s persistent refusal to accept Ross as a U.S. emissary given the diplomat’s Jewish background as well as his purported pro-Israel leanings. Ross is known to maintain contacts with numerous senior officials in Israel’s defense establishment and the Israeli government.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem surmised that another possibility for Ross’ ouster is his just-released book, “Myths, Illusions, and Peace – Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East.”

Ross, who co-wrote the book with David Makovsky, a former journalist who is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued against a linkage between the Palestinian issue and the West’s policy against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Ross and Mokovsky also raised the possibility of military action against Iran.

“Tougher policies – either militarily or meaningful containment – will be easier to sell internationally and domestically if we have diplomatically tried to resolve our differences with Iran in a serious and credible fashion,” they wrote.

At the moment when a little pressure on the Iranian regime could produce significant change, Barack Obama seems to want to go out of his way to mollify the Iranians.  The fact that Ali Khamenei rejected Ross should make his star shine a little brighter for Iranians in the streets, if they’re inclined to notice it at all.  With the Guardian Council backpedaling from an electoral disaster, we should not be anxious to provide them succor.  Instead, the Obama administration should have shown some resolve.

And are we supposed to believe that the Obama administration was unaware of Ross’ views on Iran before appointing him to the post?  Either they’re incompetent, Ross is dishonest, or they’re retreating.  There is no third option.

What does this change mean?  Obama wants to pursue his policy of engagement with a regime that has already lost the support of the Iranian people.  It’s akin to his weird focus on nuke reductions with Russia.  It’s as if Obama wants to implement the foreign policy he preferred as a college student, only implemented a quarter-century later.  Appeasing the mullahs by tossing Ross aside only makes sense if one believes that the Iranian people are fully behind the regime, and the pictures from the streets of Tehran show how ridiculous that assumption is.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL



JiangxiDad on June 15, 2009 at 1:28 PM

I completely forgot that Ross’s mother is Jewish. Good grief!

Appeasement of Islamic tyrants while they murder Iranian civilians in the street, retreat from alliance with Israel which is threatened by the Iranian tyrants, and now this.

If the soles of Obama’s shoes didn’t wake up the Israeli public, I hope his response to the Iran Crisis does.

Loxodonta on June 15, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Ah, so this is the foreign policy “experience” of Joe Biden that team Obama was talking about during the election.

Patriot811 on June 15, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Washington insiders speculate that a number of reasons moved the administration to reassign Ross.

Duh, he is a J-O-O. Forget he is actually quite tuned-in to both sides {and one of the few people who “serviced” Clintoon who I have even a modicum of respect for} and probably the best person for the job because he annoys the moooolahs.


Branch Rickey on June 15, 2009 at 2:41 PM

“The time has come.” the Walrus said, “to speak of other things.” Unfortunately, our president is wandering around in a mythical world of his own creation, if not through the looking glass, than at least over the rainbow. Lack of experience plus a lack of intelligence soon leads to results that will get even more American youths killed.

georgeofthedesert on June 15, 2009 at 2:49 PM

I would not be surprised if Ross was replaced by a Muslim.

Buy Danish on June 15, 2009 at 2:57 PM

lexhamfox on June 15, 2009 at 1:17 PM
Ever heard of busing in the uneducated. Acorn does it all the time on our dime and I’m sure they can and maybe have educated almajahead.

Bambi on June 15, 2009 at 3:45 PM

The people that did this to their own are the people Obama trusts with a nuke.

Obama is a menace to our security.

elduende on June 15, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Maybe The ONE should replace Dennis Ross with Brian Deese (the 31-year-old law school student with no previous auto industry experience who heads Obama’s Auto Task Force).

There’s nothing like “On the Job Experience”… look how well it’s working for us with this guy we call “our President”.

SayNo2-O on June 15, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Not good. Ross is one of the few people who has been involved with the mid-east conflicts from the ground floor, with the experiance and perspective to be a great asset. Maybe his appointment was a mistake and they wanted someone with less experiance. As has been the case with almost all the other non-sense appointments.

hypno2013 on June 15, 2009 at 5:00 PM

This demonstrates the logic flaw in creating distractions as a diversionary tactic.
While you can account for all the balls that you had in the air normally, when something unexpected happens, they start smashing your toes.
Taking advantage of crises that you already knew about is one level of strategy.
Having contingencies for the unplanned is apparently beyond The Egotist in
It would be helpful to be able to take advantage of Iran’s miscalculations.
Firing Ross at this time shows a lack of timing and organization.

ontherocks on June 15, 2009 at 5:05 PM

If he was going to do this, why give Ross the job in the first place? I knew that Dennis Ross was pretty tough when it came to these issues, so Obama should have.

Terrye on June 15, 2009 at 5:17 PM

I wonder if they tell him that they can not deal with a woman, so Hillary has to go…will Obama go belly up on that demand too?

Terrye on June 15, 2009 at 5:18 PM

Our benevolent closet Muslim-In-Chief has struck again!

byteshredder on June 16, 2009 at 1:35 AM

Dennis Ross met with Arafat a thousand times. He is the classic yak-yak Foggy Bottom denizen. His idea of “tough” is a strongly worded communique. But I guess even that was too tough for Dear Leader. The One is evidently looking for somebody with a more tanned nose.

PD Quig on June 16, 2009 at 10:45 AM