Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that President George W. Bush plans to prepare a series of recommendations for his successor on the Middle East.

Mr. Bush has ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to prepare files for his successor on such issues as Arab-Israeli negotiations, a Palestinian state, Iraq, Iran, Libya and other Middle East issues.

“The president’s priority is domestic, and the Middle East is right now about maintaining stability and leaving key issues for the next administration,” a Bush administration official commented.

Ms. Rice has scheduled a Middle East tour immediately after the U.S. presidential elections. Tomorrow, the U.S. Secretary of State will begin a series of visits that will include Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt.

“While in the region, she will meet with her Quartet counterparts and senior government officials to discuss efforts to achieve positive and lasting peace in the region consistent with the Annapolis process and the shared goal of a two-state solution,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

U.S. Security Coordinator James Jones has concluded a report that outlines Israeli security requirements in the formation of a Palestinian state. Mr. Jones is expected to remain in his post under any next administration.

Ms. Rice was expected to visit Gulf Cooperation Council states for the last time under the Bush administration. Officials acknowledged that several GCC states, particularly Saudi Arabia, have reduced contacts with the secretary.

Mr. Bush has also ordered the U.S. intelligence community to brief presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama on Middle East and other major issues. They said Mr. Bush wanted to ensure that the candidates were updated on threats to the United States, particularly concerning al-Qaida.

“What we proposed to the administration is give us the opportunity to tee up intelligence substance to the leading candidates before the conventions,” U.S. National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell said.

“We came up with 13 topics. If you made a list, you’d probably get 11 or 12 of the 13. It’s the normal things you would expect. We made those available to the campaigns.”

Sen. John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser, Max Boot, sees the next president facing a “daunting array of challenges in the broader Middle East.” These range from preventing terror attacks, stemming weapons proliferation, maintaining the free flow of oil and protecting U.S. allies from Afghanistan to Israel.

Mr. Boot made his comments to a conference organized by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Richard Danzig, a senior adviser to Sen. Barack Obama, said any Democratic administration must revise U.S. policy toward Iran. Mr. Danzig, a former secretary of the navy, said the next president must be willing to negotiate a resolution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

“Regarding Iran – a threat to regional stability and an existential concern for Israel – the United States and its allies should pursue a preventive strategy that involves tasty carrots and big sticks,” Mr. Danzig said. “Washington should not rely on a fundamentally risky strategy of deterrence. The Bush administration’s policy of refusing to talk to Tehran has failed, and the regime has continued to produce enriched uranium.”


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.