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President turns to West Asia

President Obama is attempting a triple play this week that eluded his predecessors over the past two decades: simultaneous progress on the most vexing and violent problems in the Middle East — Israeli-Palestinian peace, Iraq and Iran.

world Updated: Sep 01, 2010 23:57 IST

President Obama is attempting a triple play this week that eluded his predecessors over the past two decades: simultaneous progress on the most vexing and violent problems in the Middle East — Israeli-Palestinian peace, Iraq and Iran.

White House officials contend that that the president has changed the political climate in all three arenas and has the best shot in years at creating positive and interlocking results.

When President Bill Clinton had tried a similar strategy it fell through.

Before invading Iraq, President George W. Bush argued that toppling Saddam Hussein would create “a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region,” leading Arab countries to support the emergence of a democratic Palestine. Instead, Iraq went up in flames and hopes for peace collapsed.

But now Obama’s advisers believe conditions have never been better for Israeli-Palestinian talks: attacks on Israel are down and the government of Palestine has brought infrastructure, policing and better living to the West Bank.

Peace process starts

President Barack Obama’s attempts to relaunch the Middle East peace process started on Wednesday under the shadow of the killing of four Israeli civilians in West Bank that laid out in stark relief the challenges ahead.