Monday, January 7, 2008

And He's Off

"Ah'm headin' over tuh that there middle east to make a bigger mess. It'll be the next preznet's problem, heh heh heh."

REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Bush is about to embark on his first major trip to the long-troubled Middle East region. The man's been president for 7 years and been engaged in a regional war for six. And yet, this is his first major trip to the area. Just how serious is aWol about peace in the Middle East?

Bush is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, plus Arab allies Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. He said he will encourage Israelis and Palestinians to make "tough decisions on complex questions" so an elusive peace deal could be reached.

"I am optimistic about the prospects," Bush said.

His advisers, however, have all but ruled out a three-way meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the trip, dampening any thoughts that the president's personal diplomacy would yield a concrete peace accord at this time.