I have no idea why Dennis Ross, to the surprise of many, has announced he will leave his White House position next month, as the NYT reported. Some questions this raises:
- Why did Ross make the announcement at a gathering of Jewish leaders? Is it linked to the recent comments by Obama and Sarkozy about Netanyahu? Ross was often said to be, among other things, a key liaison to the lobby writ large — in a sense, their man inside the White House of a president that Zionists never fully trusted.
- As a corollary: does this mean that major Jewish organizations are likely to dump Obama for re-election? This is what Elliott Abrams suggests (perhaps wishful thinking on his part, and not representative in any case of the wider average Jewish-American electorate which remains pretty Democratic and mostly concerned about other issues than Israel — even if the major Jewish organizations have significant fundraising clout).
- Is it linked to Obama's Iran policy, including his reluctance to beat the war drums? Ross was supposed to be the key pointman on Iran — was he pushed out of that role or frustrated because he could not get his way?
- Is it simply that with the peace process going nowhere (Ross having made sure of that), he is no longer needed or no longer feels useful?
- Is it that, ahead of the presidential election, the Obama administration will not engage in any major new initiatives, and thus Ross feels like he would be twiddling his thumbs waiting for an uncertain second term?
- Or maybe it's just the promise to his wife — but if so, how come we didn't know earlier than he would leave in December 2011?
Whatever the reason, good riddance.