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Obama Calls Abbas and Other Middle Eastern Leaders

By Glenn Kessler
President Obama plunged into Middle East diplomacy on his first day on the job, calling the leaders of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority this morning.

"He used this opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term, and to express his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership," spokesman Robert Gibbds said in a statement. "In the aftermath of the Gaza conflict, he emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the ceasefire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming, and facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza."

Obama is set to name former Senate Majority leader George Mitchell (D-Me.) as his Middle East envoy, but the statement did not say whether the president mentioned that decision in his phone conversations. But Gibbs's statement said that Obama "pledged that the United States would do its part to make these efforts successful, working closely with the international community and these partners as they fulfill their responsibilities as well."

Palestinian officials reported that Obama told Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, that he had received the first call from Obama to any foreign leader. Abbas is believed to have been weakened politically by the three-week Israeli incursion into Gaza, and Obama's decision to call him first may have been intended as a boost to his regional authority. A White House spokesman did not respond to an e-mail seeking confirmation of the Palestinian statement.

The office of King Abdullah of Jordan said that the king, in his conversation with Obama, "stressed the importance of early U.S. engagement in serious and effective peace negotiations to achieve a two-state solution as soon as possible."

Mubarak sent Obama a cable on Tuesday saying "This region is looking forward to your handling of the Palestinian cause from the first day of your tenure because it is an urgent priority and the key to all the other difficult crises of the Middle East," the state-run MENA news agency reported. Mubarak also told Obama he hopes "the next phase will witness a new stage of fruitful consultations between us on the various issues of the Middle East."

Posted at 12:55 PM ET on Jan 21, 2009  | Category:  Foggy Bottom
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Comments

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Since pResident Obama "retook" the oath of office, I guess he must at least think it's still in the Constitution.

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2009 8:40 AM

The best part of Obama's presidency. Is no more Dick Cheney. Good to see Lord Cheney being evicted, See a very funny Video of Cheney leaving the WhiteHouse.

Watch Cheney get evicted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrvIAxH4ePc
http://www.pres.tv

Posted by: pastor123 | January 21, 2009 10:36 PM

Wait a minute, are you Obamaniacs actually contending that the 20th Amendment deleted the Constitutional requirement for a President to take an oath of office?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 7:20 PM

All of today's purported Executive Orders will be legally challenged.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 5:51 PM

hiberniantears:

Do you think that all six billion people in the world know Hillary's middle name?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 5:20 PM

Constitutionally, any President-elect, regardless of party affiliation, would become the President automatically at noon, whether they took the oath or not.

He is the President. Get over it. Traitor.

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 5:06 PM

Obamaniacs:

If The One had REFUSED to take any oath yesterday, would you still think he was President?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 5:03 PM

Make that 6.76 billion.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 4:28 PM

Do you think that all six billion people in the world know her middle name?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 4:27 PM

uh huh...

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 4:25 PM

For the record, I also emphasize Hillary DIANE Clinton's middle name. Did you know that one?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 4:21 PM

hiberniantears:

I am not "yelling" anything -- I am typing silently in fact -- the reason I emphasize Obama's middle name is to teach little-known facts. I dare say that SOME people in the world do not yet know his middle name.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 4:17 PM

If you are looking for additional canards to add to your collection, JakeD, I'm afraid I cannot help you. You are my primary source. To offer you a canard is like carrying coals to Newcastle.

Posted by: nodebris | January 21, 2009 4:05 PM

Very well, sir. I submit:

1) It "doesn't matter" if Obama was not born in the United States?!
A) It definitely matters. It matters incredibly. Fortunately, we have seen his birth certificate and it proves that he is and always has been an American from birth.

2) If McCain had won the election, but wasn't a "natural born" citizen, it still wouldn't matter to you?
A) Once again, it certainly would matter. Fortunately, McCain has been an American from birth as well, as proven by his birth certificate.

Which, again, leaves only the question of why you keep yelling Obama's middle name? What, exactly, is the point you are trying to make by emphasizing that his middle name is Hussein?

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 3:53 PM

Thatsnuts:

I don't have "standing" (get a lawyer to explain it to you) to sue on that, but I have contributed to those with standing.

hiberniantears:

No, here were the questions:

1) It "doesn't matter" if Obama was not born in the United States?!

2) If McCain had won the election, but wasn't a "natural born" citizen, it still wouldn't matter to you?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 3:03 PM

JakeD-

Roberts intentionally tripped Obama in a puerile Harvardian vs. Harvardian showdown by using a different preposition than is normally used in the oath. Obama paused, and corrected the language as best he could under the circumstances. The spirit of the oath was still undertaken by Obama, and he is now the president.

You have a habit of consitently tripping over insignificant, and inaccurate minutiae, while you gobble down neocon lies, hook, line, and sinker.

Have you been tested for OCD?

Help should be made more available soon!

Posted by: rooster54 | January 21, 2009 3:01 PM

"I agree that there is not a "Cranky Old Codger Veto" provision in the Constitution, but there is Article III (as well as the provision that sets forth Biden as "Acting President" in the event Obama did not qualify). Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD"

Jake: maybe you have an argument and maybe not. Why not just take it up with the Supreme Court instead of a political blogger?

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 21, 2009 2:57 PM

Which questions are those? Are they these:
Q: What is the President's name?
A: Barack Hussein Obama

Q: Where was the President born?
A: Hawaii, as his birth certificate proves.

Q: Was the oath flubbed?
A: Yes.

Q: What impact did flubbing the oath have?
A: None. Constitutionally, Obama automatically became President of the United States on noon, January 20th 2008.

Looks like the only question left unanswered is why you keep yelling Obama's middle name? What, exactly, is the point you are trying to make by emphasizing that his middle name is Hussein?

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 2:42 PM

My "point" is that you can't answer simple questions. Have a nice life, hiberniantears.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 2:32 PM

If McCain had won the election, he would be President by now. As it happened, Obama, born in this country as evidence shows, won the election, and is now President. Case close.

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 2:30 PM

Just to help you out, everyone is also in agreement that his name is Barack HUSSEIN Obama. It is also BaRaCk HuSsEin ObAmA, BARACK hussein OBAMA, barack hussein obama, and countless other case options. What's your point?

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 2:28 PM

hiberniantears:

It "doesn't matter" if Obama was not born in the United States?! Wow. I'm almost speechless. Here all this time, I thought you guys wanted to follow the Constitution. I guess that was just lip service depending on which party was in office. Let me ask it this way: if McCain had won the election, but wasn't a "natural born" citizen, it still wouldn't matter to you?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 2:24 PM

George Mitchell is a great choice for this role. I've heard him speak live several times and someone always asks a question about the middle east. Mitchell has been insightful, well-informed, and clearly sensitive to the nuances of working in the region.

As far as "why get involved" the answer is that fixing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is a vital part of creating a more stable middle east, which is much to our benefit.

Posted by: SolontheGreat | January 21, 2009 2:21 PM

TheBabeNemo:

We finally agree on something -- it was bound to happen sooner or later -- here's the thing, though, Barack HUSSEIN Obama was not sworn in as President on January 20, 2009. Shouldn't we clear that up first so that WHOMEVER is President can get to work for the American (and Israeli) people?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 2:19 PM

Doesn't matter. 20th Amendment. Proven birth. Case Closed. Also, see Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.

It is sad to see these poor, pathetic dead enders with nowhere to go but these boards now that that have completely lost the reigns of power. When I say completely, I mean total political wilderness. It gives me the warm and fuzzies seeing the tin-foil right wing crowd get so worked up despite their profound level of flacid political impotence.

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 2:18 PM

it has been said repeatedly.

The region, and countries of the region, must "officially recognize Israel".

They won't, they don't - and we will still have conflict.
But I like that Benjamin is back. I like him.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 21, 2009 2:12 PM

Better to follow the Constitution, I always say. The required Presidential oath reads (just in case anyone thinks Obama said it properly): "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 2:09 PM

Which would still leave you with a President Biden, genius.

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 2:07 PM

hiberniantears:

I am not leaving, until the Good Lord calls me home -- if Obama is not a "natural born" citizen, then under the 20th Amendment BIDEN automatically became Acting President at noon on January 20, 2009 -- I will never salute pResident-Evil Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 2:02 PM

Obama should steer clear of Israel-Palestine. It will cost him vast political capital - whichever side he's perceived as favouring - for zero return on investment.

They've rarely been farther away from agreement than they are right now, and with Netanyahu about to be elected, things will only get worse.

Sadly, the smart option is just to let it fester. It's an ugly wound on the planet, but in the great scheme of things, a pretty small one.

The Iraq war has killed at least 100 times as many people in the past five years as Israel-Palestine.

Posted by: kevrobb | January 21, 2009 2:02 PM

The oath thing has happened twice before. No big deal. And in any event under the 20th Amendment of the Constitution Obama automatically became president at noon on January 20th. Get over it, and salute your President. Anything else makes you a traitor, and un-American. If you don't like it, maybe you should just leave.

Posted by: hiberniantears | January 21, 2009 1:59 PM

I can read, and the Constitution DOES explictly contain the words in the Presidential oath. Can you answer my question now?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 1:50 PM

Washington used I, George Washington, many presidents used so help me God without voiding the oath of office. Get real JakeD and move to Wasilla.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 21, 2009 1:48 PM

JakeD can write but can't read. Our constitution does not proscribe the wording of the oath, only taking it. Roberts messed it up also and he is the top judge interpreting our constitutional laws.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 21, 2009 1:37 PM

JakeD should move to Wasilla and find like minded people. I would be happy to give you an area to cede from our union where you and your ilk can exclude people that are not one of us.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 21, 2009 1:32 PM

jameschirico:

Do you think that Obama should at least have to retake the oath explicitly prescribed in the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, which begins by saying the president "shall" take the oath "before he enter on the execution of his office"?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/20/MNAF15E20I.DTL

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 1:29 PM

Abbas has unclenched the fist and received the open helping hand of the president. Israel does not start trucking aid to Gaza keeping the clenched fist, they will suffer consequences. Think Hamas will have Gazan support when all that is brought is suffering, think again. You can work toward building a better life is a choice most people will make than the pain of not. That is Obama's national and international mantra.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 21, 2009 1:22 PM

I agree that there is not a "Cranky Old Codger Veto" provision in the Constitution, but there is Article III (as well as the provision that sets forth Biden as "Acting President" in the event Obama did not qualify). Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 1:22 PM


So Abbas was the first call.
Hmmm...i find that strange.

Surely, Karzai should have been called.

I think folks forget how important President Karzai is. After all, it is Afghanistan, where the Taliban established themselves and grew large enough to mess with us on 9-11-2001.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 21, 2009 1:19 PM

he IS potus - get over yourself.

Posted by: spqr2k | January 21, 2009 1:19 PM

Alas, JakeD, you are not the agent authorized to determine who is or is not POTUS. The Founders, in their wisdom, did not include a "Cranky Old Codger Veto" provision in the Constitution.

Posted by: nodebris | January 21, 2009 1:16 PM

Obama is not POTUS.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 1:03 PM

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