Dennis Ross, who served during the campaign as Obama's top adviser on Middle East affairs, is rumored to be a candidate for several positions, including Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (State's # 3 position), Deputy Secretary of State, Deputy National Security Adviser, or Special Mideast Envoy. Ross has been the subject of sustained attacks from the left, depicting him as too hard-line on Iran and the Palestinians.

The purpose of these attacks in Time Magazine, Inter Press Service (IPS), and Antiwar.com seems to be to dislodge Obama from the Center-Left . See also this one. Here are some typical excerpts:

Time magazine: "A former colleague, Dan Kurtzer … published a think-tank monograph containing anonymous complaints from Arab and American negotiators saying Ross was seen as biased towards Israel and not 'an honest broker'….When Ross left the State department in 2000, he was so critical of Yasser Arafat, that some friends thought he was considering working for George W. Bush…"

Jim Lobe IPS: "Ross was the main drafter of Obama's pander…to AIPAC's annual convention…Check out the op-ed by former Sens. Daniel Coats and Charles Robb in the Washington Post [October 24, 2008], entitled "Stopping a Nuclear Tehran." It is the summary of a report issued last month by an organization called The Bipartisan Policy Center…and it amounts to a roadmap to war with Iran to which a senior Middle East adviser in the Obama campaign — namely, Dennis Ross — has apparently signed on.…He is…eager to gain control over the Iran portfolio…If he succeeds in his quest… then the U.S. could very well find itself at war with Iran within a remarkably short period of time…

Philip Giraldi in Antiwar.com: "What is really scary about a possible Obama administration is Dennis Ross. …Ross has most recently been in the news for his participation on a task force organized by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center…It advocated talking to Tehran to give it a chance to surrender on all key issues before attacking it, urging the next president to build up forces for the assault from day one of the new administration. The task force recommended that U.S. forces should remain in the area after Iran is bombed into submission, vigilant and ready to react to any possible resurgence by the mullahs."

Note about this blog: Today we launch a new blog devoted to monitoring the incoming Obama team and the emerging policy toward the Middle East. I served as the director of AIPAC's relations with the National Security Council and the State Department for 23 years, and worked with these agencies and the Defense Department while at the RAND Corporation before that. Drawing on this background and experience with many of the players, I will sift through reports and rumors of developments and provide background information.