President Barack Obama’s trouble from the violence in Gaza won’t end with the cease-fire that Hamas announced is coming Tuesday.
The rocket fire would end and the Israeli ground operation would be averted — following days of conversations between Obama and the leaders involved that included four calls to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as the rocket fire was exchanged and a decision to dispatch Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for an emergency trip.
But that doesn’t change a larger situation: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving forward on his own. Hamas is emboldened by the changes in Arab leadership and isn’t interested in listening to the Americans. And it’s not clear to what extent Morsi will hold Egypt to the region’s oldest peace treaty or tilt its support to the people firing rockets out of Gaza.
That’s a big problem for a president going into a second term with a complicated Middle East agenda far broader than the stalled Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace deal he supports. He’s staring down an Iranian nuclear threat. The Arab Spring is reverberating in Syria, Libya and beyond. The world’s least stable region is getting less stable, and Obama is stuck in the middle.