After Diplomacy Dash - Is Kerry on Kissinger terms with the Middle East?

Published April 9th, 2013 - 16:50 GMT

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John Kerry Henry Kissinger
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Image 1 of 8: It’s too early to label John Kerry the softy at State (besides, he’s hardly spent a day in Washington) but he could be quietly cajoling Middle Eastern leaders towards a peace summit. Either that or he’s got a serious thing for Middle Eastern dinners.

John Kerry Mahmoud Abbas
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Image 1 of 8: Shuttling between capitals like Kissinger in his prime, in early April John Kerry hopped from Istanbul-Ramallah-Jerusalem in less than 24 hours. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas caught the bug too, slipping to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah the same night. Unfortunately all parties suffered a bout of shyness about the details of the meetings.

Benyamin Netanyahu Recep Tayyip Erdogan
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Image 1 of 8: As if the silver fox didn’t have enough on, his boss’ success in brokering an Israeli apology to the Turks has given Kerry another relationship to mediate. Whilst sticking to stealth diplomacy on the Middle East peace process, Kerry pushed publicly for a full normalisation of ties between the two.

John Kerry Iran
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Image 1 of 8: The new US Secretary of State is already showing the strain of negotiating with the pesky Persians. “Diplomacy is a painful task”, he uttered after the latest round of P5+1 nuclear talks ended with a curt “Call me maybe” from the Iranians. His hint at a deadline for a peaceful settlement will placate the Israeli hawks for now.

John Kerry Benyamin Netanyahu
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Image 1 of 8: Obama may have declared the States’ never-ending love for Israel but it’s JK who’s been putting in the groundwork with Bibi, making time for four meetings in three weeks. That’s definitely more than he’s seen his missus!

John Kerry Noor Maliki
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Image 1 of 8: Whilst refusing to back the armed rebel opposition on the ground in Syria, the US publicly chastised Iraq for facilitating weapons deliveries to the embattled Assad regime. Kerry’s statement during the surprise trip to Baghdad was as cross as we’ve seen him so far.

Henry Kissinger Camp David
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Image 1 of 8: By the time Kissinger’s work here was done, he could take a lot of the credit for peace between Egypt and Israel. His Middle East capital-hopping combined with time spent at the US country retreat seemed to be just the ticket, setting the tone for endless 3rd party-mediated possibilities between Arab and Israeli factions.

Henry Kissinger Yom Kippur
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Image 1 of 8: Kissinger became synonymous with the phrase “shuttle diplomacy” after his efforts during the Yom Kippur war, where he would dart between feuding sides in the search for peace. With Kerry’s latest traipse around the Mideast, it appears that the White House has deployed a tried and tested technique that relies on air-travel and face-meetings.

April 8, 2013 saw the Kissinger Cables break into the wiki-sphere, causing little commotion. Thanks to the intelligence-leaker’s latest filing job (an archiving of already public files) of the notorious shuttle diplomat’s arguably dubious dealings, the US foreign policy power-broker who flourished through his behind the scenes ground-work was thrust into a limelight he might be less than comfortable rehabilitating.

The smooth operator Henry Kissinger, whose contributions to Middle East peace were never overt, might wonder if it was all for nothing, as another secretary of state - who shares - more than an initial - a penchant for travel in the region -  is resorting to similar covert intermediary work to pave the way to the that old-school peace summit.

John Kerry is now attempting the tall order after over four years of all-quiet-on-the-peace-front since Bush Junior’s Annapolis Plan – of reigniting friendly talks between Israel and the Palestinians. His job? To lure both sides to the elusive negotiating table, with the understanding that there will be compromises and sacrifices. Kerry has been wasting no time sussing out both sides and meeting with Israeli and Palestinian key figures as well as other regional players who have a stake in peace.

So far, so coy on the details. But there have been definite inroads made, and if ‘quiet’ might see Kerry pull off his own Camp-David, then we wait with baited breath. For now, the U.S.’s loose peace canon has scuttled off to London for some more diplomacy.


Kissinger cables made barely a splash on the saturated intelligence-scape: will Kerry be clamoring to make his legacy worthy of a Kerry-Gate portfolio?

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