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Posts Tagged ‘ Dennis Ross Iran ’

  • 10 June 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Events in DC

WaPo’s Glenn Kessler on Dennis Ross

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler (who will also be appearing at NIAC’s upcoming conference on Capitol Hill) was asked to share his views of Amb. Dennis Ross, President Obama’s point person on Iran at the State Department. Kessler is familiar with much of the criticism that Ross faced prior to joining the Administration–much of which came from these pages. Hopefully we’ll be able hear more about Ross and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy next Wednesday on Capitol Hill!


  • 19 March 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy

Iran review preview…

dennis-rossThe Obama administration’s Iran policy review, headed up by Amb. Dennis Ross, is scheduled to be completed by the end of next week.  From media accounts and the Beltway rumor mill, we have been given a glimpse into what might come out of it.

  • 23 February 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Events in DC

State Dept announces Ross appointment



From Politico’s Ben Smith:

The State Department, finally, announced the appointment of Dennis Ross, with the title “Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for The Gulf and Southwest Asia.”  Ross’s portfolio seems, technically at least, to keep him from stepping on George Mitchell’s toes in Israel and Palestine, not that he won’t have his hands full with Iran and its neighbors, broadly defined.

According to State Department spokesman Robert Wood:

The Secretary is pleased to announce the appointment of Dennis B. Ross to the position of Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for The Gulf and Southwest Asia. This is a region in which America is fighting two wars and facing challenges of ongoing conflict, terror, proliferation, access to energy, economic development and strengthening democracy and the rule of law. In this area, we must strive to build support for U.S. goals and policies. To be successful, we will need to be able to integrate our policy development and implementation across a broad range of offices and senior officials in the State Department, and, in his role as Special Advisor to the Secretary, Ambassador Ross will be asked to play that role.

Specifically, as Special Advisor, he will provide to the Secretary and senior State Department officials strategic advice and perspective on the region; offer assessments and also act to ensure effective policy integration throughout the region; coordinate with senior officials in the development and formulation of new policy approaches; and participate, at the request of the Secretary, in inter-agency activities related to the region.

Ambassador Ross brings a wealth of experience not just to issues within the region but also to larger political-military challenges that flow from the area and have an impact outside of the Gulf and Southwest Asia, and the Secretary looks forward to drawing on that experience and diplomatic perspective.

  • 3 February 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf

Breaking: Ross not envoy to Iran

dennis_ross_01301Photo: Scott J. Ferrell / Congressional Quarterly / Getty

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell is reporting that Dennis Ross will not be appointed Obama’s special envoy to Iran, and that he will instead act as a “strategic advisor” on Iran and the Persian Gulf at the State Department.

After months of speculation, it appears that the Obama administration was not comfortable with naming Ross to such a high-profile position handling the Iran portfolio.

Contributing to the eventual decision not to give Ross the envoy job was the swirling controversy over some of his recent publications–notably the Bipartisan Policy Center report–as well as some of the (less than prudent) actions on the part of Ross’s friends and employers.  The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Ross is the Zeigler Distinguished Fellow, released a congratulatory memo that proved a bit premature:

  • 22 January 2009
  • Posted By Sahar Jooshani
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf

A Critical Decision in the Midst of the New Administration

Obama has taken office. His first day was filled with phone calls to the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the president of the Palestinian Authority. It is evident that Obama is making an early effort to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, an effort that was lacking in the administration of George. W. Bush.

Yet, we have seen little confirmation as to who will take on the difficult role of dealing with Iran. The three rumored front-men for the job are Dennis Ross, George Mitchell, and Richard Haas. Though these three men come from politically impressive backgrounds, their areas of expertise are distinctively different.

  • 9 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Persian Gulf

Update: Dennis Ross to serve as MidEast “Ambassador at Large”; or is he?

It seems that Dennis Ross’ role in the Obama administration will not be confined to the Iran portfolio as had earlier been suspectedBloomberg, AP and others are reporting that Ross will be in charge of the entire Middle East, acting as sort of a “regional Secretary of State.”

No word yet on who will focus solely on Iran–it might still be Ross, or it might be current Undersecretary of State Bill Burns, who is staying on under Obama.

More to come as information becomes available.  For additional news on all things transition, check out the wonderful Laura Rozen’s new blog, The Cable, over at Foreign Policy Magazine’s website.

update: Sources are saying that Ross will probably still hold onto the Iran portfolio as part of his larger duties…

update 2: We have it on good authority that Ross’ appointment is not a sure thing just yet.  It seems that Ross and a few backers are treating his appointment like a fait accompli, but that the decision has not formally been made.  This could be good news for people like Amb. James Dobbins or Amb. Thomas Pickering, both of whom would make outstanding envoys and who are sure to be on anyone’s short list…

  • 7 January 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf, Sanctions

Sources confirming Dennis Ross appointment as Iran envoy

dennis-rossAccording to Marc Ambinder, transition officials are confirming now that Dennis Ross will be appointed as the chief envoy to Iran under President Obama.

Though it’s not official until the administration announces it formally, this is looking like a done deal.  Ross is best known for his work as chief negotiator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under President Clinton.  But for many Iran analysts, the choice of Ross as special envoy is very concerning.

Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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