Marc Lynch, author of Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq, al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today, offers four suggestions to the Obama administration on his blog now hosted on the Foreign Policy Web site:
1. Give the order to begin drawing down forces in Iraq
2. Talk to the Muslim World … and listen
3. Engage on Gaza right away
4. See the whole, not the parts
On point #4, Lynch writes:
Reports suggest that Obama and Clinton will appoint a collection of special envoys to deal with Iran, Arab-Israeli affairs, and other issues. But that model runs a real risk of losing a sense of the inter-connectedness of the issues. For example, dealing with Iraq in its regional context requires serious engagement with Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and the Gulf. But if the special envoy on Iran isn’t talking to the special envoy on Arab-Israeli relations (with the Syria file), and neither is talking to the Iraq team, then important opportunities will be missed and policy could end up working at cross-purposes. Obama should sit down with all the special envoys and make clear their role in his overarching regional vision. And then the National Security Adviser and the Secretary of State should work closely together to makes sure that the envoys are working off the same playbook with regular, close communication and coordination.