Today, National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice announced that Philip Gordon, Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region will be stepping down, and will be succeeded by Rob Malley, currently NSC Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf States. Dr. Malley will assume his new position on April 6, 2015.
Robert Malley was born in 1963 to Barbara (née Silverstein) Malley, a New Yorker who worked for the United Nations delegation of the Algerian National Liberation Front, and her husband, Simon Malley (1923–2006), an Egyptian-born Jewish journalist who grew up in Egypt and worked as a foreign correspondent for Al Goumhourya, a newspaper linked closely to Gamal Abdul Nasser’s government. … The Washington Post, on August 7, 1980, reported the elder Malley was a founder of the Egyptian Communist Party and at the time was under investigation by French authorities for pro-Soviet activities. …Robert Malley attended Yale University, and was a 1984 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a Ph.D. in political philosophy. There he wrote his doctoral thesis about Third-worldism and its decline. Malley continued writing about foreign policy, including extended commentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He earned a J.D. at Harvard Law School, where he met his future wife, Caroline Brown. Another fellow law school student was Barack Obama. …According to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Malley provided informal advice to the campaign in the past without having any formal role in the campaign. On May 9, 2008, the campaign severed ties with Malley when the British Times reported that Malley had been in discussions with the militant Palestinian group Hamas, listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. In response, Malley told The Times he had been in regular contact with Hamas officials as part of his work with the International Crisis Group. …The New York Times reported on 18 February 2014 that Malley was joining the Obama administration to consult on Persian Gulf policy as senior director of the National Security Council.
Key Democrats are hardening their opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposal for attacking Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, raising fresh doubts the White House can win congressional approval of the plan as concerns grow over its handling of crises around the globe.In interviews this week, not a single Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed support for the president’s war plan as written; most demanded changes to limit the commander in chief’s authority and more explicitly prohibit sending troops into the conflict.That opposition puts the White House and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, in a quandary — stuck between Republican defense hawks who are pushing for a more robust U.S. role against the terrorist group known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and liberals who fear a repeat of the Iraq war. …“He is asking us to do something that takes us nowhere,” Corker said of Obama. “Because from what I can tell, he cannot get one single Democratic vote from what he’s sent over. And he certainly wouldn’t get Democratic votes for something Republicans might be slightly more comfortable with. … It’s quite a dilemma.”
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