Friday, September 14, 2012

Mideast gives Obama perfect storm before election

(Reuters) - An eruption of violent unrest across the Middle East is confronting President Barack Obama with the most serious challenge yet to his efforts to keep the Arab Spring from morphing into a new wave of anti-Americanism - and he has few good options to prevent it.

Less than two months before the U.S. presidential election, a spate of attacks on embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen poses a huge dilemma for a U.S. leader who took office promising a "new beginning" with the Muslim world but has struggled to manage the transformation that has swept away many of the region's long-ruling dictators.

On top of that, even as he tries to fend off foreign policy criticism from Republican rival Mitt Romney, Obama is grappling with an escalating crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations over Iran's nuclear program and increased bloodshed in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad has defied international calls to step aside.

Obama's Middle East woes deepened this week with a series of mob attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds and the killing of America's ambassador to Libya. Demonstrators were incensed by a U.S.-made film they consider blasphemous to Islam. Read More