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Israel Factor: So How’s Obama Doing on Iran?

by Shmuel Rosner

June 23, 2013 | 7:17 am

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and U.S. President Obama
during a joint news conference in the White House,
May 16, 2013. Photo by Reuters

Three weeks in Middle East news are an eternity. Imagine that three weeks ago, the Obama administration was still hesitant to admit the Syrians used chemical weapons and was still insistent on its hands down policy in the country. Three weeks ago, the administration could also still say with a straight face that Turkish democracy is a great model for a Middle Eastern system of government that works.

Yet, even three weeks ago, when we sent out our recent Israel Factor survey, the experts were hesitant to give the Obama administration much credit for its policy in the Middle East.

This is the second analysis of the June 2013 survey (the first one being this). It deals with the answer the panel gave to the following question: “Please rank the Obama administration’s policy on the following topics from 1 (terrible policy) to 10 (great policy)”.

The good news: nothing is terrible, not even close. 6 out of 10 is Obama’s worst number from our panel. He got it for “Refraining from more intensive intervention in Syria”, so next time this number might rise.

The bad news: there’s not one issue on which Obama gets real credit for doing great things. His best number is 6.78, which he got for “handling relations with Turkey”. But that was before Turkey went to protest against the government in Taksim Square. So next time this number might decline.

The most polarizing issue for our panel is Iran. When we asked how Obama was doing in “advancing the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons” we got numbers from 1 to 10. So we split the votes according to party affiliation (to understand what this means in the context of the Israel Factor read here). As you can see, on most issues the political inclinations make a difference that is visible but isn’t dramatic. On Iran it makes a huge difference:

 

Topic/panelists

Panelists believing Dem better for Israel

Panelists believing GOP better for Israel

Refraining from more intensive intervention in Syria

6.75

5

Attempting to actively promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

6.75

5.33

Dealing with developments in Egypt and handling relations with the Egyptian government

6.75

5.67

Advancing the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons

8

3.33

Handling relations with Turkey

8.5

4.67

Refraining from more intensive intervention in Syria

6.75

5

Attempting to actively promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

6.75

5.33

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