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Hillary Clinton headed to the Middle East

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided to alter her Asia plans and head to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo in an attempt to help resolve the escalating conflict in Gaza. "Her visits will build on American engagement with regional leaders over the past days – including intensive engagement by President Obama with [Israeli] Prime Minister ...

Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided to alter her Asia plans and head to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo in an attempt to help resolve the escalating conflict in Gaza.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided to alter her Asia plans and head to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo in an attempt to help resolve the escalating conflict in Gaza.

"Her visits will build on American engagement with regional leaders over the past days – including intensive engagement by President Obama with [Israeli] Prime Minister [Bibi] Netanyahu and [Egyptian] President [Mohamed] Morsi – to support de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm. As President Obama noted in his conversations with President Morsi, we commend Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate the situation and are hopeful that these efforts will be successful," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

"She will emphasize the United States’ interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel’s security and regional stability; that can lead to improved conditions for the civilian residents of Gaza; and that can reopen the path to fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis for two states living in peace and security. She will continue to express U.S. concern for the loss of civilian life on both sides."

Obama spoke with Netayahi and Morsi on Monday. Clinton spoke Monday with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, who traveled to Gaza to express solidarity with Gazans. Clinton, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotoglu.

Reports from Cambodia, where Obama and Clinton traveled to attend the a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the East Asia Summit, said that Obama decided late Monday to dispatch Clinton following more calls with Middle East leaders about the crisis.

"This morning, Secretary Clinton and the president spoke again about the situation in Gaza and the they agreed that it makes sense for the secretary to travel to the region so Secretary Clinton will depart today," Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told The New York Times. "Her visits will build on the engagement that we’ve undertaken in the last several days… It’s in nobody’s interest to see an escalation of the military conflict."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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