William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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AWAKE AND ARISE – AT 8:10 A.M.  ET:  The secretary of state of the United States is heading for the Mideast.  Intelligence information, apparently provided by the wonderful guys who gave us the Benghazi briefings, has indicated that there's a war on.

Our secretary, ever mindful of appearances as she prepares her 2016 campaign, is now set to arrive tonight.  It's about five days too late, but you know how hard it is to get good flights these days.

A deputy White House national security adviser said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would depart for the Mideast on Tuesday from Cambodia, where she had accompanied Obama on a visit to Southeast Asia. The official said Clinton would begin her Mideast diplomacy by meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, then she would meet with senior officials of the Palestinian government in the West Bank before heading to Cairo to meet with Egyptian leaders.

It is hard to know exactly what Clinton hopes to accomplish, as American influence in the region has declined under her boss's "lead from behind" followship.  There are disturbing indications that her real purpose in traveling is to restrain the Israelis, which would be Obama's first instinct.  But unless there is a permanent end to the rocket fire coming from Gaza into Israel, and an end to the smuggling of Iranian rockets into Gaza, this crisis will erupt soon again, despite any ceasefire that could be arranged.

The combat continues unabated, and Israeli forces are massing on the border, waiting for the order to enter Gaza and clean out the nests.

November 20,  2012