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Obama heads to Middle East with low expectations

3 years 6 months 1 week ago March 16, 2013 Mar 16, 2013 Saturday, March 16 2013 March 16, 2013 9:34 AM in News
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON - When President Barack Obama steps into the Middle East's political cauldron this coming week, he won't be seeking any grand resolution to the region's vexing problems.

Instead, his goal will be trying to keep the troubles from boiling over on his watch.

Among the dominant issues are Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and the bitter discord between Israelis and Palestinians.

Obama arrives in Israel on Wednesday for his first trip to the Jewish state as president.

His first priority will be resetting his oft-troubled relationship with weakened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH'-hoo) and evaluating the new coalition government that Netanyahu cobbled together.

Obama also will look to boost his appeal to a skeptical Israeli public, as well as frustrated Palestinians.

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