Tuesday, March 3, 2009

U.S. State Department Envoys for Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced two envoys would conduct preliminary conversations with Syrian representatives. Jeffrey Feltman and Dan Shapiro are the State Department representatives. Feltman is acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Shapiro serves on the White House's National Security Council.

Mr. Shapiro was hired as a lobbyist for Timmons & Company, Washington's premier lobbying firm, in February 2007. He actively worked for the Obama campaign, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. I thought President Obama wasn't going to appoint lobbyists. What are the odds Syria will view Mr. Shapiro as an impartial envoy?

Jeffrey Feltman spent years as the Chief, Consular Section at the American Embassy in Israel. He may or may not be viewed as impartial by Syrian representatives.