Dennis Ross vs. Obama: No Link Between Iran, Mideast Peace

Unlike Obama, Ross opposes linking dialogue with Iran to talks between Israel, Palestinians.

Dennis Ross, the U.S. Secretary of State's special adviser on Iran, says in a new book that the United States will not make progress toward peace in the Middle East with the Obama administration's new plan.

The book, written with David Makovsky and entitled "Myths, illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East," opposes the Obama administration's concept of linkage. The book is to be published by Viking Press next month.

Contrary to the position of the president and other advisers, Ross writes that efforts to advance dialogue with Iran should not be connected to the renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Other senior officials in the Obama administration told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his recent visit to Washington that Israeli gestures and the advancement of talks with the Palestinians will help the administration get Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

Because of Ross' position, his superiors at the State Department do not allow him to promote the book or be interviewed about it.

In the second chapter, entitled "Linkage: The Mother of All Myths," Ross writes: "Of all the policy myths that have kept us from making real progress in the Middle East, one stands out for its impact and longevity: the idea that if only the Palestinian conflict were solved, all other Middle East conflicts would melt away. This is the argument of 'linkage.'"

Ross wrote the book with Makovsky, a former Jerusalem Post journalist who in recent years has been a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, considered a pro-Israel think tank.

The book was written before Ross took up his current position as senior State Department adviser. Ross' appointment has been controversial because he is an observant Jew and is considered a strong supporter of Israel.

His critics argue that the appointment could hurt the dialogue President Barack Obama hopes to conduct to solve the controversy over Iran's nuclear program and change relations between the two countries.