World Week Ahead: Obama’s Mideast Speech; Reports From Bahrain

BY Larisa Epatko  May 16, 2011 at 11:44 AM EST

President Obama; photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
President Obama (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid continuing protests in the Middle East and following the departure of his Mideast envoy, President Obama plans to deliver a policy speech on the region on Thursday. We’ll provide full coverage along with a series of on-the-ground reports from Margaret Warner in Bahrain.

MIDEAST | President Obama is expected to deliver the speech on Mideast policy at the State Department on Thursday, in between meetings with visiting Jordanian King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The “fairly sweeping and comprehensive speech,” as White House spokesman Jay Carney put it, is expected to cover the capture and killing of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and the “Arab spring” uprisings.

Last week, Mideast envoy George Mitchell submitted his resignation, effective May 20, which the president accepted, calling him a “tireless advocate for peace.” Mr. Obama said Mitchell accepted the post with the intention of only serving for “a couple of years,” but others have said the move was due to little progress on the peace mission during his term.

Read: Former Director of National Intelligence retired Adm. Dennis Blair gives his take on what the president must do in his speech.

BAHRAIN | The Persian Gulf island of Bahrain is working to stamp out protests against the Sunni-led government since February. A NewsHour team is reporting there on the results of the crackdown and the U.S. role in the island nation that hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Watch | Preview excerpts of Warner’s interviews with U.S. and Bahraini officials about the lifting of Bahrain’s state of emergency.

SYRIA | On Sunday, hundreds of Arab protesters clashed with Israeli troops at the Israeli-held Golan Heights, West Bank and northern Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of at least four people. Some, including the White House’s Carney, say the violence at the Syrian border with the Golan Heights is Syria’s attempt to divert attention from the government’s crackdown on protesters.

Read: The New York Times reports on how Israel and Syria are blaming each other for the bloodshed.

PAKISTAN | Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who arrived in Pakistan on Sunday, is meeting with senior officials this week to discuss how the United States and Pakistan can continue to work together on counterterrorism efforts following the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

On Monday, the two countries agreed to work together on any future “high-value targets” in Pakistan.

Prior to Kerry’s visit, the Pakistani parliament approved a resolution calling for a review of U.S.-Pakistani relations and for an independent commission to look into the bin Laden operation. We’ll have more on the investigation this week.

Read: The Pakistani parliament’s resolution, approved May 14.

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