As events in the Middle East continued to unfold at a rapid pace, the Saban Forum held its second annual U.S.-Israel dialogue November 11–13, 2005. Organized by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University, the Saban Forum brought a high-level bipartisan American delegation of officials and opinion leaders together in Jerusalem with their Israeli counterparts to discuss “Dealing with Twenty-first Century Challenges.” Participants included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former President William J. Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The Saban Forum provided an opportunity to take a step back to analyze such events as Israeli disengagement in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, the Iraqi constitution, and political upheaval in Syria, and the role of these events within larger trends in the Middle East.
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With the downward trajectory in [U.S.-China] relations, the incoming ambassador ideally will need to have a visible connection to the president and his senior advisers, familiarity with the range of issues that comprise the relationship, and a future in American politics. The more the ambassador is seen as likely to wield influence in the future on issues affecting China, the higher the cost and risk for Beijing to mistreat him/her.