President-elect Barack Obama may select Wilson School professor Daniel Kurtzer to serve as his administrations special envoy to the Middle East, according to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. The special envoy to the Middle East will report direct to Obama rather than to the secretary of state, whom Obama recently announced will be Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
Kurtzer, who received his Ph.D. from Columbia, served as the American ambassador to Egypt from 1997 to 2001 and to Israel from 2001 to 2005. He was an adviser to the Obama campaign during the primary and presidential campaigns and also helped Obama fine tune his foreign policy agenda, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Also being considered for the post is Dennis Ross, the blog politico.com reported. Ross served as special Middle East coordinator under former President Bill Clinton and director of the State Departments Office of Policy Planning under former President George H. W. Bush.
Kurtzer declined to comment, citing his involvement in the transition process.