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Conflict in Gaza: Why is US taking a back seat?

In the effort to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the US has not taken a front-line role. Partly, that's President Obama's style, partly it's because of new realities.

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr takes a reporter's question at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the presidential palace in Cairo in this July file photo. The US has allowed other countries to take the lead in the current Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Maya Alleruzzo/AP/File

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As Egypt assumes a central role in efforts to reach a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza conflict – and as a parade of Arab leaders jockey to show solidarity with Hamas – one country appears to be sitting on the diplomatic sidelines: the United States.

Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton – traveling together in Southeast Asia this week – have made repeated phone calls to leaders in Middle East. They have emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself from rockets launched by militant groups inside Hamas-governed Gaza.

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