Secretary Clinton appears to have tightened the screws sufficiently all the way around that she still may get home for Thanksgiving. Having flown in from Asia and done two sessions with Bibi and one with Abbas and then clincher with Morsy in Cairo, she emerged a few hours later with the ceasefire the President had apparently crafted and she orchestrated.
Israel bought a cessation of the rocketing into Southern Israel and agreed to move ahead with lifting the Gaza blockade. Hamas got more free movement of people and goods. Egypt got to look like the deal maker, while Obama appears to have spent considerable amount of time during his Asian trip on the telephone messaging the various players to stop the war before it escalated. Abbas got very little except for being the only Palestinian address for the U.S. players, while the Muslim Brotherhood saw itself becoming the key player in the region. Beyond that it is all speculation but here are some suspicions as to where this ceasefire might lead.
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas need to find a way to address the needs of the Palestinian people without radical action by the more militant forces. The will undoubtedly be pushed now by Morsy who presumably received U.S. reassurance concerning U.S. aid. In addition, Morsy will need to control the smuggling tunnels in Sinai, and prevent terrorists from moving back into Gaza, if he wants to guarantee his relationship with the U.S. The Qataris are apparently bankrolling Hamas and the Iranians are providing the hardware, which Cairo needs to stop. Turkey may also have indirectly have entered this discussion as well since their request for defensive rocket protection from Syria may well cost them a price of re-opening relations with Israel as the blockade is lifted. In all likelihood the President told the Egyptians in return for gaining a larger presence in the Sinai they will be doubly watched as to how they prevent terrorist incidents.
The really winner is the President. If the ceasefire holds then he will have given himself and his second term an international kick start which could well be the harbinger of a much more engaged and hands-on effort by Washington in the Middle East during the next year. Assuming Bibi is re-elected—a good assumption even before he followed the U.S. lead during this crisis—his trip to the U.S. in March for the AIPAC conference may well give the President a very different guest than he had in Washington over the past two years.
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton has set up for her departure from Foggy Bottom with a public victory for her own team as she clearly demonstrated how much she has learned and grown over the past four long years; probably the best training imaginable for 2016. Finally, she did it so efficiently it looks like she may even make it home for dinner.