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Mar 20, 2013 3:52 AM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama set to plunge into roiling Mideast waters

JERUSALEM (AP) - President Barack Obama is set to plunge into the turbulent Middle East on a mission aimed primarily at assuring America's top ally in the region and its friends back home that it will not be forsaken amid bitter domestic political squabbles and budget crises in Washington.

Obama arrives Wednesday in Israel for his first visit to the country - and only his second to the Middle East, outside of a quick jaunt to Iraq - since taking office.

He will also be making his first trips as president to the Palestinian Authority and Jordan this week. But on an itinerary laden more with symbolism than substance, an Israel that is increasingly wary of developments in Syria and Iran will be the main focus of his attention.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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