As the three network anchors headed for the airport to fly to Amman to cover Bush's talks with al-Maliki, NBC's Richard Engel and CBS' Richard Roth formed an advance guard for their Big Foot colleagues
Engel surveyed the diplomatic lay of the land. Regional leaders want talks on the Palestinian and Lebanese conflicts. "The problem is that Bush will be on the ground for less than 24 hours. Will that be enough time?" Engel pointed out that while the US is refusing to negotiate with Iran, Teheran is "an alternative address to Washington where Middle East diplomacy can take place," putting out feelers to both Baghdad and Cairo.
Roth showed us the physical result of the frictions between Israel and Jordan and Syria: no agreement on water management. As a result the River Jordan has been diverted for irrigation and its flow into the Dead Sea is nothing more than "a trickle of sewage." The sea's waters are shrinking and growing yet more salty. Tourist resorts are now high and dry, a mile from the shore. The water is more buoyant than ever. To prove it Roth bobbed around reading his newspaper: "It is impossible to sink in."
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