Obama to make Middle East speech Thursday 

President Obama will make a "sweeping and comprehensive" speech at the U.S. State Department Thursday on the uprisings sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.

The president will describe "how he views the upheavel and approached the U.S. response to events in the region," Carney said.

The speech comes on the heels of the death of Osama bin Laden and as the administration continues to field questions about its differing response to violence in Syria, where it has maintained a distance, compared to Libya, in which it is part of a NATO military intervention.

As for the role bin Laden's death will play in the speech, Carney said, "The president views al Qaeda and those with similar views about how they would have that part of the world evolve ... [as] fast moving towards the dustbin of history."

Middle East talks will dominate the president's schedule next week as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah visit the White House.

In a strange twist — considering the events — George Mitchell, President Obama's envoy to the Middle East, is also planning to resign. Obama will announce Mitchell's departure later Friday.


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