Dennis Ross gets expanded ME role as he joins US Nat'l Security Council

The White House officially announced Thursday that Dennis Ross had joined the National Security Council with an expanded role touching on the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as his current Iran portfolio. Ross, who had been working as the special adviser on South Asia under US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will now be in direct contact with US President Barack Obama and overseeing a host of current senior advisers. Ross had been expected to get the wide-ranging strategic position, officially titled Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, at the beginning of the Obama administration, with the Iran envoy job he ended up receiving at the State Department. Now, though, he finds himself closer to the president and more influential on a host of inter-connected issues as the situation in Iran heats up and US-Israeli relations are marked by tension.