San Diego Union Tribune

July 31, 2006

Issa's Middle East shuttle

Rep. Darrell Issa was all over the airwaves last week, weighing in on Israel's conflict with Hezbollah militants and the resulting civilian casualties in Lebanon.

Last week, the Vista Republican joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers who traveled to the region to assess the situation. It was the only congressional delegation cleared to visit Israel since the current conflict erupted. The group met with American, Israeli and Palestinian officials to discuss ways to end the fighting.

Issa is a third-generation American – his grandfather came from a small Lebanese town south of Tripoli – who speaks just a few words of Arabic and has only distant cousins in Lebanon. But his ancestry has given him entree into the delicate world of Middle East diplomacy.