Sheikh and You Shall Find
"Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has said he will urge US President Barack Obama to free the blind sheikh jailed for the 1993 World Trade Center attack," according to al-Ahram. This comes as Algerian Islamists offered to trade American hostages taken in a raid on an Algerian gas field for the same blind sheikh. Great minds think alike.
The situation was fluid, but the U.S. said one thing was carved in stone: It would not be cutting any deals with the captors.
"The United States does not negotiate with terrorists,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said of reports the militants were seeking the release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life term for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist convicted of trying to kill U.S. soldiers after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2008.
But there's no chance the sheikh will be freed and Nuland's principled stand should serve as a warning that America does not give in to murderers. Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan James Cunningham said the United States wants serious peace negotiations with the Taliban but that it has not yet been possible to get the process underway.
“Our goal, or rather what we would like to see and I think the Afghans would like to see, is the beginning if not conclusion of a negotiation — at least the beginning of a serious process on peace and reconciliation — as soon as possible,” Cunningham told reporters. “But so far it hasn’t proven possible to bring those pieces together to get that going.”
That may change once the Taliban can be given a ride instead of having to walk to the negotiations. Just as soon as the cars are fixed. "The U.S. government paid $6.8 million for maintenance of more than 7,000 Afghan police vehicles that had been destroyed or were out of commission, according to an inspector general report released Thursday," according to the Washington Post.
If you don't maintain destroyed vehicles then they'll become even more destroyed. The US is also paying for Egypt's army. The Egptian Independent reported that "The United States plans to send a batch of F-16 fighter planes and 200 military tanks to Egypt on Monday, despite opposition from some Congressmen."
While Americans are facing increasing restrictions on purchasing guns everyone else seems to be arming up. The Second Amendment really reads "a well regulated militant movement, being necessary for World Peace, the right of the people except citizens of the United States to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
According to the Washington Institute "rebel units in Syria can no longer be described as 'lightly armed.' Many have acquired heavy machine guns and antiaircraft guns, mortars, recoilless rifles, and artillery rocket launchers. Some also have tanks (see below) and BMP infantry fighting vehicles, while at least a few have shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS), antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), and medium field artillery pieces. Most of these weapons were captured from regime stocks, and the rebels are increasingly employing them against Bashar al-Assad's forces."
Meanwhile, the New York Times has made a startling discovery. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is promoting "repulsive" anti-semitism in the region.
His scurrilous comments from nearly three years ago about Zionists and Jews, which just came to light, have raised serious doubts about whether he can ever be the force for moderation and stability that is needed. As reported by David Kirkpatrick in The Times, Mr. Morsi is shown in a video from 2010 delivering a speech in which he urges Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. In a television interview months later, he described Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”
Who would have thought it? Calling Alan Dershowitz. Calling Noam Chomsky. Calling Ed Koch. Please pick up the courtesy found in the lobby to take an urgent call from Captain Obvious. The NYT continues:
Does Mr. Morsi really believe what he said in 2010? Has becoming president made him think differently about the need to respect and work with all people? So far, there has been no official reaction.
The White House called for Mr. Morsi to make clear that he respects members of all faiths and said the videotaped remarks run counter to the goal of peace. President Obama should also deliver that message to President Morsi directly.
Of course he doesn't believe what he said in 2010. And doubtless President Morsi will explain how his remarks about apes and pigs were taken out of context. He'll say that since Egypt will be hitting Obama up for money in the next sentence. As Spengler explains , Egypt is bust.
Egypt is on the verge of bankruptcy, as opposition leader as Nobel laureate Mohamed al-Baradei said recently. The Gulf states (including radical Qatar) aren’t going to throw Morsi a rope; Qatar’s $2.5 billion loan has been spent in defense of the sagging Egyptian pound. (Qatar appears to be forcing Egypt to pay the money back by purchasing gas at above-market prices, as I explained here).
Egypt needs money. So America will print some more money to get Morsi out of a jam, after which Mori will ask Obama to release the Blind Sheik. The Egyptian president has already said he would, so no surprises there. Now who can refuse an honored guest? It's not as if you received a demand from a murderer.
Foreign policy under Barack Obama is a simple process. People hit America in the face and America pays them. Then the process is repeated. This brilliant plan is called smart adhocracy. One day the New York Times will discover this is actually happening -- inadvertently of course. Thank God for brilliant minds like theirs.