Nancy Youssef reports for the Daily Beast:
The Obama administration was given multiple chances Wednesday to endorse a longtime ally’s airstrikes on America’s biggest enemy at the moment, the so-called Islamic State. Over and over again, Obama’s aides declined to back Egypt’s military operation against ISIS. It’s another sign of the growing strain between the United States and Egypt, once one of its closest friends in the Middle East.
This shouldn’t be a complete surprise; Cairo, after all, didn’t tell Washington about its strikes on the ISIS hotbed of Derna, Libya. Still, Wednesday’s disconnect was jarring. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest passed on a reporter’s question about an endorsement of Egypt’s growing campaign against ISIS. So did State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
“We are neither condemning nor condoning” the Egyptian strikes, is all one U.S. official would tell The Daily Beast.
The story is filed under the cutesy word “Frenemies,” but this is deadly serious stuff. As I wrote all of two days ago, our mistreatment of Egypt
illustrates exactly why the Look At Me Looking At Me Administration keeps getting caught flat-footed by a foreign policy which is, and must be, essentially reactive. ISIS, like al Qaeda before it, thrives on chaos — and there’s plenty of that to be had there courtesy of Team Obama. ISIS moves in, and the closest thing this White House takes to an actual action, is to send a Pentagon spokesman out in front of the cameras to berate the Egyptians and the Emirates for taking some small action to defend themselves from the growing threat. To top it off, Kirby’s statement included an oh-so-Obama little lecture about how real smart grownup countries wage war.
Vladimir Putin has been cozying up to Egypt since President Selfie Stick first turned his back on Sisi’s military government for deposing the corrupt and terror-sponsoring Muslim Brotherhood. So we’ve traded in Egypt for… what, exactly?
It’s against this backdrop of stepping back while the Russians step up that Obama expects to arm twist the Israelis into making a bad peace deal with the Palestinians, while bragging to international audiences about three lousy airstrikes a day against ISIS. And it’s a safe bet that absolutely everybody in or interested in the Middle East sat up and took note when Obama asked Congress for a new AUMF designed on purpose to tie his hands, and thus guarantee failure.
Obama is playing high-stakes poker in the Middle East, and as he looks around the table he has no idea who the sucker is.
Either that or he’s playing to lose — with other people’s chips.