Thursday, September 13, 2012

Obama Fundraises While the Middle East Burns

I am often unable to sit down and comment on a news story as it unfolds, and that has been the case with the attack on the American embassy in Cairo and the assault on our consulate in Benghazi on the anniversary of the attacks of 11 September.  All well and good – the situation has been so bereft of solid initial information that it begs for a step back and a few beats of analysis.  But this much we know: the demonstration in Cairo involved thousands, and I am always leery when I hear such terms as ‘spontaneous’ applied these demonstrations, particularly when  they involve printed signs, some in English, and theatre regalia.

We know that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian successor to Usama bin Laden, called for such attacks throughout the Muslim nation (the umma) in a pre-recorded tape, and his brother was spotted and photographed at the Cairo demonstration.  At last word, the new Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, has still not apologized for the attack, though we now have word that he has at least condemned them and promised to protect foreign embassies.  That would certainly be an improvement over the initial attacks, when Egyptian security forces simply stood aside and watched the demonstrators scale the walls of the compound, where they tore down the US flag, shredding it after failing to burn it, and replaced it with a black Salafi flag bearing the shahada, the declaration of the Islamic faith – the flag used by al Qaeda. 

The attack in Benghazi was just that, far more than a demonstration that got out of hand.  It was an armed assault, using assault rifles, RPGs and mortars, and the small compound was quickly overrun.  It seems amazing that only four Americans were murdered. 

The rioters claim that they are enraged by the trailer of an anti-Islamic film, produced in a mysterious manner in a story that is taking on a life of itself.  The purported producer of the film is a fraud and felon, and more information about him and the film is being developed as time goes on.  I have seen the trailer, and it is of ludicrously poor quality by any measurement – I won’t link to it here, but it can be easily Googled if you want to waste precious moments of your time.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration is taking the rioters at their word, ignoring the clear symbolic value of the launch of this series of attacks across the Middle East.
The Cairo embassy quickly broadcast a press release which empathized with the rioters about the film.  This is a story that has also taken on a separate story thread, with its quick condemnation by Mitt Romney in a press conference that allowed questions, as opposed to Obama’s which did not, and he had to react to questions about whether he regretted making the statement (in a move orchestrated by the supposedly objective press).  I still fail to see anything that Romney said that was wrong, but the MSM story is concentrating on how early Romney made his observation.  The administration repudiated the embassy’s announcement and it disappeared shortly thereafter, but it is preserved here (click to enlarge):

In order to make its point, the main comment was sent out in a Twitter feed:

The US embassy in Sana’a has been attacked in the same way as our one in Cairo, and we now have reports of large demonstrations in Gaza, Tunis, Islamabad, and Khartoum, as well as others in Teheran, Dacca, Casablanca, and Baghdad. 

It would be well to remember that the ‘Arab Spring’, with this administration’s delight about the spread of ‘democracy’, showed the Arab world how they could overthrow entrenched autocratic regimes.  It has surely occurred to the jihadis, particularly al Qaeda and the like, that that same movement can be used against the interests of the United States too.  We may be seeing the beginning of a whirlwind that we have sown with our benign neglect of capabilities of the enemy, courted instead of stalked.  The warnings of the Russian government in the case of Syria, about unleashing and supporting forces against even regimes as despicable as Assad without a means to control them to an end result of our benefit, are becoming true.
As for benign neglect, Obama is off to Las Vegas as part of a continuing string of fundraisers, amidst revelations that whatever interest he takes in intelligence briefings is done as reading over the notes of the briefs, without benefit of discussion with his national security staff.  Nothing gets in the way of his main purpose in life: fundraising to ensure the re-election of his regime, unless, that is, a round of golf presents itself.

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