The results of the mid-term elections were widely considered to be a rebuke of President Barack Obama’s policies, specifically against his domestic agenda. His foreign policy failures, however, have not been scrutinized as closely. Yet, the ramifications of his failed policies, particularly in the Middle East, reverberate daily.
The Obama administration’s withdrawal of 100,000 U.S. troops from Iraq, in the absence of a government able to provide security for the people of Iraq, has contributed to renewed sectarian violence, especially against the shrinking Christian community. Fr. Ladimer Alkhaseh, pastor of the Assyrian Evangelical Church in San Jose, CA, reacted to the massacre of more than 50 Christian worshipers in a Baghdad church on October 31, 2010, by saying, “The Obama administration needs to do more to help the Christians.” He added, “We want President Obama to intervene and basically stop the massacre of Christians in the Middle East.”
Obama, however, continues to appease the Muslim world. The remarks he made during his visit to Jakarta, Indonesia were in keeping with what he said in his June 2009 Cairo speech; a speech which did little to stem the jihadist slaughter of Christians in Iraq, Egypt, Gaza, and elsewhere in the Middle East. The perceived weakness and indecisiveness of Obama’s U.S. has given a back wind to Islamists everywhere — from Iran to Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.
In the meantime, irrespective of construction in Jerusalem, a new development in the Middle East is likely to derail Obama’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plans. According to a September 28, 2010 posting on the YaLibana website, reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas are building steam. The report indicated that the “Fatah representative in Damascus Azzam al-Ahmad said that most of the issues have been agreed on with Hamas…Leaders of the two rival Palestinian movements, Fatah and Hamas, held reconciliation talks[.]”
Azzam Al-Ahmad revealed that the White House has pressured Abu Mazen and the Fatah leadership to refrain from signing a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, which the U.S. State Department has labeled as a terrorist organization. If these two factions joined forces, their combined strength would have a direct and destructive impact on peace talks with Israel.
According to Al-Ahmad (in an interview with the Palestinian media) the Palestinians (Fatah) promptly rejected the U.S. request, and have gone forward with an agreement with Hamas despite existing differences. Al-Ahmad expects that within the next two-weeks, an agreement with Hamas will be signed in Cairo.
Hamas officials stated that they were encouraged by Al-Ahmad’s responsible statements, and that they hoped that the language of reconciliation would be translated into action on the ground and result in the Palestinian Authority (PA) ending its security coordination with Israel. Hamas is particularly interested in reconciliation because that would enable it to free its operatives from PA prisons and facilitate the rebuilding of its civilian and terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank – thus effecting a takeover of the area, just as Hamas did in Gaza.
It is increasingly evident that Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and not Israel’s Netanyahu, walked out of the peace talks and imposed conditions on the continuation of any talks. While President Obama has, once again, chosen to criticize Israel – this time on construction in Jerusalem — he has yet to show similar toughness with the Palestinians. This underscores the fact that Obama does not understand the manipulative nature of Hamas and Fatah, and also demonstrates Obama’s unwillingness to confront these groups.
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