I’m going to inch out onto the limb and predict that the Foreign Policy President will not, repeat not, be handing over this cretin before election day.
The U.S. State Department is currently in negotiations with the Egyptian government for the transfer of custody of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as “the Blind Sheikh,” for humanitarian and health reasons, a source close to the the Obama administration told TheBlaze…
The negotiations are allegedly part of the ongoing discussions with the Egyptian government to resolve the crisis plaguing the Middle East, the source told TheBlaze. Calls to the State Department for comment referred us to the Department of Justice, and nothing has been confirmed.
The Blind Sheikh is serving a life sentence in American prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His release has been called one of the top priorities of the new Islamist administration in Egypt. Many have pinpointed the cause of last week‘s unrest in Egypt to be protests over the Blind Sheikh’s release– not an anti-Islam YouTube video.
Read Tom Joscelyn’s post from last week on the blind sheikh as a cause celebre among Egyptian Islamists during the embassy assault. No less a jihadi than Ayman al-Zawahiri mentioned the sheikh by name in his video eulogy for Abu Yahya al-Libi released on September 10th, the day before the attack in Benghazi and the standoff in Cairo. It’s also true, as the Blaze claims, that the sheikh’s release is a goal for the new Islamist government. Morsi mentioned him more than once on the campaign trail; there are enough hardboiled Islamists in the Egyptian electorate that securing Rahman’s release would be a huge political coup for Morsi and the MB.
Just one question: What would Obama get out of it, assuming he followed through on this in a second term? His credibility on counterterrorism would be shattered instantly; all the GOP accusations of appeasement, which have failed to get traction against the guy who ordered Bin Laden taken out, would finally have a track to run on. After years of trying, the Dems have finally pulled even with the GOP on the question of which party is better on fighting terror; hard for me to believe O’s going to give that away in one fell swoop. Granted, a lame duck wouldn’t have to worry about his own reelection but he would have to worry about vulnerable Democrats in Congress, whom he’d need to achieve any of his second-term goals. And no, needless to say, “humanitarian and health reasons” won’t be enough to justify the release. That wouldn’t have flown even before Britain gave the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya, but after Megrahi lingered for years after doctors had given him six months to live, that all but ensured no western government will ever try that excuse again.
Besides, what could Morsi offer Obama that would make it worth his while to take a political hit this big? Reaffirming the peace treaty with Israel wouldn’t be enough. For one thing, the Muslim Brotherhood’s promise isn’t worth jack; for another thing, making a concession to an “ally”/adversary simply so that they’ll maintain the status quo is essentially the definition of appeasement. To do something like this, I think, O would need Morsi’s cooperation in brokering some sort of peace deal between Hamas and Israel. But Morsi won’t do that, of course, because then he’ll be demagogued into political ruin by Egyptian Salafists who hate Israel and won’t tolerate any accommodation with them. Which is to say, there’s basically nothing Morsi can do for Obama to warrant a concession this big, which makes me skeptical that any deal would ever be done. Or am I missing something?
Update: While we’re on the subject of Obama and our maybe “ally”/maybe not, any official White House response to this?
Washington has a broad range of interests in Egypt as it shifts from authoritarian to representative rule, ranging from security cooperation and regional peace to political pluralism and religious tolerance. The United States should be willing to extend economic and military aid to Egypt commensurate with the latter’s needs and its commitment to partner in advance of common objectives. But in working out the details of this new arrangement, our president should not give his personal imprimatur to leaders who espouse repulsive, abhorrent views that undermine a vital U.S. national security interest.
To that end, Obama should explicitly condition any meeting with Morsi on the latter’s clear and public renunciation of 9/11 revisionism. This position would present Morsi with a stark choice: He can either repudiate the hate-filled conspiracies that he has helped to sow and reap the benefits of Obama’s embrace, or he can expose himself as an irresponsible ideologue with whom few members of the international community will want to deal. Failure to lay down a marker with Morsi before he comes to New York means Morsi may never have to make that choice.
Yes, the leader of our “ally” is in fact a dirty, dirty Truther. If O’s dumb enough to hold a press availability with him when he visits in a few weeks, someone had better ask Morsi about it.