This evening on CBS's 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama called the recent violence in the Middle East "bumps in the road."
CBS's Steve Kroft asked, “Have the events that took place in the Middle East, the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?”
A central tenet of President Obama’s foreign policy platform is that al Qaeda is “on the path to defeat.” The death of Osama bin Laden, drone strikes in northern Pakistan and elsewhere, the Arab Spring, and Obama’s more conciliatory approach to the Muslim world have all supposedly come together to sound the death knell for al Qaeda.
Yesterday, on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, an Egyptian mob stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo, pulled down the American flag and burned it. In its place, they raised a black banner inscribed with the shehada ("There is no God but Allah, Mohamed is the messenger of Allah"), a pennant typically associated with al Qaeda.
During the assault on the U.S. embassy in Egypt, demonstrators reportedly chanted “Obama! Obama! We are all Osama!” They yelled this obvious reference to Osama bin Laden as an al Qaeda-style flag was hoisted and the American flag brought down. At least one of the protesters at the anti-American rally knows a thing or two about al Qaeda: Mohammed al Zawahiri, who is the younger brother of al Qaeda’s emir, Ayman al Zawahiri.
According to a transcript of this morning's statement, President Barack Obama failed to mention the storming of the U.S. embassy in Cairo yesterday. His statement focused on the loss of an American ambassador and other embassy workers yesterday in Benghazi, Libya.
A WEEKLY STANDARD reader points out that in all the early commentary about the events in Libya and Egypt, no one seems to have noted the date. Could it be, as he puts it, that "someone had it marked on a calendar to whip up a murderous frenzy on, oh, Tuesday 9/11"?
If Syria is a testing ground for the larger struggle of the American-led order in the Middle East against the Iranian-led resistance bloc, it’s also an example of the importance of the Kurds. An ethnic community with almost 30 million people spread across the Middle East—most densely in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria—the Kurds have become a major player in this larger struggle, with regional powers, like Turkey, Iran and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, courting various Kurdish parties and figures in order to advance their own interests.
Last week the Treasury Department leveled sanctions against Hezbollah for providing support to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in his efforts to put down the 17-month-old rebellion meant to topple his regime.
Earlier this month, 48 Iranian Shiite “pilgrims” were abducted in Damascus. The Free Syrian Army claims they were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, who have been dispatched to Syria to protect one of Tehran’s vital interests, Bashar al-Assad’s regime.