Hostage Crisis Deja Vu?

The Mid-East remains a power keg, with a very short fuse attached.

Israel is getting ready to turn Iran into a parking lot, and the Obama Administration-lauded Arab Spring has replaced the moderate despots with Muslim despots.

In the home of the Sphinx, the Egyptian Revolution and the subsequent elections have produced results that those purveyors of Smart Power!, President Barack Hussein Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department weren’t exactly counting on.

Last December Israel National News published this story:

Americans can be thankful President Barack Obama never pursued a career as an investment banker.

The Obama administration spent some $200 million backing liberal and pro-Western political parties in Egypt’s elections.

But with 65 percent of the vote going to Islamist parties – including the Muslim Brotherhood – it looks like a poor investment.

According to Campaigns & Elections magazine the money was funneled into Egyptian politics through the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.

Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy, told C&E the focus of the monies – officially ear-marked for “infrastructure development” – was primarily spent on helping smaller political parties compete against the better organized Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s party.

The first round of Parliamentary elections in Egypt this week saw voting in nine of the country’s 27 provinces. The staggered elections will continue over the coming months.

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party – whose leadership advocates implementing Sharia Law – won 40 percent of the vote on Wednesday. An additional 15 percent went to hard-line Salafi Islamists.

In addition to an utter failure to organize Egypt’s moderate and secular parties into a meaningful force at the polls, Obama’s left-handed funding of foreign political parties outside the United States has fueled an underlying anti-American sentiment and accusations of US “meddling” on the banks of the Nile.

Amid the Islamist electoral avalanche, Egypt’s military ruler has sworn in a new government that he says will have more powers than its predecessor. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi promised to transfer some of his ruling military council’s executive powers to Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri.

The interim junta did not go into specifics on what new powers the Cabinet will have, but said only that it will continue to control the judiciary and the armed forces. Egypt’s generals have been tightly in control of managing the country’s affairs since Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February, infuriating critics who accuse them of maintaining the status quo – and demand civilian rule.

The interim junta has sought to maintain the geopolitical status quo – including the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty – as a means of protecting the billions of US foreign aid dollars that have turned Egypt into a regional power-player.

The Obama administration’s meddling in the domestic politics of foreign countries is not limited to Egypt. USAID dollars under Obama have been routinely routed into NGO’s in Israel that pursue political agendas – raising the specter of sanitized US government monies potentially finding their way into Israel’s elections as well.

I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard President Obama described as Carter on steroids.

President Carter had his Hostage Crisis…and now President Obama has one of his own.

The Washington Times reports:

Ignoring a stern U.S. threat, Egypt on Sunday referred 43 NGO workers, including 19 Americans, to trial before a criminal court for allegedly using illegal foreign funds to foment unrest.

The decision marked a sharp escalation of the dispute between Cairo and Washington over Egypt‘s crackdown on U.S.-funded groups promoting democracy and human rights. The two countries have been close allies for more than three decades, but the campaign against the organizations has angered Washington and jeopardized the $1.5 billion in aid Egypt is set to receive from the U.S. this year.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Egypt‘s foreign minister that failure to resolve the dispute may lead to the loss of American aid. The Egyptian minister, Mohammed Amr, responded Sunday by saying the government cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary.

“We are doing our best to contain this but … we cannot actually exercise any influence on the investigating judges right now when it comes to the investigation,” Mr. Amr told reporters at a security conference in Munich.

Among the Americans sent to trial is Sam LaHood, the head of the Egypt office of the Washington-based International Republican Institute and the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Five Serbs, two Germans and three non-Egyptian Arab nationals are also among those referred to trial.

All 43 have been banned from leaving the country. A date has yet to be set for the start of the trial.

Obama has been diplomatically wooing the Muslim Brotherhood, the Terrorist group who is rapidly becoming the nation’s Power Brokers in Egypt.

A fat lot of good that’s doing…just ask those 43 prisoners.

It appears Smart Power! is neither.

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