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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met on December 6, 2011 with members of the Syrian National Council in Geneva, Switzerland, a meeting that President Obama endorsed. Absent from the meeting, however, were members of the Syrian Democratic Coalition. The latter are Syrian expatriates including Sherkoh Abbas, who are also opposed to the Assad regime, and who seek a secular democratic and federal Syria, where minorities will be fully represented. Why this group of democratic Syrians was excluded may yet be the subject of a congressional hearing.
Obama’s pro-Muslim proclivities were emphasized in an editorial that appeared in the Turkish daily Hurriyet in April 2009, which reported on the speech he gave in the Turkish Parliament during his first foreign state visit: “But the most striking side of it was that his decency and brilliance was harmonized with the text quite beautifully. Especially as he talked about Muslims’ contributions to the United States, Obama counted himself in as part of the Muslim community living in the United States and claimed his Muslim middle name, Hussein. And it was a sincere sign of his positive approach to the Islamic world.”
In that same speech Obama elevated U.S.-Turkish relations from a “strategic partnership” to a “model partnership.” According to Hurriyet, Obama emphasized the importance of Turkey not only for the United States but also for the world, and went on to say that Turkey will be perceived as one of the most important countries in the world, and will be treated accordingly. The United States and Turkey, Hurriyet reported, “are building kind of a ‘company’ together for cooperation and solidarity to resolve world issues.”
Obama’s trusted friend and partner PM Erdogan has an interesting background. He was convicted by the Turkish court in 1998 for “inciting religious hatred” and was barred from serving in parliament and serving as PM following the electoral victory of the Islamist AK Party in November 2002. Erdogan has also deliberately fostered tensions in Turkey’s relations with Israel, and was behind the provocative actions of the Mavi Marmara (Gaza flotilla) incident in May 2010, in which Erdogan sought to curry favor with the Arab world by supporting the Islamist Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza against Israel.
Watching Obama’s facial expressions during his March 25, 2012 press conference with Erdogan one is struck by the exceptional warmth and broad smiles, as well as obvious verbal support for the brutal Turkish incursions into Northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish PKK guerillas. The pictures and content of the bilateral talks with Erdogan contrast sharply with the bilateral talks Obama held with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Beyond the usual platitudes, Obama did not endorse the kind of “open-ended, blank check” approach he gave Turkey in Iraq with regard to Israel’s pursuit of Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
The Obama administration has cultivated a strong relationship with Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movements in Egypt and Tunisia. In Egypt, it has pressured the military to yield power to President Morsi, the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood leader. Above all, Obama has found in PM Erdogan a like-minded person whose interests, Obama underscored, match his own. In the process, Obama has ignored the dangerous accesses of the MB in rhetoric and actions (against the Christian-Copts of Egypt for example, and the peace treaty with Israel), and is now seeking to curb the Kurdish aspirations in Syria.
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