The Obama administration, fresh from abandoning Iraq at a critical time in its post-war development, is apparently preparing to do the same thing in Afghanistan. According to a report published late last month in The Hindu, radical Islamist cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is serving as a "key mediator in secret talks between the U.S. and the Taliban." Unnamed government sources assert that Qaradawi helped in putting together a "road map" whose purpose is to provide America a "face-saving political settlement ahead of its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan which is due to begin in 2014." Once again, for an Obama administration concerned with the 2012 election, a "political settlement" becomes a viable substitute for victory.
How viable? Viable enough to pretend that a rabid anti-Semite such as Qaradawi is a "moderate" Islamic cleric. Here is part of a speech he made in Tahrir Square in Cairo before a huge crowd on February 18, 2011, after returning to Egypt from 30 years of forced exile:
A message to our brothers in Palestine: I have hope that Almighty Allah, as I have been pleased with the victory in Egypt, that He will also please me with the conquest of the al-Aqsa Mosque to prepare the way for me to preach in the al-Aqsa Mosque. May Allah prepare the way for us to [preach] in the al-Aqsa Mosque in safety--not in fear, not in haste. May Allah achieve this clear conquest for us. O sons of Palestine, I am confident that you will be victorious.
The speech was hardly unique. Mr. Qaradawi has a track record of anti-Semitic, genocidal statements. In 1995, at a conference held by the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in Toledo, Ohio, he told his audience that "the balance of power will change, and this is what is told in the Hadith of Ibn-Omar and the Hadith of Abu-Hurairah: You shall continue to fight the Jews and they will fight you, until the Muslims will kill them. And the Jew will hide behind the stone and the tree, and the stone and the tree will say: ‘Oh servant of Allah, Oh Muslim, this is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him!' The resurrection will not come before this happens." In 1998, the Associated Press quoted his writing: "There should be no dialogue with these people [Israelis] except with swords." In April 2001, he characterized suicide bombings as "heroic martyrdom operations."
In 2009, he had this to say during two TV broadcasts on al-Jazeera: "I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Allah’s mercy and blessings upon you." Two nights later it was this: "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them--even though they exaggerated this issue--he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers."
One would be inclined to think that a "key mediator" advocating for the destruction of America's foremost ally in the Middle East might be inclined to provoke second thoughts about his "moderateness" among officials in the Obama administration. Yet as this administration has more than amply demonstrated, its relationship with Israel might be most charitably described as tenuous. Thus, Yusuf al-Qaradawi's anti-Semitic rants didn't disqualify him from representing American interests at the bargaining table with the Taliban.
Nor apparently did his anti-American interests. In 2003, Qaradawi issued a fatwa for the killing of American troops:
Those killed fighting the American forces are martyrs given their good intentions since they consider these invading troops an enemy within their territories but without their will...Although they are seen by some as being wrong, those defending against attempts to control Islamic countries have the intention of jihad and bear a spirit of the defense of their homeland.
Perhaps those "good intentions" of "martyrs" bearing a "spirit in defense of their homeland" is what prompted Vice President Joe Biden to declare that the Taliban isn't an enemy of the United States. "Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical," he told Newsweek. "There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy, because it threatens U.S. interests." The Foundry blog at the Heritage Foundation puts the lie to rest, reminding us of the most recent Taliban attacks against Americans, including the Chinook helicopter shot down in August, killing 30, and the ramming of a military bus by a Taliban car bomber in October, killing 18.
Yet once Biden established the administration's rationale in public, what followed was unsurprising. Reuters reported that, in addition to having Qaradawi act as a moderator, the administration is considering transferring to Afghan custody five terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, including Mohammed Fazl, a senior commander of the Taliban army. Administration officials claimed the men would not be set free, but remain in "some sort of further custody." Reuters also reported that another part of the deal included allowing the Taliban to establish an "office" somewhere outside of Afghanistan.
How far afield have we traveled? "On my order, U.S. forces have begun strikes on terrorist camps of al Qaeda, and the military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan," said president George W. Bush on October 7, 2001. Later in the same speech he added, "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril."
Apparently, "neutrality" is a far more flexible concept for the Obama administration. Thus, a certified anti-Semite who advocates the destruction of Israel and the killing of American troops becomes a "key mediator" between America and our country's newest "non-enemy," the Taliban. National Review's Andrew McCarthy puts such grotesqueness in perspective:
After thousands of young Americans have laid down their lives to protect the United States from jihadist terror, President Obama apparently seeks to end the war by asking Qaradawi, a jihad-stoking enemy of the United States, to help him strike a deal that will install our Taliban enemies as part of the sharia state we have been building in Afghanistan...The administration will also agree to the lifting of U.N. sanctions against the Taliban, and recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political party (yes, just like the Muslim Brotherhood!). In return, the Taliban will pretend to forswear violence, to sever ties with al-Qaeda, and to cooperate with the rival Karzai regime...It would mark one of the most shameful chapters in American history.
Only if shame still has meaning. For an administration mired in the morally relative swamp of progressivism, headed by a president willing to do virtually anything to reassure his re-election, sacrificing America's strategic interests in the Middle East is becoming something akin to Mr. Obama's favorite pastime: par for the course.
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To get the whole story on why the Left helps empower Islamists, read Jamie Glazov's book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.