Obama administration officials were given multiple opportunities Wednesday to offer its support for Egypt’s retaliatory strikes against Islamic State insurgents who beheaded 21 Coptic Christians Sunday.
The officials declined each and every one of them, all making one wonder, whose side is the administration on? Egypt, a long-time ally in the Middle East, or Islamic State terrorists?
According to The Daily Beast:
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest passed on a reporter’s question about an endorsement of Egypt’s growing campaign against ISIS. So did State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
When pressed, one U.S. official would only tell The Beast, “We are neither condemning nor condoning” the Egyptian airstrikes.
Why on earth would the administration condemn Egypt’s military operation against a mutual enemy, and why won’t U.S. officials give it their stamp of approval?
Combine that with the milquetoast war powers request President Obama sent to Congress to deal with the insurgents, and his statement Wednesday that the terrorists have “legitimate grievances,” and it all points to a growing strain between the two countries.
And other statements by administration officials bear this out.
“The Egyptian military, in particular, is very frustrated with us,” one told The Daily Beast.
That’s understandable. What’s not understandable is what the official said next.
“It is mutual frustration.”
The Daily Beast reported:
Egypt did not inform the United States, its longtime ally, before the operation [to strike the terrorists in Libya]. And the United States stopped far short of backing Egypt’s effort. Rather, the U.S. called for a political solution in Libya, which is divided between two rival governments, each backed by different militias. Egypt’s call Wednesday for the United Nations to create a naval blockade to stop weapons transport to Libya was met with relative silence by the United States. And at the Pentagon, the military campaign against ISIS remains centered on Iraq and Syria.
It’s easy for the United States — geographically far removed from Islamic State terrorist activities, to seek a “political solution” to the problem. But Egypt is right in the midst of it, and its leaders are well-aware that terrorists don’t respond to “political solutions.”
Alliances used to be simple. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” is an ancient proverb, often suggested as having Arab origins.
Egypt’s enemy at the moment is the Islamic State. That’s also supposed to be our enemy. Isn’t it?
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