President Barack Obama's record in battling terrorism has proved so weak that one wonders whether he really takes the terrorism issue seriously.
Since he has taken office, the president has: Announced closure of Guantanamo Declined to prosecute the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing Closed all overseas CIA interrogation centers Appointed an attorney general and Justice Department officials on record as opposed to the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques in terror investigations Granted Al Arabiya television his first news organization interview and called Fatah Party leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his first phone contact with any foreign leader.
Now, with no strings attached, the president has allocated $20.3 million in "post-conflict humanitarian aid" to "Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza." The additional funds bring U.S. aid commitments in Gaza to $60 million.
Of course, Gaza is totally controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, which grabs any aid that arrives and uses it for its own purposes. In fact, on Feb. 7, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency — the body charged with distributing the new U.S. aid — announced that it was suspending assistance in Gaza because 10 lorries, laden with humanitarian supplies, were seized by Hamas members.
It was the second time that week that Hamas has stolen aid destined for the agency.
Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the relief agency, told Al-Jazeera that U.N. aid shipments would not restart until the goods were returned. "Until we get all of this aid back, and until we receive credible assurances from the Hamas government, the suspension of our imports of aid into Gaza will continue,” he said.
Responding to the obvious low profile Obama is giving his battle against terrorism, two key nations — one an adversary and the other an ally — both acted to aid al-Qaida in the days after Obama's inauguration. Neither got so much as a verbal slap on the wrist from the new administration.
The Associated Press reported on Feb. 8 that Yemen, which boasts of having a "truce" with al-Qaida, "released 170 men it had arrested on suspicion of having ties to al-Qaida." The announcement came "two weeks after [al-Qaida] announced that Yemen had become the base of its activities for the whole Arabian Peninsula."
Yemen also has made it clear that it expects most of the 100 remaining Yemenis at Guantanamo (out of the 250 inmates still there) to be sent home after Obama orders the prison shut.
And, Pakistan, a supposed ally, just concluded a deal with the Taliban ceding to its control an area on the Afghan/Paki border that its troops had tried, but failed, to capture. The Taliban now has the same deal it had in Afghanistan: a protected sanctuary from which to launch raids on the West. In view of the administration's passive acquiescence in the Paki decision, one is driven to ask, Why do we still care about freedom in Afghanistan?
On all fronts, the message from Obama is the same: surrender, pull back, and become weak. It is a matter of time until al-Qaida and other terrorists walk through the door he and his appointees are holding open and hit us again.
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