Thursday, July 09, 2009

Obama Continues to Release Terrorists

George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists...
Barack Obama

In point of fact, Obama has not only engaged with terrorists--he has released terrorists.

On May 31, 2007, 5 British civilians were kidnapped by a terrorist group in Baghdad. Then-President Bush refused to release terrorists in return for the release of the hostages. But Obama agreed to the terrorist demands, and even then not for the first time:
By contrast, President Obama was persuaded to free Laith Qazali outright, just as Obama previously had authorized the outright release to Britain of the al-Qaeda terrorist Binyam Mohammed [link], who had plotted with “dirty bomber” José Padilla to commit post-9/11 mass-murder attacks in American cities. And although the administration has attempted to pass off Laith Qazali’s release as a necessary compromise of American national interests for the purportedly greater good of Iraqi reconciliation, the camouflage is thin indeed. Transparently, the terrorist has been freed as a quid pro quo for the release of British hostages.
The terrorists ended up changing their minds and releasing only 2 hostages--their corpses, since they had already died weeks earlier.

Now we find out that Obama has arranged for the release of 5 Iranians who have been held since 2007 after having been identified as members of Al Quds and assisting in the killing of American soldiers:
Five Iranian officials held by the US military in Iraq since January 2007 have been freed, according to Iranian state media.

Tehran’s ambassador to Baghdad was quoted as saying US forces had handed the five, whom he said were diplomats, to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

Hassan Kazemi-Qomi said they would soon be taken to the Iranian embassy.

US forces seized the five in the Kurdish city of Irbil on suspicion of arming and funding Shia militias.
Ed Morrissey on the reason for the release:
The Obama administration wants talks with the Iranian mullahs so badly that he’s not only willing to meet with them unconditionally, he’s now fulfilling their conditions to get direct talks. The Iranians had made this an issue every time the subject of direct talks arose.
Morrissey goes on to question whether there was even a quid pro quo or whether the US just gave in to Iran's demands without getting anything in return.

Can we expect Obama to impose this same kind of thinking on others? If he can demand that Israel freeze settlements, will he feel free to demand that Israel also release terrorists in the interests of 'talks'? If, indeed, the US is receiving nothing in return for the release of the 5 terrorists, will Obama feel free to demand Israel release terrorists even without anything in return?

Of course, Israel has made these kinds of concessions on its own--most recently in the case of Samir Kuntar--but it is one thing for a country to agonize over such a decision and make it on their own. It is another to have another country to dictate the need for such an act.

Even assuming that Obama would not go that far, the lengths he is willing to go to be granted the privilege of talking with Iran do not bode well for what will be required of Israel when negotiations start in earnest.

At the same time, Obama should be careful: just as his economic policies are taking a toll on his approval rating in the US, his foreign policy, with its continued appeasement of terrorists and dictators, will catch up with his standing internationally as well.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad
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