The largest Islamic nation in the Middle East is on the verge of descending into civil war, the Syrian civil war is starting to spill over into Lebanon, and the worst violence in five years has just hit Iraq, but Barack Obama is way too busy to be bothered with any of that. Right now, Obama is enjoying one of the true loves of his life – golf. According to the Washington Post, Obama has “played 18 holes of golf every day but one this week”, and without a doubt he appears to really be enjoying his time up in Martha’s Vineyard. I hear that it is absolutely beautiful up there this time of the year. And apparently he needs the rest. After all, prior to this vacation he has only had time to play 133 rounds of golf since becoming president. Between snubbing world leaders and getting the U.S. economy going again, it must be really tough for Obama to find enough time to sharpen his game.
Of course I am being facetious. It is absolutely ridiculous how much time Obama takes off, and Congress is even worse. Congress is taking a five week vacation right now. Most Americans don’t get that much vacation in an entire year.
Meanwhile, as our leaders enjoy their rest, the Middle East is coming apart at the seams.
In Egypt, authorities say that 638 people are now confirmed dead and another 3,994 people were wounded in the nightmarish violence that erupted in Cairo this week. Hundreds of bodies remain uncounted by the authorities, and it appears very likely that Egypt is rapidly heading down the path to full-blown civil war…
Angry supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi staged protests and burned buildings Thursday as President Obama condemned the violence on both sides and canceled next month’s joint military operations.
The unrest came a day after at least 638 people were killed in violence nationwide, including 43 police officers, the Health Ministry said. Most of the deaths occurred when security forces smashed two pro-Morsi sit-in camps in the capital. In the Nasr City district, 288 people were killed.
The Health Ministry said 3,994 people were injured.
After the police moved on the camps, street battles broke out across Egypt. Government buildings and police stations were attacked, roads were blocked, and Christian churches were torched, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said.
Sadly, some of the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have chosen to express their fury with the government by setting Christian homes, businesses and churches on fire. According to one report, 18 churches have been torched so far…
Now, with the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members by the Egyptian army, Islamist fanatics are taking out their frustrations on Coptic Christians. In the past few days, there has been a spate of attacks on Christian businesses, homes, and churches. As of Wednesday morning, according to local witnesses, at least 18 churches had been destroyed, and fires and riots were continuing to spread in Christian areas, the witnesses said.
This is absolutely despicable, and it is turning out to be one of the worst disasters for Coptic Christians ever recorded. Over the past few days, Twitter has been absolutely flooded with reports about what has been happening to Christians in Egypt…
Using the hashtag #EgyChurch, Egyptian users of Twitter and other social networks broadcast messages like “Can’t keep up with the number of churches, Christian businesses, and affiliates being attacked by ‘peaceful’ Muslim Brotherhood,” “It’s clear the Copts are having their churches burnt,” and “This is quickly becoming the worst sectarian catastrophe we’ve seen in our lifetimes.”
Meanwhile, the violence in Iraq continues to escalate. The following is how Reuters described what happened in Baghdad on Thursday…
Car bomb attacks killed at least 34 people in Baghdad on Thursday but the Interior Ministry said it would not allow al Qaeda, which it blames for a surge in sectarian violence, to turn Iraq into another Syria.
More than 100 people were wounded in at least eight blasts, one of which was near the “Green Zone” diplomatic complex, part of a wave of bloodshed that has taken the monthly death toll in Iraq to the highest levels in five years.
“Iraq’s streets have become a battleground for sectarian people who are motivated by hatred and religious edicts and daring to kill innocent people,” the Interior Ministry said in an unusually frank statement.
“It is our destiny to win this battle which is aimed at destroying the country and turning it into another Syria,” the ministry said.
And the absolutely brutal civil war in Syria is now spilling over into Lebanon. On Thursday, a Shiite stronghold in Beirut was hit by the worst car bomb attack that Lebanon has witnessed in decades…
A powerful car bomb tore through a bustling south Beirut neighborhood that is a stronghold of Hezbollah on Thursday, killing at least 18 and trapping dozens of others in an inferno of burning cars and buildings in the bloodiest attack yet on Lebanese civilians linked to Syria’s civil war.
The blast is the second in just over a month to hit one of the Shiite militant group’s bastions of support, and the deadliest in decades. It raises the specter of a sharply divided Lebanon being pulled further into the conflict next door, which is being fought on increasingly sectarian lines pitting Sunnis against Shiites.
And of course we shouldn’t forget about the war in Yemen either. Sadly, as Ron Paul recently noted, most Americans don’t even realize what is going on in Yemen…
Most Americans are probably unaware that over the past two weeks the US has launched at least eight drone attacks in Yemen, in which dozens have been killed. It is the largest US escalation of attacks on Yemen in more than a decade. The US claims that everyone killed was a “suspected militant,” but Yemeni citizens have for a long time been outraged over the number of civilians killed in such strikes. The media has reported that of all those killed in these recent US strikes, only one of the dead was on the terrorist “most wanted” list.
This significant escalation of US attacks on Yemen coincides with Yemeni President Hadi’s meeting with President Obama in Washington earlier this month. Hadi was installed into power with the help of the US government after a 2011 coup against its long-time ruler, President Saleh. It is in his interest to have the US behind him, as his popularity is very low in Yemen and he faces the constant threat of another coup.
Unfortunately, this is probably only just the beginning.
The violence in the Middle East is probably going to get much worse, and at some point I expect a major regional war to erupt in the years ahead.
But instead of going back to the White House and at least giving the appearance of being on top of things, Obama plans to continue his golf vacation.
This is so negligent that even the Washington Post is ripping him to shreds…
In a sense, then, Obama might as well play golf. He’s dropped the ball on Egypt and the entire region, leaving the United States with few options and the Egyptian people to a bloody future in the short run and a repressive authoritarian junta in the longer run. This is a policy failure of the highest order.
But this is just par for the course for Obama.
As we learned this week, this is the guy that was actually playing cards during the bin Laden raid…
Despite the picture the White House released showing President Obama intently watching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, his former “body man” says the president spent most of the raid playing a card game.
“Most people were like down in the Situation Room and [the president] was like, ‘I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing.’ So he, myself, Pete Souza, the White House photographer, Marvin [Nicholson], we must have played 15 games of spades,” former Obama aide Reggie Love said at an event in Los Angeles sponsored by The Artists & Athletes Alliance in July.
Love, who played college basketball and football at Duke University, left the White House in 2011 to attend business school.
You can see video of Obama’s former “body man”, Reggie Love, making these remarks right here.
When it comes to foreign policy, Obama seems to be totally clueless.
So what would happen someday if a major foreign policy crisis erupted that actually seriously threatened our national security?
Would Obama be up to the task?
Let’s hope that we don’t have to find out.