Obama Wins $20 Billion Pledge for “Arab Spring”
“We agreed that we have made progress on our Libya campaign, but that meeting the U.N. mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Qaddafi remains in Libya directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people.”
Vice President Joe Biden is telling audiences that President Obama staked his presidency on the raid to kill Usama bin Laden, but it is looking increasingly like Obama’s biggest bet is on the wave of revolt sweeping through the Arab world.
Obama’s plan is to provide huge financial support for the new government taking shape in the region and now, a deepening commitment to the eastern tribes in Libya’s civil war.
While killing bin Laden had risks, it also had lots and lots of political advantages, as the administration continues to crow about. The move to embrace the Arab revolts, especially while playing hardball with longstanding allies Israel and Saudi Arabia has a less obvious political benefit.
Even in the best-case scenario in the wave of revolts, the Egyptian uprising about which the president has so often rhapsodized, the new government, which is a blend of military junta and Islamism, has been causing serious anxiety.
The Egyptians have been spurring the Palestinians into a more confrontational stance with the Israelis by helping to bring terror group Hamas into their government and lifting a blockade imposed to help the Israelis keep weapons out of terrorist hands.
Obama not only called for more economic assistance for the movement during his meeting with European leaders but also expressed support for the efforts to kill Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, a far departure from the original humanitarian aims expressed by the president.
Again, the presence of Islamists casts a shadow over the would-be government there.
Obama’s decision to realign American alliances in the region at a time of such uncertainty and upheaval could be costly as 2012 approaches.