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Are Restrictions Being Eased on the Sheikh?

It’s no secret that the Obama administration has reversed longstanding American policy and reached out to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Successive elections in the wake of the Arab Spring have gone a long way to legitimizing the Islamist group. At the same time, the Obama administration is notoriously poor at negotiations.  Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher was handily outplayed by Vladimir Putin when she negotiated the START treaty. Then, in order to entice the Taliban to open a diplomatic office in Qatar, Obama offered up everything the Taliban wanted before negotiations even began, much to the detriment of U.S. national security. Now word comes from an Egyptian newspaper that restrictions are being eased on Umar Abd-al-Rahman, the so-called “Blind Sheikh” and mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

According to the independent, liberal Al-Yawm as-Sabi (translation courtesy of the Open Source Center):

Al-Yawm as-Sabi has learnt from well-informed U.S. and diplomatic sources that a tangible change has occurred to the way Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman is treated in the U.S. prison where he has been detained for about 19 years. Informed sources affirmed that U.S. authorities have eased its tight measures against Shaykh Umar to a great extent. This ease involves treating him in a “good” way in prison and allowing his doctor to visit him and check on his health condition and he [Shaykh Abd-al-Rahman] has already started to receive close medical attention. Sources close to [name withheld], lawyer for Abd-al-Rahman, said that the shaykh had been allowed to contact his family and some Egyptian bodies after he was recently banned from contacting them. The sources link the good treatment the shaykh is currently receiving to the release of the U.S. nationals accused in the [NGOs] foreign funding case, which backs the recently-circulated news about a secret deal between the U.S. administration and the Egyptian government. Meanwhile, Abdullah, son of the shaykh, voiced hope the news of the deal is true and that the shaykh will be actually released.

Say it ain’t so. The Obama administration may praise the Muslim Brotherhood for their “moderating role” as Egypt blackmails America over the detained democracy workers, but if the price the Muslim Brotherhood extracts is the easing of conditions for an unrepentant mass murderer, then that not only reflects the reality of the Muslim Brotherhood today but also Obama’s historical amnesia.



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