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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pelosi In Syria

There was quite the hubbub this week when pictures were released of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wearing a hijab while visiting the Omayad Mosque in Syria.

On The Savage Nation Monday, Mike shocked many listeners when he came out in support of Pelosi's trip, saying if some good came of this, than she is doing more to better U.S. relations with Muslim countries than the White House, where they unilaterally condemned the mission (which included three Republicans). Savage called her courageous for making the sign of the cross in front of the tomb where the Muslims keep the head of John the Baptist, the most important man in Christianity behind Jesus himself. Several callers expressed their dismay to Mike, one even accusing him of being a Communist for supporting the trip. Mike went on to speculate that the White House probably tacitly if not actively endorsed the trip in private, while condemning it publicly to save face-I will return to this later.

I agree with Savage that if something good can come of this mission, more power to her. However, I felt that he missed on (or ignored) a couple of important points.

First, to call her “courageous” for making the sign of the cross inside a Mosque is disingenuous on his part, because Speaker Pelosi is the third most powerful person in the government of the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth, and an accredited diplomat with immunity. She could have walked in to that Mosque, pulled out a Koran and took a dump on it and all that would have happened was that she would have been declared persona non grata, and kicked out of the country.

Second, she wore a hijab, not a “headscarf”. Granted they probably would not have let her enter the Mosque without one, but she decided to don the Muslim symbol of misogyny and the oppression of women. The great liberal feminist from San Francisco willingly wore the hijab, and therefore tacitly supported the Muslim oppression of women. This would be no different than an American diplomat strapping on a swastika arm-band before attending a rally at the Reichstag in 1939.

A story today from the AP said that Syria was “instrumental” in negotiating the release of the British sailors and Marines. The implication is that Pelosi was in part responsible:
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria played a key role in resolving the standoff over the 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran, two government officials said Wednesday. “Syrian efforts and the Iranian willingness culminated with the release of the British sailors," said Information Minister Mohsen Bilal.

He said Syria had been asked "to help positively in the issue of British" crew members since their March 23 seizure by Iran in the Persian Gulf. He did not elaborate. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told reporters that "Syria exercised a sort of quiet diplomacy to solve this problem and encourage dialogue" between Britain and Iran.

Al-Moallem, who also did not give any details on the Syrian mediation, spoke at Damascus international airport before the departure of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Saudi Arabia.
I think that releasing the hostages is likely a political move on Iran’s part, and a brilliant one at that when you think about it, especially in an Islamic context. While the Syrian officials quoted do not state that Pelosi-a woman-negotiated the release, it is clearly implied. This makes Bush look weak, and it makes the U.K. look even weaker, especially in the eyes of Muslims. This also makes Ahmadinejad look just and compassionate for releasing the Brits, whom "invaded” Iranian waters to “spy”. There seems to be little coverage of Iran's nuclear program or U.N. sanctions this week, because of this story. Mahmoud may be fanatic, but he isn’t stupid.

Earlier I mentioned Savage said that the White House may have supported this mission in private. This story came out yesterday:

While U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's upcoming visit to Syria has caused the White House to bristle, a little-publicized rendezvous took place Sunday between Syria's president and Lancaster County's congressman. And though Bush administration officials have been criticizing Pelosi, it's not clear what role the White House and the U.S. Department of State played when U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts and two other Republican congressmen met with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Pitts is a Chester County Republican who represents Lancaster County. Gabe Neville, Pitts' chief of staff, said Monday the conference between Assad and the three Republicans was intended to be "low profile." "It was done in cooperation with the administration," he said.

However, White House spokesman Alex Conant said Monday the Bush administration — as a blanket policy — "discourages all of (Congress') visits" to Syria, a country believed by the White House to sponsor terrorism.
Huh. I think either way Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his puppet Syria win the gold medal for this round. The next question I have to ask is if Iran knew about Pelosi’s trip before the Brits were captured? If so that would seem to indicate a security leak in the State Department or White House. Just a thought.



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