U.S. congressman meets with Mubarak's banned rival
[QUOTE][B][SIZE=5]U.S. congressman meets with Mubarak's banned rival[/SIZE][/B]
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- A top U.S. Democratic congressman met a leader of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's most powerful rival, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, U.S. officials and the Islamist group said Saturday.
Visiting House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's parliamentary bloc, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, twice on Thursday -- once at the parliament building and then at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan.
U.S. Embassy spokesman John Berry would confirm only that Hoyer, who represents Maryland, met with el-Katatni at U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone's home at a reception with other politicians and parliament members.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has refused in the past to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group.
But Berry said U.S. government policy does not bar meetings with Brotherhood members of parliament and Hoyer's talks with el-Katatni were not a change in U.S. policy toward the group.
"It's our diplomatic practice around the world to meet with parliamentarians, be they members of political parties or independents," Berry said.
Once notorious for assassinations and militant activity, the Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s. Though officially banned since 1954, it is tolerated by the government and in recent years, has focused on politics and social welfare.
The group got its biggest boost in 2005 when its members, who ran as independents, became the largest parliament opposition bloc, winning one-fifth of its 454 seats. But as the Brotherhood's popularity increased, so did government crackdowns on its supporters.
The State Department and the White House had no comment Saturday on Hoyer's meetings with the group.
Berry stressed that Hoyer met with el-Katatni in his capacity as an independent member of Egyptian parliament. He would not say what the two discussed.
Hassan said the two lawmakers discussed developments in the Middle East, the "Brotherhood's vision" and opposition movements in Egypt. He said the two met privately at the ambassador's home and with other members of Hoyer's bipartisan delegation and Egyptian lawmakers at the parliament building.
Hoyer's meeting came just a day after Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi drew sharp criticism from the Bush administration for meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus.
Pelosi and other Democrats argue the administration needs to engage Syria to resolve some of the most intractable problems in the Middle East, such as Iraq and the Israeli-Arab conflict. But the Bush administration rejects that approach, accusing Syria of exacerbating the troubles in neighboring Iraq and Lebanon.
Jon Alterman, a Mideast specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Bush administration officials may have avoided meeting Muslim Brotherhood members because it could strain relations with the secular Egyptian government, one of the closest U.S. allies in the Arab world.
"The difficulty when it gets to Egypt is that the Brotherhood is not a legal group within Egypt and the U.S. government is wary of violating laws in countries in which it operates," he told The Associated Press on Saturday.
"The larger constraint on our willingness to meet the Brotherhood is the Egyptian government's unease with our government's meeting with the Brotherhood."
Hoyer, who also met with Mubarak during his visit, left Egypt on Friday. A telephone message left with his spokeswoman Saturday was not immediately returned. Calls to el-Katatni also went unanswered Saturday.
The Muslim Brotherhood's parliament bloc Web site said the meetings were not part of an effort to engage the United States.
"The Brotherhood not only has reservations on dialogue with the Americans but rejects the unfair American policy in the region," the Web site said.
The United States has put pressure on Mubarak regarding other opposition figures including Ayman Nour, a secular politician who was jailed after challenging Mubarak in the 2005 presidential elections. But Washington has remained silent on similar campaigns against the Brotherhood.
Washington has been pressing Mubarak for years to enact reforms as part of a Bush administration campaign to spread democracy in the Mideast.
Egypt has come under criticism from democracy activists over constitutional amendments Mubarak billed as a reform package that were passed in a referendum last month. The Egyptian government said the referendum passed by a landslide, but even the U.S. administration expressed skepticism about the official figures.
The Brotherhood and other opposition groups have decried the amendments as limiting freedoms, excluding the Brotherhood from becoming a legitimate political party and perpetuating Mubarak's grip on power.
Rice expressed concern in March that "all voices" were not being heard in the debate over the amendments.
"There's been a growing sense in Washington over 20 years that Islamic politics are here to stay, and the U.S. interest in promoting democracy around the world means we should be engaging with a growing number of actors," Alterman said.[/QUOTE]
Interesting, insofar as the Dems continue to perform a "Showdow Diplomacy" outside and against the wishes of the current Administration.
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[QUOTE=bitonti]warfish General Patraeus said there will be no military victory in Iraq - the implication is there needs to be a diplomatic solution
what does Bush do? Ramp up troop levels, still refuses to talk to people he doesn't like.
what do you do? Criticize democrats for trying to fix the situation.[/QUOTE]
he did??? where did you get this spin from??? daily kos or another lunatic leftist site???
this is exactly what he said....
[QUOTE]April 09, 2007
[B]General Petraeus' letter to the Iraq People
To the Iraqi People: [/B]
Monday, April 9, 2007 will mark the 4th anniversary of the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein's regime. For many in Iraq and around the world, it will be a time for reflection on the early days after liberation in 2003 and on what has transpired since then.
As one of those who was part of the "fight to Baghdad," I remember well the hopes and dreams of the Iraqi people when coalition soldiers pulled down Saddam's statue in Firdos Square in April 2003. Looking back, I recall a sense of enormous promise -- promise that, in many respects and for a variety of reasons, has yet to be fully realized. If we are honest with each other, in fact, we will acknowledge that while there have been substantial accomplishments in Iraq since 2003, the past four years have also been disappointing, frustrating, and increasingly dangerous in many parts of Iraq for those who have been involved in helping to build a new state in this ancient land.
On this April 9th, some Iraqis reportedly may demonstrate against the coalition force presence in Iraq. That is their right in the new Iraq. It would only be fair, however, to note that they will be able to exercise that right because coalition forces liberated them from a tyrannical, barbaric regime that never would have permitted such freedom of expression.
Those who take to the streets should recall, moreover, that were it not for the actions of coalition forces in 2003 (and, to be sure, actions by Iraqi, as well as coalition, forces since then), they also would not have been able to celebrate the recent religious holidays as they did in such massive numbers. Nor would they have been able to select their leaders by free and democratic elections, vote on their constitution, or take at least the initial steps toward establishment of a government that is representative of, and responsive to, all Iraqis.
It is particularly important to me that "Najafis," the citizens of Najaf, recall these facts, for in 2003 I was privileged to command the 101st Airborne Division, the unit that liberated the holy city of Najaf and its sister city, Kufa. The battle of Najaf was, in fact, our first significant combat action in Iraq. Following its conclusion, we went on to defeat the elements of Saddam's army and the Saddam Fedayeen that fought us in Kifl, Karbala, and Al Hillah, before securing and stabilizing southern Baghdad, Haditha, and, eventually, Mosul and Ninevah Province. Our soldiers sacrificed greatly to give the Najafis and millions of other Iraqis the freedoms, however imperfect they may be, that they enjoy today.
While the establishment of the new Iraq has included a number of noteworthy achievements, it has also had its share of setbacks. Indeed, the coalition's efforts have not been without mistakes. I acknowledged a number of them during my appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January.
I would add, however, that the coalition has, at the least, consistently sought to learn from its mistakes. And, when those mistakes have involved unacceptable conduct, coalition authorities have taken administrative and legal action against those responsible. The coalition has, despite its occasional missteps, worked hard to serve all Iraqis and to bolster those who support a new Iraq founded on the principles now enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution.
Iraq, four years after liberation, faces serious challenges. The sectarian violence that escalated after the Samarra mosque bombing in 2006 was an enormous setback. Indeed, it tore the very fabric of Iraqi society. The damage done is still readily apparent in various neighborhoods of Baghdad and in many areas outside the capital.
Now Iraqi and coalition security forces are engaged in a renewed effort to improve security for the Iraqi people and to provide Iraq's leaders an opportunity to come to grips with the tough issues that must be dealt with to help foster reconciliation among the people of Iraq and to enable achievement of conditions that permit the withdrawal of coalition forces.
[B]As the commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, and having given some 2-1/2 years of my life to this endeavor, I would like to take this opportunity to call for support of the new security plan. [/B] I ask all Iraqis to reject violence and the foreigners who fuel it with their money, arms, ammunition, training, and misguided young men. Beyond that, I ask, as well, for all Iraqis to notify Iraqi or coalition forces when those who would perpetrate violence on their fellow citizens or security forces enter their neighborhoods.
Coalition soldiers liberated Iraq from Saddam's "Republic of Fear." Now Iraqis must reject those who seek to drive wedges between people who have, in the past, lived in harmony in the Land of the Two Rivers. This is a time for Iraqis to demonstrate to the world their innate goodness, their desire to respect those of other sects and ethnic groups, and their wish to stitch back together the fabric of Iraqi society. Only in this way can Iraqis make the most of the opportunity that Iraqi and coalition security forces are striving to give them. And only in this way can the dreams of those who live in a country so rich in blessings and promise be fully realized.
David H. Petraeus
General, United States Army[/QUOTE]
CB, it's a very good letter but the problem is clear in the last portion.
[QUOTE]Only in this way can Iraqis make the most of the opportunity that Iraqi and [B]coalition security forces are striving to give them[/B]. And only in this way can the dreams of those who live in a country so rich in blessings and promise be fully realized.[/QUOTE]
It doesn't seem likely that we can give it to them. They are going to have to take it on their own.
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[QUOTE=bitonti]he says it right here:
"There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq..."
story of your life: CBNY you should be apologizing for being dead ass wrong (and proven as such) instead of forging ahead and continuing to insult people.[/QUOTE]
to equate "no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq" to "no military victory in Iraq" is classic of a radical leftist like yourself.....defiant with the need to spin to further your agenda, regardless of the topic or the situation...
in his letter Petraeus points out what the military victory has already given to Iraqi's....
[QUOTE=Come Back to NY]to equate "no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq" to "no military victory in Iraq" is classic of a radical leftist like yourself.....defiant with the need to spin to further your agenda, regardless of the topic or the situation...
in his letter Petraeus points out what the military victory has already given to Iraqi's....[/QUOTE]
It's easy to get cought up in what we gave to them but what we gave to them is based on our values. It may not be very meaningful to them at all? I'm sure it is to many including the kurds who have established a working community but it may not be workable in the rest of the country.