Sunday, March 1, 2015

Arab rulers meet Obama, declare "solidarity" against Ferguson "plot"

[Originally posted at NOW Blog]

As US President Barack Obama scrambled Wednesday to contain domestic unrest that has seen multiple killings of civilians by police, mass arrests, the firing of tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at demonstrators, and the establishment of military checkpoints in the streets, the commander-in-chief received a surprise show of support from a perhaps unlikely source. In a rare display of unity, the leaders of the Arab world set aside their political differences, economic rivalries, and murderous sectarian proxy wars to travel to Washington, DC, to personally deliver to the president what they called a “message of full solidarity in the face of the global criminal conspiracy.”

“I know better than anyone what it’s like for a great, free nation to come under attack from thousands of terrorists in its own streets,” said Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, kicking off the proceedings at the White House reception in a pair of dark sunglasses. “Indeed, as of this week, it’s been exactly one year since the patriots of the Egyptian army finally liberated our capital from the insurgents’ grip, in what was the most glorious milestone yet in what your honorable Secretary of State, Mr Kerry, has described as our ‘restoring democracy.’ President Obama, like myself, is a leader for all his people. And I praise his iron determination, but also his humane restraint, in confronting the enemies of his people, whether they be armed gangsters or journalists.”

“Barack and I haven’t seen entirely eye to eye in recent years,” joked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after taking the podium, drawing laughs and a round of delighted applause as a grinning Obama mimed an ‘oops’ gesture with his hand. “But today we face a common danger, a cancer that threatens us both equally. There can be no reasoning, no negotiating, with cancer. One can only exterminate it.”

“And Lord knows I know a thing or two about extermination,” he added with a wink, earning another eruption of laughter and even, according to one aide present, a standing ovation from Obama.

Following Assad was the Bahraini ruler, King Sheikh Hamad al-Khalifa. “The American police have rightly identified the groups assaulting them – who pose as so-called reformists and shed crocodile tears about equality – as dangerous ‘agitators’ and ‘criminals.’ We in Bahrain know the dirty tricks of such provocateurs very well. And I think I speak for everyone here when I say it’s a source of great personal pride to me that the tactics – not to mention the munitions themselves – used by your brave security forces in resisting these traitors were first used in my own country against precisely the same enemy.” A concert of sober applause broke out, and a suddenly serious Obama placed his palm on his heart and nodded in appreciation.

After several more speeches along similar lines, including an assurance from Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim al-Thani that coverage of the events on Al Jazeera America would exclude anything “disrespectful” toward the Obama government, the president himself took to the podium to accept a Cartier diamond-encrusted golden dagger from the ruler of the United Arab Emirates.

Asked to say a few words, Obama began with a deadpan rejoinder to the Syrian president: “It’s always a gas when Bashar’s around.”

“Seriously, though, it’s good to see you guys,” he continued, scanning the faces of the Omanis, Yemenis, Sudanese, and Kuwaitis. “I had kind of forgotten half of you existed.” After a jumbled, seemingly distracted thirty second pronouncement on “freedom,” he excused himself, explaining a helicopter was waiting to return him to his vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard. “Tee-off’s in an hour,” he said to confused frowns. “That bastard Biden’s probably already on the range.”

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Israel had already made its own statement of support to the Ferguson police force’s crackdown. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had hoped to join the delegation in D.C. but was unable to obtain travel permits. Lebanon, currently having no head of state, was absent, though as one diplomat who preferred to remain anonymous quipped, “With Syria and Saudi attending, you could say the Lebanese government was already amply represented.”

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