Friday, March 4, 2011

Robert Levinson's predicament: Obama isn't itching for a fight

Robert [Bob] Levinson, a former FBI agent-turned-private detective, who disappeared off the Iranian island of Kish in March of 2007, is apparently still alive, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday.

Levinson traveled to Iran in 2007 to investigate a cigarette smuggling ring. Kish, a popular Iranian resort area is a hotbed of smuggling and organized crime. It is also a free trade zone: U.S. citizens do not need visas to travel there.

The New York Times reported [in 2009] that Levinson had vanished shortly after meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam wanted for the 1980 murder of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, an Iranian dissident in the U.S., who was a former Iranian diplomat under the shah and a fierce critic of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

In an interview with former CNN host, Larry King, in September of 2010, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, feigned ignorance when asked if he knew of Levinson's whereabouts:
KING: What about Robert Levinson? This is the former FBI agent. He's been missing in Iran for three -- over three years, hasn't been heard from. First, can you tell us, is he alive? Is he OK?

AHMADINEJAD: I think we should ask that question from the FBI.

KING: But he's in your country

AHMADINEJAD: How would I know? How am I supposed to know? There are many individuals, many people who come to our country and then leave.

KING: So you have no idea where he is?

AHMADINEJAD: He came and he left. As usual. No.
The Iranian President, however, then had the following ominous exchange with Mr. King:
KING: You know, Mr. President, if it were your children -- if one of your children crossed the border of another country and were being held, you would be very concerned and you would press the issue, would you not?

AHMADINEJAD: If my child violates a law, justice must be served. Because law ensures security. And stability. And laws must be observed because if they are to be violated, there shall be no security....
VIDEO of the interview

[It is unclear what kind of 'laws" Ahmadinejad was reffering to; U.S. citizens do not need visas to travel to Kish.]

In December of 2010, President Obama, in defending his tax-cut deal with Republicans, emphasized the need to negotiate with hostage-takers.

"The middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts" by the Republicans, said Obama. "The hostage was the American people," he sadded. Obama went on to explain that he was forced to cut a deal with the Republican hostage-takers in order to free the American hostages, namely, the American people.

However, it seems the Iranian hostage-takers are considerably more difficult to please then the Republican hostage-takers, as evidenced both by Robert Levinson's captivity and other American hostages currently languishing in Iranian prisons.

Hence, the Appeaser-in-Chief may need to resort to some additional back-scratching if he is to win the hostages freedom. Ahmadinejad's back is apparently still itching for some more of Obama's highly popular scratching remedies.

Truth be told, that may not be a bad thing for the President, for indeed, appeasement is the crux of Obama's foreign policy and New World Order. Tough language is simply not part of his lexicon, at least when it comes to confronting the likes of Ahmadinejad. Bare in mind that the President, when defending his tax-cut deal with Republicans, pledged that he would confront the GOP aggressively in 2011.

“I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether or not I’m itching for a fight on a whole range of issues,” he said. “I suspect they will find I am.

I suspect that when it comes to winning the freedom of Robert Levinson and other American hostages detained in Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knows full well that Obama is not itching for a fight; and, in all likelihood, he isn't itching to bring the hostages back home any time soon. Ahmadinejad, it seems, is not deserving of a fight, the Republicans are.

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