Embassy Row: Belly laughs in Egypt
Even belly dancers are making fun of President Obama and his beleaguered ambassador in Cairo, as many Egyptians accuse the U.S. of trying to restore the ousted Muslim Brotherhood-led government.
Dancer Sama Al Masry undulated to Arab music in a video that went viral on the Internet — and is featured on The Washington Times website this week.
She teased Mr. Obama, cursing at the president and bragging about the strength of the U.S.-financed Egyptian army, which is due to receive $1.3 billion next year. She also heaped scorn on U.S. Ambassador Anne W. Patterson.
In the video, the belly dancer calls the career diplomat a “very wicked woman,” as the computer-generated face of a snarling Mrs. Patterson pops up in the background.
In Cairo, the ambassador has become a symbol of what many Egyptians see as the Obama administration’s confused approach to a restive country that has gone through 2 years of turmoil.
Mrs. Patterson soon could be the official in charge of implementing U.S. policy throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Mr. Obama last week nominated her to serve as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, a position that requires confirmation by the Senate, where some Republicans have criticized her for defending the Morsi government as it became authoritarian.
Foreign policy analysts expect Mr. Obama to replace her with veteran diplomat Robert Ford, who most recently served as U.S. ambassador to Syria. The United States shuttered its embassy in Damascus and evacuated its diplomatic staff in February 2012.
ENVOY TO THE POPE
Kenneth F. Hackett, who retired as the agency’s president in 2011 after 18 years, replaces Ambassador Miguel H. Diaz, who left Rome eight months ago.
“We are overjoyed that the country will be represented by a man who, through his decades of service, has demonstrated his commitment to the dignity and sanctity of life and fighting global poverty,” said Carolyn Woo, Catholic Relief Services‘ president and CEO. “We look forward to working with the new ambassador as he engages the Vatican and Pope Francis towards the common goal of advancing peace and justice in the world.”
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