- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 6, 2013

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.

Millions of anti-government protesters last month blamed Mrs. Patterson for trying to save Islamist President Mohammed Morsi before the military toppled him.

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

Catholic Relief Services is cheering the Senate confirmation of a former director of the worldwide humanitarian agency as the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

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.”

‘STRAIGHT SHOOTER’

America’s ambassador to the U.N. is an outspoken Irish immigrant who once called Hillary Rodham Clinton a “monster” and questioned whether President Bill Clinton ignored genocide in Rwanda.

Samantha Power this week presented her diplomatic credentials to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, after winning Senate confirmation on an 87-10 vote last week.

Ms. Power, who is married to President Obama’s former regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, called the former secretary of state a “monster” in a 2008 interview with The Scotsman newspaper two days after Mrs. Clinton beat Mr. Obama in the Ohio Democratic presidential primary. Ms. Power has since spent every opportunity apologizing and expressing her admiration for Mrs. Clinton.

Ms. Power, widely praised as a human rights advocate, also questioned whether Mr. Clinton ignored the 1994 Rwanda genocide. In a 2001 article in Atlantic Monthly, she wrote that Mr. Clinton had “shown virtually no interest in stopping” the mass killings.

At her Senate confirmation hearing, Ms. Power pledged to be a “straight shooter,” promote U.S. values and oppose U.N. efforts to demonize Israel.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com or @EmbassyRow.