Middle East studies in the News
Obama's Chicago Arab-American Network Comes Into Focus [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
by Lee Cary
September 20, 2012
The linkage between Illinois and U.S. Senator Obama's network of Arab-American supporters in Chicago is cracking open.
On September 19, 2012, the Washington Examiner, as part of a series entitled "The Obama You Don't Know," reports that,
"President Obama's controversial relationships with radical figures like Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi have been well-publicized in recent years...
Less well-known is a cluster of Chicago businessmen who formed an Arab-American network at the heart of Obama's political apparatus. Ray Hanania, a Chicago-based Arab-American journalist and activist, described the network in a 2007 interview with Chicago magazine as "a small cluster of activists" in the business community who were politically involved.
Chief among them was Obama mentor Tony Rezko. Born in Aleppo, Syria, home of strongman Bashar al-Assad, Rezko migrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s and built a political and financial empire in Chicago and Springfield, the Illinois capital."
The Washington Examiner article also mentions Rezko's close association with "Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-British businessman and former Iraqi Baathist who was on a terror watch list and thus barred from entering the United States."
John A. Shaw, former senior official of US Defense, State, and Commerce departments, who has called Nadhmi Auchi "Rezko's bag man in Chicago," was responsible for Auchi being put on the terrorist watch list. His description of Auchi can be read here.
Shaw had this to say about the Washington Examiner piece:
"This is interesting, and gives a sense of how wide the Arab net was cast over the Chicago scene. Auchi was the money man for the whole network. His visa was revoked, as you know, not because he was a Baathist once upon a time and was listed as a terrorist; it was specifically because of our report in May, 2004. That prevented his planned return to Chicago in the fall to build on the Rezko land deal to become the Olympic village and God knows what other plans. His feting of Jesse Jackson in London shows that he has continuing involvement in Chicago and expects his visa to be restored by Obama when he pardons Rezko and Blago in January. The game is not over; it has only begun...(Would be interesting to look at Auchi investments in the Detroit area and his role in the Arab spy ring operating out of Detroit).
"Now that we know Auchi was involved with Rezko in a cross section of Iraqi contract schemes, with 22 trips to Damascus and Baghdad between 2003 and 2005, the dimensions of what was in prospect in Chicago becomes clearer. The focus on health and medical schemes and scams in Chicago was paralleled in Iraq, with Auchi getting the British-Iraqi Hospital. The ministry of Health was the fountainhead of corruption for all of Iraq reconstruction, and the ties in Chicago and Illinois were calculated to be a similar bonanza.
"Valerie Jarrett hired Michelle Obama as part of her hospital management company at a salary of over $300,000, and Jarrett was a key player in the quest for the 2016 Olympics. It was peculiar that Obama did not pull out all the stops when he and Michelle went to Copenhagen to press the International Olympic Committee. I would bet that with Rezko convicted and Blago on the way, and the revelations about Auchi involvement and support in Chicago, the bid had become problematic and a real danger. He may have passed the word to the committee that his trip was only pro forma. I wouldn't be surprised."
The Chicago media ignored, or only made superficial inquiries into, Obama's association with persons of interest in the Arab-American community, like Rezko and Auchi.
Meanwhile, the former U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald, used delayed sentencing tactics to keep those who could shed light on Obama's connections with Rezko and Auchi quiet.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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