Obama-Odinga friendship affecting Iran?
Posted: June 25, 2009
1:00 am Eastern
In his press conference on Tuesday, President Obama condemned the Iranian regime's use of violence to suppress the post-election protests, but he left the door open to a "wait and see" attitude toward whether or not the United States would accept President Ahmadinejad as the legitimate winner of the June 12 election, if that continues to stand as the final verdict of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Notably, during the press conference, President Obama dodged answering directly a question from Fox News regarding an invitation issued by the State Department for Iranian diplomats to visit U.S. embassies during the Independence Day holiday.
If Obama intends to pursue direct negotiations with the Ahmadinejad government should the post-election violence fail to produce a new election, the administration may well be advised to contemplate how as series of photographs of Obama-supporting Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Ahmadinejad together might impact freedom fighters in Iran as well as the American public.
To explore this question, WND has taken a close look at Kenya.
Examining the extent to which Odinga and Obama have been willing to pursue direct negotiations with Ahmadinejad, WND continues to see a commonality in the foreign policies of both leaders, despite the Iranian regime's determination to suppress key freedoms within Iran, including the right to a free election.
Even as post-election protests against the re-election of Ahmadinejad continue in Iran, Kenya's Odinga, a fellow Luo tribe member, who continues to receive the strong support of President Obama, moves closer to Iran.
In a May 28 trip to Tehran, Odinga met with Ahmadinejad to agree to the establishment of Special Working Groups to advance the implementation of signed memoranda of understanding on a wide range of issues, including trade, banking, agriculture, oil and education, according to a joint communiqué issued at the end of the meeting.
Ahmadinejad and Odinga
This follows a Feb. 25 trip Ahmadinejad made to Kenya in which he held a one-on-one meeting with Odinga at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi.
WND previously reported that when then-Sen. Obama visited Kenya in 2006, the administration of President Kibaki objected that Odinga was using Obama's visit to win votes. Obama's repeated public appearances with Odinga and the senator's almost daily criticism of the Kigaki government added to the administration's objections.
WND has also reported that Obama, with a donation of nearly $1 million, and a son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi were among the biggest contributors to Odinga's 2007 presidential campaign, according to an internal document obtained by WND in Kenya.
WND has further reported that Odinga, prior to the 2007 election, concluded a written agreement with Muslim leaders stipulating that if they delivered him the Muslim vote, he would in turn, once elected, change the constitution to declare Islamic law as the ruling authority in Muslim-dominated regions.
Odinga took over the office of prime minister in Kenya after his campaign called for protests of an election he lost by more than 200,000 votes to incumbent President Kibaki. The resulting violence by marauding Luo tribe members against Kibaki's majority Kikuyu tribe left 1,100 people dead, hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes and 800 Christian churches damaged or destroyed. No Islamic mosques were damaged.
The violence appears to have been part of Odinga's campaign strategy. Former members of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement party, or ODM, claim Obama did not call on Odinga to drop his voter-fraud campaign or withdraw from his pursuit of the presidency even after he lost and the violence erupted.
WND has confirmed that at one point, then-United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice actually pressured Kenyan Vice President Kolonzo to step down from his position to bring the Odinga-connected Luo-mob protest violence to an end by appointing Odinga vice president so he could assume the nation's second-highest political office.
When Kolonzo refused to step down, Annan and Rice proposed the Odinga-inspired plan of appointing him as prime minister, a position not defined in the Kenyan constitution, effectively allowing Odinga to share the head-of-state position with Kibaki.