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It is one of those fascinating juxtapositions that two of the people associated with Sen. Obama have had ties to Iraq. The first, of course, is Nadhmi Auchi who I detailed in this article a while ago and tangentially in this more recent one. One of his deals in post-war Iraq was with Orascom and standing up a mobile phone network which he partnered with Egyptian entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris. Orascom would get the cellphone contract for central Iraq, which was divided into North, Central and Southern zones, thus this was the area covering Baghdad and the main telecom route north to south in Iraq. With charges of vote rigging, corruption and pure inability to deliver cell phone service or even adequate handsets, the deal would be sold off in 2005 to a Kuwaiti company and renamed Iraqna.
Apparently lots of folks want you to not even think about names like Rezko and Auchi because you just may have a nerve tingling on that letter one. The reason is that Nadhmi Auchi tends to have a *lot* of connections out there, due to his past, which starts with Saddam Hussein and continues on to this day getting to meet Bashar Al-Assad, President of Syria via his ties to the British parliament, Anglo-Arab organization. His main claim to infamy... no, wait a second... he has no *single* infamous claim that stands out above the rest. So it is best to start at the beginning and this article from The Observer on 06 APR 2003 (Source: waybackmachine) gives us the quick synopsis of that early life:
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Debunking Carter-Ruck's defense of Iraqi billionaire tied to Rezko and Obama
By Andrew Walden :: 141 Views :: Hawaii State News, National News, National Politics, World News, World Politics
“A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser (dual US-Syrian citizen Tony Rezko) just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses. The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr. Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.” -- The Times of London February 26, 2008
by Andrew Walden
The Auchi-Rezko-Obama connection came to public attention with federal marshals pounding on the door of Tony Rezko’s Wilmette Chicago mansion in the early morning of January 28, 2008. They hauled Rezko to jail after his bail was revoked for concealing a $3.5 million Auchi loan from the court. The Times outlines the story in two sentences. It should be of tremendous interest to the American public and the world.
“(In 2004) Mr. Auchi traveled by private aircraft to Midway Airport in Chicago and then to a fete at the Four Season Hotel, where he met with his business partner in Chicago real estate, Mr. Rezko, as well as with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Also present that night, according to a fresh report by James Bone and Dominic Kennedy of the London Times, was State Senator Barack Obama, who had recently won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat….”
Jay Stewart of the Better Government Assn. in Chicago told the LA Times: “Everybody in this town knew that Tony Rezko was headed for trouble. When he got indicted, there wasn't a single insider who was surprised. It was viewed as a long time coming. . . .Why would you be having anything to do with Tony Rezko, particularly if you're planning to run for president?”
How much could a US President be influenced by his dealings with Rezko and his associates?
In April, 2004, as Islamists fought Marines in Fallujah—some of the toughest fighting of the Iraq war—pro-war politicians were jumping overboard. Anti-war Democrats momentarily saw the political tide turn in their direction. And Barack Obama? After opposing the war, he picked this moment to tell an interviewer April 5, 2004:
“I’ve never said that troops should be withdrawn. What I’ve said is that we’ve got to make sure that we secure and execute the rebuilding and reconstruction process effectively and properly and I don’t think we should have an artificial deadline when to do that. What’s important is that we have a long-term plan in process and short-term security strategy.”
Could Obama’s sudden and counter-intuitive change in position be related to his 2004 meeting with Auchi or the investments by Rezko, Auchi and Alsammarae in the new Iraq? How much does Obama value the gifts he has received from the now-convicted-felon Rezko?
To answer these questions, consider what was on Obama’s mind as he was leaving Chicago in the midst of two wars and an economic crisis to head for Washington just prior to being sworn in as President of the United States.
Obama told reporters: "I gotta say I choked up a little bit leaving my house today."