With the White House hopelessly out of step, Secretary of State John Kerry spent yesterday talking about Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Israel, and called Egyptian foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr to discuss the situation, not knowing he had already resigned—Jordan’s King Abdullah is perhaps the last man standing in the Arab world, and his assessments of Arab Spring upheaval from Cairo to Syria have been notably prescient. In a March interview for The Atlantic he predicted upheaval in Turkey, and said of Egypt’s Morsi, “There’s no depth to the guy.”
Protests in Turkey focused on plans to develop Istanbul’s Taksim Square, but that overshadowed plans to turn Hagia Sophia—the 6th century basilica that long served as the seat of Eastern Christianity—from a museum into a formal mosque.
Good news happens: Many of you have inquired about Deborah, the young Nigerian victim of terrorism denied by the U.S. a visa to travel to America for trauma counseling this summer. The U.S. Embassy now has twice denied her request, usually the end of the story, but a lawyer in Nigeria tells me that yesterday the embassy officers requested her passport—a sign she may likely be granted a visa after all. We are continuing to follow this story.
President Barack Obama in his just-completed trip to Africa made a mistake in bypassing Nigeria. The most populous country in Africa, and a major U.S. oil supplier, was originally on the president’s itinerary but was dropped in favor of less strategic Senegal. There, as elsewhere on the continent, the president drew criticism from African leaders for pushing a gay-rights agenda.