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Beltway Insider: ISIS Leader Killed; Boston Bomber Sentenced; GCC Meet; Morsi; B.B. King Passes

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President Obama has sent Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the first official state meeting since the illegal annexation of Crimea and violation of territorial sovereignty of neighboring Ukraine.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, increased two percentage points to 48% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased one percentage point to 48%.

ISIS Leader Killed In Daring Night Raid

Led by U.S. forces and based on confirmed Intelligence, President Obama announced a counter terror night raid in eastern Syria against the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq resulted in the death of Abu Sayyaf and capture of his wife, Umm.

Abu Sayyaf, a senior member of the ISIS hierarchy controlled the illicit profits from gasoline and oil operations enabling ISIS to finance the long term terror campaigns, engaged U.S. armed forces in a firefight and was subsequently killed. 

His wife, Umm Sayyaf was taken into custody. She is reputed to be a high ranking member of ISIS and is in charge of female slaves and kidnapped prisoners of war which were rescued in the raid.

In what could be considered the first counter terror strike against ISIS, the President had final approval of the operation and upon unanimous agreement from his national security team gave the go ahead.

The blow was short lived as ISIS moved ahead surging against Iraqi fighters and as of this printing has taken the Iraqi city of Ramadi and hoisted its black flag over the conquered territory.

"The United States will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Iraqi partners in our effort to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," the president said.

Boston Bomber Sentenced

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, one of the two brothers responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing that left four dead and 264 injured many losing limbs, has been sentenced to the death penalty for his crimes.

Tsarnaev was convicted of all thirty counts against him some of which were deemed death penalty eligible. His brother, Tamerlan, believed to be the mastermind, was killed during the initial manhunt.

Even as the jury agreed the sentencing should be death by lethal injection the possibility that Tsarnaev will die anytime soon is slim. The appellate process is long and arduous even without the judicial delays, natural and created.

Additionally, the national debate on the humanness of lethal injection could usher in an entirely different legal approach which could take the case, should the Supreme Court agree to hear it, to the highest court for ruling.

Even if the High Court refuses to hear the case, the process in which the case travels to reach the hallowed chambers is time consuming.

Penalty by lethal injection may loom in the future for Tsarnaev, the very distant future. Had the jury wanted to hasten the death penalty process, Firing Squad, as used on Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh would have resulted in a more efficient and speedy implementation of penalty.

On That Day

The annual running of the 117th Boston Marathon began Monday, April 15, 2013 as usual with Lelisa Desisa Benti and Rita Jeptoo, the male and female early leaders, crossing the finish line both in just over two hours.

Two hours later as the viewing stands were filling up with family and friends ready to celebrate with those brave souls who answered the inner challenge and chose to run, the first explosion detonated.

So intent on finishing the race, at 26miles, even as the force of the blast knocked men over, they rose up and continued. The runner's clock poised over the finish line read 04:09:43. The second explosion detonated and the race was called.

Twin, ground level, explosions detonated near the finish line sending pellet and shrapnel projectiles into the crowd that had gathered to cheer on the  marathoners when the blast, not strong enough to level buildings, shattered windows sending glass shards and debris with bullet force into spectators.

The pressure cooker explosives placed in backpacks near the finish line of the Boston Marathon created carnage unseen before in Boston killing four and severing the limbs of nearly all 264 injured.

Quickly identified as terrorism, two men, brothers, Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, then 19, émigrés from Chechnya, Islamic extremists emerged as the main suspects and in less than 48 hours their faces were circulated through every news media in the United States, through Social Media and throughout the world.

A quickly escalating volatile manhunt ended with Tamerlan dying in a shootout with police.

Dzhokhar, gravely wounded, was found by an aware citizen and infrared heat sensors that reveled a body lying the hull of a covered and parked boat. The owner alerted police when he discovered a blood trail.

As he lie hiding in the boat during the final hours before his capture, Dzhokhar, wrote a confession, and explained the bombings were retaliation for the US involvement in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

He also wrote "when you harm one Muslim you hurt them all" indicating his Muslim religious beliefs bind him with all Muslims throughout the world that are oppressed and believe violence is the answer.

In prison since, the government presented its case and the jury found the younger Tsarnaev guilty.

Since the verdict his mother has stated the U.S. will burn.

Former Egyptian President Sentenced to Death

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been sentenced to death by an Egyptian court for his role in assisting in a prison break in 2011 prior to his election as President.

Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt, held office from June 30, 2012 through July 3, 2013. His election to Presidency was a coup for the people of Egypt who defiantly took to the streets as did the majority of the Arab Peninsula demanding freedom and the end of the current suppressive, dictatorial, regimes.

Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak, whose family had held Egyptian control from 1981, was forced in the political coup to resign. He was later arrested, spent two years in jail, sentenced to death, and finally was acquitted on all charges. His sons also charged will face prison time.

The Arab Spring uprising, beginning in December 2010 through February 2012, spread across the Middle Eastern nations forcing leaders to resign in four countries and unprecedented protests in nine others.

Most nations involved in the Arab Spring saw some finality to the people's fight which for the first time embraced social media as an active part in relaying instantaneous news and events to the rest of the world. Syrians, however, did not.

Civil War broke out in Syria as a result of the wave of democracy in 2010 with Bashar Al-Assad refusing to resign. The war in Syria continues.

Saudi Leaders Meet at Camp David

Member leaders of the Gulf Corporation Council met this week with President Obama in Bi-lateral meetings to discuss a number of regional issues including the growing concern over the terrorist organization ISIS and counter terrorism campaigns, countering violent extremism, and the civil wars and uprisings in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain, the nations that make up the body of the GCC, have long remained partners to the United States and have somewhat separated themselves from the Middle East and the perpetual unrest inherent to the region.

The extreme and relentless violence of ISIS, which despite strong and concerted effort from an equally determined coalition of nations, has encroached at an alarmingly levels across the region.

The GCC, like the five nations surrounding Syria, are now faced with the fleeing Yemenites, leaving their homes as the internal civil unrest forces them to find safety elsewhere.

Saudi Arabia has become like Jordan in allowing those fleeing Yemen from the Houthi Insurgency humanitarian relief within its borders. The Houthi, unlike ISIS, is not a relatively new terrorist organization. The Houthi army has operated in Yemen for more than a decade only recently escalating into a full scale civil war.

United States and Gulf Corporation Council

President Obama, along with the GCC leaders, agreed after meeting, on several key points. Initially and intrinsically the "respect for state sovereignty; recognition that these conflicts can only be resolved politically; and acknowledgment of the importance of inclusive governance and the need to respect minorities and protect human rights."
 
In regards to regional conflicts the President announced the specific outlines the GCC and the United States have agreed upon includes a new government structure without Bashar Assad "that serves all Syrians."  

A counter terrorism strategy against ISIS that "supports the Iraqi government in its efforts, and in reforms to ensure that the rights and opportunities of all Iraqis are fully respected."

In regards to Yemen, the President said, "We welcomed the humanitarian truce in Yemen, so urgently needed aid can reach civilians, and we call on all parties in Yemen to return to political talks facilitated by the United Nations. We will step up our collective efforts to help form a national unity government in Libya, and counter the growing terrorist presence there. "

And while not lastly, the President and all member nations of the GCC agreed and reiterated "the urgent need for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians."

American Legend B.B. King Passes

Legendary Rhythm and Blues guitarist, singer and songwriter B.B. King passed away this week. He was 89.

"The blues has lost its king, and America has lost a legend.  B.B. King was born a sharecropper's son in Mississippi, came of age in Memphis, Tennessee, and became the ambassador who brought his all-American music to his country and the world.  No one worked harder than B.B.  No one inspired more up-and-coming artists.  No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues," the President said. 

King, and his Lucille, as his guitar was named which he could play with such finesse and skill that even the most noted guitarists in the world would stop and watch gifted millions with mastery that's difficult to describe and created tunes that reached your soul.

Eulogized by guitarist and frequent collaborator Eric Clapton on Social Media "I wanted to express my sadness and to say "Thank you" to my dear friend B.B. King. I wanted to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years and the friendship we enjoyed.  There's not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now and there are not many left who play it the pure way B.B. did. He was a beacon for all of us who love this music and I thank him from the bottom of my heart."

Born 1925, Riley B. King, the son of a sharecropper in the Mississippi, King took the name B.B. and as the story is told bought his first guitar for $15.00. A self-taught guitarist, he worked the South managing to secure a ten minute radio studio gig in 1946, at the age of 21.

Named in Rolling Stone Magazine as Number 6 on list of the 100 greatest guitarist of all time, King first heard the electric guitar from T. Bone Walker and knew he had to have one.

Playing more than 250 gigs a year, King was awarded 17 Grammy's, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement and a Grammy Hall of Fame award for "The Thrill is Gone," made 42 studio albums, with as many as three per year.

King played the Royal Hall in London and the White House and on a warm summer's day, a small town in north Portugal was the recipient of a free concert for 20,000 fortunate Portuguese.

He was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, and Presidential Medal of Freedom. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Yale and Brown. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame.

His talent was known the world over, enjoyed by people who knew nothing of his life or legacy, only his ability; he played to the crowd, with love, and always, everywhere, the crowd, large or small, loved him back.

B.B. King passed away in his sleep from diabetes complications. At 89, he left us too soon.

For more information on President Barack Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.org, Wikipedia.com

 

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