Anas Altikriti, a top British lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood whose father heads Iraq's Muslim Brotherhood party, recently met with the president and Vice President Joe Biden as part of a delegation discussing problems in Iraq.
Altikriti, whose work has also been tied to Hamas, can be seen smiling in photospublished by the White House as he stands next to Iraqi Parliament Speaker Usama al-Nujaifi, who is pictured shaking hands with President Obama in the White House's Roosevelt Room. The meeting was first highlighted by the blog Harry's Place.
The Obama administration has been criticized its outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood, the international Islamist organization whose members' brief reign in Egypt was supported by the White House.
Nujaifi, Altikriti, and other members of the Iraqi delegation were in town late January to discuss al Qaeda's growing presence in Iraq. Nujaifi himself was reported to have met twice with President Obama, though it remains unclear if Altikriti accompanied him on both occasions.
"President Barack Obama greets Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraqi Council of Representatives, after he drops by Vice President Joe Biden's meeting with the Speaker in the Roosevelt Room of the White House," read the White House's photo caption, which clearly shows Altikriti standing to al-Nujaifi's right side.
A White House spokesman confirmed that Altikriti was brought to the meeting to serve as a translator for al-Nujaifi.
Others present in the meeting included "Puneet Talwar, senior director for Iraq, Iran, and the Gulf at the [National Security Council], Philip Gordon, special assistant to the president and White House director for the Middle East, Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran, and Andrew Kim, director for Iraq," according to the White House pool report filed on that day.
The meeting focused on ways the United States can help local Iraqi leaders combat al Qaeda.
"This afternoon, President Obama joined Vice President Joe Biden's meeting with Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and a delegation of Iraqi parliamentarians," read a Jan. 22 statement issued by the White House about the meeting. "Both sides reaffirmed the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq."