Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, June 23, 2017:
The United States should wholeheartedly support Arab states’ attempts to rein in the renegade state of Qatar, as Gulf leaders attempt to cut down on Doha’s out of control terror promoting and jihadi financing policies.
On Thursday, Middle Eastern countries issued a list of 13 demands that need to be met in order to restore relations with Qatar. They have given Qatar 10 days to comply with the ultimatums. The list of demands aligns so well with American nationalist interests that it wouldn’t come as a shock if American officials had a role in drafting the document.
Among the most “America-first” of the 13 mandates include:
1) Dramatically scale down ties with the Iranian regime and expel members of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) from the country.
Iran has long been accused of sowing discord in the Middle East and fanning the flames of war. The regime in Tehran, which considers the United States “The Great Satan,” directly supports terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and has aided attempts to overthrow governments in Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, and elsewhere. The IRGC, which is tasked with exporting Iran’s revolutionary ideology through military force, is heavily involved in the Syrian Civil War, supporting the Assad regime and Russia in committing sectarian war crimes against innocents.
2) Shut down the Turkish military base that is currently under construction in Qatar.
Though a NATO ally, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey continues to trend towards Islamic authoritarianism. In May, bodyguards for the Turkish strongman viciously attacked American citizens protesting outside of the Turkish ambassador’s home in Washington, D.C. Additionally, Turkey supports and aids the global jihadist Muslim Brotherhood network, and U.S.-designated terrorist organizations like Hamas.
3) Eliminate ties for terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and Hamas.
Qatar continues to harbor Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has endorsed suicide operations against American soldiers. Additionally, there is overwhelming evidence that high-ranking members of the Qatari regime have aided and abetted Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria. Even as the U.S. has recently arrested Hezbollah agents charged with plotting terrorist attacks on American soil, the Emir in Doha considers Hezbollah a “legitimate resistance” movement. Though Qatar claims to be fighting ISIS, U.S. counterterror officials continue to claim that they’re a chief funding resource for the caliphatist[RH1] group.
6) Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliates.
Al Jazeera is a state-run media agency in Doha that is masquerading as a free media enterprise. The outfit is currently facing a new lawsuit claiming it collaborated directly with the Muslim Brotherhood during Islamist revolts that resulted in the overthrow of the Egyptian government. In 2013, 22 staff members resigned to protest the network’s bias in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. The news network’s Arabic channel has had a hand in radicalizing its viewership towards Islamist beliefs. A 2015, an Al Jazeera Arabic poll showed 81 percent of respondents supported the Islamic State terror group. Its short-lived American outlet acted as an Islamic blasphemy police, banning words like “terrorist,” “militant,” “Islamist,” and “jihad” from its reporting. After the 9/11 attacks, Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha was decorated with silhouettes glorifying Osama bin Laden.
Since the Arab states’ blockade against Qatar began, American officials have been all over the place on whether the United States supports or disputes the measures.
President Trump — who gave a speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia just prior to the embargo, urging Middle Eastern countries to do more to quash terrorist financing — appears to be supportive of the Arab initiative, labeling Qatar a “funder of terrorism at a very high level.” The president is also considering hosting a “Camp David-style” summit for Arab leaders to explore how to further crack down on Qatar’s terror finance and other terror supporting Middle East entities.
However, the Pentagon under Secretary James Mattis, and the State Department under Rex Tillerson, have acted instead to empower the Qatari monarchy.
The Pentagon recently signed a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Qatar, allowing for the sale of 36 U.S. F-16 fighter jets.
And this week, Tillerson’s State Department commanded Arab allies to rescind demands of Qatar, and immediately end the embargo. The State Department even called into question the overwhelming evidence that Qatar is a financier of international terrorism, and refused to name Qatar as a state-sponsor of terror.
It would be challenging to find a more pro-American document than the list of dictates being offered up by our Middle East allies. The White house has been presented with a historic opportunity to finally quash the rich oil-regime’s support for the world’s worst actors. Squandering that opportunity — when pressure on Qatar is as high as it will ever be — would result in the loss of a much-needed boost to American security interests and global stability.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.