Saudi-led bloc drops the list of 13 demands; now calls for six principles

Doha skyline

World Affairs Journal, July 19, 2017

The Peninsula / AP

UNITED NATIONS: Four Arab nations that are blockading Qatar have dropped their list of 13 demands to lift the siege.

Now the Saudi-led countries are urging Qatar to commit to six principles on combatting extremism and negotiate a plan to implement them.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain broke relations with Qatar in early June largely over their allegations that it supports extremist groups — a charge Qatar rejects. They initially made 13 demands, which Qatar said are “unrealistic and is not actionable”.

Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi told a briefing for a group of UN correspondents that the four nations are now committed to the six principles agreed to by their foreign ministers at a meeting in Cairo on July 5.

According to Al Jazeera the six principles are:

Commitment to combat extremism and terrorism in all their forms and to prevent their financing or providing havens.

Suspending all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.

Full compliance with the Riyadh Agreement of 2013 and the supplementary agreement and its implementation mechanisms of 2014 within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Adherence to all the outcomes of the Arab Islamic American Summit held in May 2017 in Riyadh.

Refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of states and from supporting illegal entities.

The responsibility of all states of the international community to confront all forms of extremism and terrorism as a threat to international peace and security.

Al-Mouallimi said both sides can talk about details of “the tactics” and “the tools” to implement them — “and that’s where we can have discussion and compromise.”

The list of first 13 demands handed to Qatar on 22 June included shutting down the Al Jazeera news network, closing a Turkish military base, cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading relations with Iran.

Al-Mouallimi said closing Al-Jazeera might not be necessary.

“If we can achieve that (the principles) without closing down Al-Jazeera, that’s also fine. The important thing is the objective and the principle involved.”

UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy said all the countries involved have strong relations with the United States “and we believe that the Americans have a very constructive and a very important role to play in hopefully creating a peaceful resolution to this current crisis.”

“We hope to be able to resolve this internally and among ourselves with the assistance of strong mediation, whether it’s from the U.S. or the Kuwaitis,” she said.

Diplomats from the four countries who attended the briefing said there have been discussions about possible next steps.

UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh said that “if Qatar is unwilling to accept core principles around what defines terrorism or extremism in our region, it will be very difficult” for it to remain in the Gulf Cooperation Council with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

“So it may be a parting of ways for a little while in order to work things out,” she said.

Also see:

Rex Tillerson: Secretary of State Sabotage?

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson takes a photo with the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain, and the Kuwaiti Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs after a meeting in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, July 13, 2017. (U.S. State Department via AP)

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 17, 2017:

Who is ultimately responsible for U.S. foreign policy: the elected president of the United States, or the State Department, the CIA, and the media cartel?

That’s the question that must be asked after the past month. Rex Tillerson and the State Department have repeatedly sabotaged President Trump’s stated foreign policy position related to the ongoing crisis between the Gulf states and Qatar over the latter’s sheltering and funding of terrorist groups operating in the region.

This was seen last week, when Tillerson signed a so-called “anti-terrorism” agreement with Qatar:

But no sooner had Tillerson signed this “anti-terrorism” agreement than did Qatar openly state its support for the terrorist group Hamas:

In the region, this was seen as Qatar deliberately making Tillerson look like a complete fool.

Not only do Tillerson and the State Department’s moves in this crisis support terror-funding Qatar, but they alienate our long-time Arab allies in the Middle East. Tillerson’s meetings in Saudi Arabia — which came after signing his agreement with Qatar — were termed “a disaster”:

Needless to say, the other Gulf states and Egypt did not respond positively to Tillerson’s so-called “anti-terrorism” agreement with Qatar, either:

Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly supported the other Gulf countries and Egypt in this dispute. He has called out Qatar for its support of terrorism:

Yet Trump has been repeatedly sabotaged by his own secretary of State and State Department:

Tillerson continued his Middle East tour last week by hinting at closer relations with Turkey, which over the past year has nose-dived into open Ottoman Islamist authoritarianism to the considerable consternation of our Arab allies. Except, of course, Qatar:

One of the primary issues in the crisis over Qatar is their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which in Egypt is waging an all-out insurgency against the government, and is actively working to destabilize other countries in the region.

At his confirmation hearing, Tillerson classified the Muslim Brotherhood as being in the same league as al-Qaeda:

But as secretary of State, Tillerson has taken an entirely different line, especially during this crisis. For instance, take the comments he made last month — he said the U.S. could not designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization because it is part of the government in some countries:

Well, the Bahraini foreign minister publicly called out the Muslim Brotherhood, which is part of Bahrain’s own government, as a terrorist organization earlier this month:

Analysis: Following the Qatar “Deal”

In this July 11, 2017, photo, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani sign a memorandum of understanding in Doha, Qatar. (Alexander W. Riedel/U.S. State Department via AP)

Security Studies Group, by Dr. Brad Patty, July 13, 2017:

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a blockade on the nation of Qatar recently because of Qatar’s relationship with a number of terrorist and terror-supporting entities.  These nations demanded that Qatar adhere to a 13-point plan if the blockade was to be lifted.  The 13 points include some very important steps, but also some steps that no sovereign nation could ever agree to, as they would effectively make Qatar subordinate to the other nations.

The matter is important to the United States because we have major military installations in Qatar, as well as treaties that could shatter our alliance with the Gulf states if Qatar should end up at war with those states.  That would profit Iran, chief of all, as it would disrupt the alliance opposing Iranian attempts at regional hegemony.  (For a fuller background, see SSG’s earlier posts here and also here.)

This week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to both Qatar and Saudi Arabia to try to resolve the crisis.  He was not successful.  He did obtain a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) with Qatar that the Saudis apparently rejected.  (Here is Qatar’s own Al Jazeera on the topic.)  This MOU is not a treaty or a deal, but it is a commitment to terms that Qatar would accept if others accepted them.  The Saudis apparently didn’t find the terms acceptable, but since the United States signed the MOU as well as Qatar, the Saudis will likely propose new terms that incorporate the MOU but ask for a bit more.  This is diplomacy as deal-making, very much the way the Trump administration views diplomacy.

So, how to know if the final deal is a good one from the perspective of the United States?  Resolving the crisis on any terms defuses the bomb threatening to blow up our regional alliances, but not every such deal is going to address America’s core interests.  Our interests are not the same as those of any of the Arab nations, though some of them overlap.  Thus, it is not necessary to obtain a deal that forces Qatar to submit to the whole 13 point proposal.  A deal that compromises by allowing Qatar to retain its sovereignty, while obtaining the parts of the 13 points that are American interests, is acceptable.

There are really only two things that America needs to insist upon.

  1. A complete end to support for terrorism.  The MOU is supposed to have obtained some Qatari commitments on this score, but the exact terms are not known.  It is easy to say what acceptable terms would be, however.  The terms are acceptable if and only if they commit Qatar to opposing all terrorism, rather than allowing Qatar to retain certain favored terrorists.  Some of the groups are favorites of Iran, like Hezbollah.  The Qataris might wish to keep up good relations with Iran by allowing Hezbollah to continue to operate.  There may be other groups whose terrorist activities Qatar would like to overlook in order to maintain what it considers to be a useful relationship.

    That won’t do.  All terrorist groups must be included.  The 13 points contains a list of groups Qatar has worked with that should serve as a minimum rather than a maximum.  No terror support of any kind is tolerable.  We won’t know how good the deal is on this point until its terms are known.  Secretary Tillerson at least sounds like he knows that this is important in his public statements.  “The US has one goal: to drive terrorism off the face of the Earth,” Tillerson said, adding: “The president said every country has an absolute duty to make sure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.”  We as citizens can judge whether he truly understands based on whether he allowed Qatar to carve out exceptions for some of the groups it has been hosting and financing.

  2. The second thing we must obtain is victory on breaking Qatari relations with Iran.  Iran has been making a major play to become the dominant power in the region since obtaining a de facto alliance with Russia in 2015.  This occurred immediately after the agreement to the “Iran Deal” on nuclear weapons, which gave Russia renewed confidence that Iran could be a major player on the world stage.  Russia subsequently deployed military forces to Syria alongside Iran following meetings in Moscow between Russia’s military leadership and Iran’s top unconventional warfare leader, Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

    This Russian-Iranian axis is seeking to peel Qatar off from the alliance represented by the blockading nations.  Iran has been providing aid and support to Qatar during the blockade, as has Turkey.  Turkey is a US NATO ally, but that nation has been trending toward the Russian axis as its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has slipped towards dictatorial rule.  The moves accelerated following the abortive coup attempt against Erdoğan, which he blamed on an opposition movement hosted by the United States.  Turkey’s role in supporting Qatar thus has to be read as a play at least friendly to the Russian/Iranian axis in the Middle East.  If Qatar can be pulled the rest of the way in, so that it becomes aligned with Iran rather than the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran will have won a major strategic victory in its efforts to become the local hegemony.

    Those are really the only two things that the United States needs from Qatar.  If an American-backed deal obtains those two things, while also resolving the crisis with the blockading nations, it is a big win for the United States.  Anything less than that is going to be harmful to American interests in small ways or large.

Dr. Patty advised US Army units in Iraq on information operations as part of more than a decade’s involvements in America’s wars. His work has received formal commendations from the 30th Heavy Brigade, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division. Dr. Patty holds his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Georgia.

***

Poole: Libyan Army Spox Says Obama, Clinton “Abandoned the Libyan People to the Terrorists”

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 11, 2017:

In an exclusive interview with PJ Media, the Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman, Col. Ahmed al-Mesmari, says that President Obama and Hillary Clinton “abandoned the Libyan people to face these terrorists alone,” and implicates the Obama administration in supporting terrorist militias.

With the continuing crisis between several Arab nations, including the Tobruk-based Libyan House of Representatives, and Qatar, Col. al-Mesmari discusses Qatar’s role in arming and financing terrorist militias in Libya.

He also ties the Muslim Brotherhood militias that have been fighting against the LNA with al-Qaeda and ISIS elements operating in the country.

Col. al-Mesmari also claims that the February 17th Martyrs Brigade hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi cooperated with Ansar al-Sharia in attacking the consulate compound on September 12, 2012,which led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Libyans celebrated last week when after three years of battle the LNA finally liberated Benghazi from all terrorist groups in the city.

And over the past month Col. al-Mesmari has publicly charged Qatar with direct support of terrorist groups operating in Libya.

The following is an exclusive interview I conducted by email earlier today with Col. Ahmed al-Mesmari, official spokesman for the Libyan National Army:

Read more

Trouble among America’s Gulf Allies

Gatestone Institute, by John R. Bolton, July 11, 2017:

  • The State Department should declare both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), thus triggering the penalties and sanctions required by law when such a declaration is made.
  • Those “affiliates” of the Muslim Brotherhood that, in whole or part, meet the statutory FTO definition should be designated; those that do not can be spared, at least in the absence of new information.
  • Qatar can legitimately complain that it is being unfairly singled out. The proper response is not to let Qatar off the hook but to put every other country whose governments or citizens are financing terrorism on the hook.

In recent weeks, governments on the Arabian Peninsula have been having a diplomatic brawl. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain (together with Egypt and other Muslim countries) have put considerable economic and political pressure on Qatar, suspending diplomatic relations and embargoing trade with their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member. Kuwait and Oman, also GCC members, have been mediating the dispute or remaining publicly silent.

The Saudis and their supporters are demanding sweeping changes in Qatari policies, including suspending all financial support to the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist groups; joining the other GCC members in taking a much harder line against the nuclear and terrorist threat from Shia Iran and its proxies; and closing Al Jazeera, the irritating, radical-supporting television and media empire funded by Qatar’s royal family.

The United States’ response so far has been confused. President Trump has vocally supported the Saudi campaign, but the State Department has publicly taken a different view, urging that GCC members resolve their differences quietly.

As with so many Middle East disputes, the issues are complex, and there is considerable underlying history. Of course, if they were easy, Saudi Arabia and Qatar would not be nearly at daggers drawn seemingly overnight.

Washington has palpable interests at stake in this dispute and can make several critical moves to help restore unity among the Arabian governments, even though the issues may seem as exotic to the average American as the Saudi sword dance Trump joined during his recent Middle East trip.

Twin issues to confront

Confronting the twin issues of radical Islamic terrorism and the ayatollahs’ malign regime in Iraq are central not only to the Arab disputants but to the United States as well. In addition to providing our good offices to the GCC members, the Trump administration should take two critical steps to restore unity and stability among these key allies.

First, the State Department should declare both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), thus triggering the penalties and sanctions required by law when such a declaration is made. Both groups meet the statutory definition because of their violence and continuing threats against Americans. The Obama administration’s failure to make the FTO designation has weakened our global anti-terrorist efforts.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s defenders argue that it is far from monolithic; that many of its “affiliates” are in fact entirely harmless; and that a blanket declaration would actually harm our anti-jihadi efforts. Even taking these objections as true for the sake of argument, they counsel a careful delineation among elements of the Brotherhood. Those that, in whole or part, meet the statutory FTO definition should be designated; those that do not can be spared, at least in the absence of new information. The Brotherhood’s alleged complexity is an argument for being precise in the FTO designations, not for avoiding any designations whatever.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab governments already target the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization but Qatar does not. That may sound suspicious, but as of now, of course, the United States hasn’t found the resolve to do it either. Once Washington acts, however, it will be much harder for Qatar or anyone else to argue that the Brotherhood is just a collection of charitable souls performing humanitarian missions.

A direct terrorist threat

Similarly, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps is a direct terrorist threat that has been killing Americans ever since the IRGC-directed attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in October 1983. The only real argument against naming the IRGC is that so doing would endanger Obama’s 2015 nuclear agreement, given Tehran’s expected response to an FTO determination.

Second, Trump should follow up his successful Riyadh summit by insisting on rapid and comprehensive implementation of the summit’s principal outcome, the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (GCCEI). This center can provide governments across the Muslim world a face-saving mechanism to do what should have been done long ago, namely taking individual and collective steps to dry up terrorist financing.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, and the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, May 21, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

One could write books on the intricate financing that supports international terrorism, and finger-pointing at those responsible could take years. But whether terrorists are financed by governments, directly or indirectly, or by individuals or groups, with or without government knowledge or encouragement, it must all stop. Qatar can legitimately complain that it is being unfairly singled out. The proper response is not to let Qatar off the hook but to put every other country whose governments or citizens are financing terrorism on the hook.

Although superficially the ongoing crisis among the oil-producing monarchies may seem a setback to American efforts in the war again terrorism and the struggle to eliminate the Iranian threat, in fact it provides a rare opportunity to make considerable progress on two of our top priorities. The Trump administration should not miss its chance.

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad”.

Also see:

The Former Anchor Who Says Al-Jazeera Aids Terrorists

Mohamed Fahmy in the defendants’ cage during his trial in Egypt. Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Bloomberg, by Eli Lake, June 23, 2017:

Mohamed Fahmy is the last person one would expect to make the case against al-Jazeera.

In 2014, the former Cairo bureau chief for the Qatar-funded television network began a 438-day sentence in an Egyptian prison on terrorism charges and practicing unlicensed journalism. His incarceration made al-Jazeera a powerful symbol of resistance to Egypt’s military dictatorship.

Today Fahmy is preparing a lawsuit against his former employers. And while he is still highly critical of the regime that imprisoned him, he also says the Egyptian government is correct when it says al-Jazeera is really a propaganda channel for Islamists and an arm of Qatari foreign policy.

“The more the network coordinates and takes directions from the government, the more it becomes a mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence,” he told me in an interview Thursday. “There are many channels who are biased, but this is past bias. Now al-Jazeera is a voice for terrorists.”

Fahmy’s testimony is particularly important now. Al-Jazeera is at the center of a crisis ripping apart the Arab Gulf states. Earlier this month Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a political and diplomatic blockade on Qatar. As part of that blockade, al-Jazeera has been kicked out of those countries.

The treatment of al-Jazeera as an arm of the Qatari state as opposed to a news organization does not sit well with many in the West. This week a New York Times editorial accused Qatar’s foes of “muzzling” a news outlet “that could lead citizens to question their rulers” in the Arab world.

In some ways it’s understandable for English-speaking audiences to take this view. Al-Jazeera’s English-language broadcasts certainly veer politically to the left. At times the channel has sucked up to police states. The channel embarrassed itself with such fluff as a recent sycophantic feature on female traffic cops in North Korea. But al-Jazeera English has also broken some important stories. It worked with Human Rights Watch to uncover documents mapping out the links between Libyan intelligence under Muammar Qaddafi and the British and U.S. governments.

Al-Jazeera’s Arabic broadcasts however have not met these same standards in recent years. To start, the network still airs a weekly talk show from Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He has used his platform to argue that Islamic law justifies terrorist attacks against Israelis and U.S. soldiers. U.S. military leaders, such as retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded forces in the initial campaign to stabilize Iraq, have said publicly that al-Jazeera reporters appeared to have advance knowledge of terrorist attacks. Fahmy told me that in his research he has learned that instructions were given to journalists not to refer to al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra, as a terrorist organization.

He said Qatar’s neighbors were justified in banning al-Jazeera. “Al-Jazeera has breached the true meaning of press freedom that I advocate and respect by sponsoring these voices of terror like Yusuf al Qaradawi,” he said. “If al-Jazeera continues to do that, they are directly responsible for many of these lone wolves, many of these youth that are brain washed.”

Fahmy didn’t always have this opinion of his former employer. He began to change his views while serving time. It started in the “scorpion block” of Egypt’s notorious Tora prison. During his stay, he came to know some of Egypt’s most notorious Islamists.

“When I started meeting and interviewing members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their sympathizers, they specifically told me they had been filming protests and selling it to al-Jazeera and dealing fluidly with the network and production companies in Egypt associated with the network,” he said.

One example of al-Jazeera’s coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood revolves around Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in the summer of 2013, following the military coup that unseated Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president. As part of Fahmy’s case against al-Jazeera, he took testimony from a former security guard for the network and the head of the board of trustees for Egyptian state television. Both testified that members of the Muslim Brotherhood seized the broadcast truck al-Jazeera used to air the sit-ins that summer. In other words, al-Jazeera allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast its own protests.

That incident happened in the weeks before Fahmy was hired to be the network’s Cairo bureau chief. He says he was unaware of these ties to the Muslim Brotherhood until he began doing his own research and reporting from an Egyptian prison.

When Fahmy learned of these arrangements, he became angry. It undermined his case before the Egyptian courts that he was unaffiliated with any political party or terrorist groups inside Egypt. “To me this is a big deal, this is not acceptable,” he said. “It put me in danger because it’s up to me to convince the judge that I was just doing journalism.”

Ultimately Fahmy was released from prison in 2015. But this was not because al-Jazeera’s lawyers made a good case for him. Rather it was the work of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who eventually got him safely out of the country to Canada.

Now Fahmy is turning his attention to al-Jazeera. He is pressing a court in British Columbia to hear his case in January against the network, from whom he is seeking $100 million in damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation and negligence.

Fahmy’s case is one more piece of evidence that the al-Jazeera seen by English-speaking audiences is not the al-Jazeera seen throughout the Muslim world. It’s one more piece of evidence that Qatar’s foreign policy is a double game: It hosts a military base the U.S. uses to fight terror, while funding a media platform for extremists.

Why Trump should endorse allies’ demands upon terror-cozy Qatar

XtockImages | Getty Images

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.