BREAKING: Gulf States Give Qatar List of Demands To Restore Diplomatic Relationships – All Demands Target The Muslim Brotherhood…

 The Last Refuge, by Sundance, June 22, 2017:

The latest development, in the ongoing Arab state GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) initiative to stem the destabilizing behavior of Qatar, is a list of demands presented to Qatar. If you have followed the regional issues for the past few years you’ll quickly identify how each of the demands cuts to the core of the destabilizing issues.

Included in the demands:  ♦Shut down al-Jazeera, ♦stop cooperating with Iran and ♦expel Turkish military provocateurs (Erdogan).  The binding thread that connects each of these demands is the effort to stop Qatar from supporting/assisting the Muslim Brotherhood.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kuwait has given Qatar a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations that includes shutting down Al-Jazeera and cutting diplomatic ties to Iran.

That’s according to a list obtained by The Associated Press from one of the countries involved in the dispute. The document says Qatar has 10 days to comply with all demands.

The list says Qatar must immediately close Turkey’s military base in Qatar and end military cooperation with the NATO member. It also demands an unspecified sum of compensation from Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over accusations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism. The U.S. has been urging them to produce a list of demands. Kuwait is helping mediate. (link)

Additionally, a reputable and reliable source for news and information within the region, specifically well-connected to the MB issues, provides the following:

This list of demands could have been personally written by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because it is exactly what he needed to do when he expelled the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt and restored stability in the aftermath of Mohammed Morsi’s chaos.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Saudi Game of Thrones: King Appoints Son Crown Prince After Power Struggle

Saudi Interior Ministry via AP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, June 22, 2017:

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz made a surprise announcement on Wednesday morning that his son Mohammed bin Salman, 31, would become the new crown prince of the kingdom.

As it happens, Saudi Arabia already had a Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef. Nayef is over 25 years senior to Mohammed bin Salman and was also the deputy prime minister and interior minister of Saudi Arabia. He was stripped of all these positions at once.

He appeared to handle his demotion quite well, having no doubt seen the writing on the wall ever since Salman became deputy crown prince. “I am content,” said Nayef to his replacement, as quoted by Al Jazeera. “I am going to rest now. May God help you.”

To the dismay of the Western world, Nayef was considered one of the most pro-American of the Saudi royal family. He received counterterrorism training from the FBI and Scotland Yard in the eighties, maintained good relations with U.S. officials, and was instrumental as both an operational leader and spokesman in the Saudi war against al-Qaeda after 9/11.

His commitment to fighting the terrorist group did not waver after a 2009 suicide bomb attack against him. The CIA was sufficiently impressed with his work to give him a counterterrorism medal in February, personally awarded by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

The new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been nicknamed “Mr. Everything” because he has been put in charge of just about everything in Saudi Arabia. He was the chief architect of the “Saudi Vision 2030” plan intended to make his country less dependent on oil money, a plan regarded as the biggest change to the Saudi economy in the country’s history.

Nayef, on the other hand, has been nicknamed “The Prince of Darkness” because of his role in Saudi intelligence. Saudi dissidents find nothing whimsical about the nickname, as they blame Nayef for using the al-Qaeda crackdown as a pretext for imprisoning the politically inconvenient.

The Saudi Vision 2030 plan put Mr. Everything at the helm of some $2 trillion in overseas investments on the reasonable proposition that breaking the country’s dependence on oil would involve buying a tremendous amount of stock in companies that do not sell oil and are not headquartered in Saudi Arabia. Among his many duties, Salman is the chairman of the national oil company, Saudi Aramco – the first member of the royal family to have such a direct role in managing the all-important corporation.

Mohammed bin Salman was popular when the reform program was launched, and he remains popular today. The UK Daily Mail notes that Saudi Arabia’s enormous youth population sees him as a rock star, a symbol of hope and prosperity for the future.

The Daily Mail floats rumors that Salman and Nayef were engaged in a fairly bitter power struggle behind the scenes, and it might not be over yet, even after the king moved to resolve it in Salman’s favor before his death. The deciding factor might simply have been that the king likes Salman better, and is impressed by his charisma, erudition, and 16-hour-day work ethic.

Another advantage to Salman is that his youth and energy suggest a certain stability for Saudi Arabia for decades to come. The previous king, Abdullah, was the world’s oldest monarch at the time of his death in early 2015 at age 90; King Salman is currently 81. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman puts a younger face on the monarchy and might well end up occupying the throne for five decades.

Middle East Eye cites analysts who say the king wanted to reassure Western governments, regional allies, and business partners there would be “continuity in foreign and economic policies.” There was evidently very little confidence that Nayef would have offered such continuity.

Also, Middle East Eye observes that Nayef had a testy relationship with a crucial Saudi ally, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, while Salman and Zayed have become close friends.

Most intriguingly, a Saudi citizen told MEE that President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia played a role in reshaping the monarchy, as King Salman took the occasion to convince Trump the new crown prince is “the right horse to back” despite Nayef’s favorable reputation in Washington.

The monarchy moved quickly to secure Salman in his new position, announcing that 31 of 34 royals supporting his ascension and arranging a meeting in Mecca for them to formally pledge allegiance within a matter of hours. The senior Islamic council swiftly endorsed the decision, followed by welcomes from the leaders of Saudi Arabia’s Sunni Muslim allies. The Saudi stock market added its congratulations by climbing over five and a half percent.

Some other Middle Eastern powers were less enthusiastic about the shift in Saudi leadership. Iranian state media grumbled that Crown Prince Salman’s ascension was a “soft coup” in which the “son becomes the successor of the father,” which would seem to betray a fundamental Iranian misunderstanding of how hereditary monarchy works.

Reuters suggests Iran correctly sees Salman’s ascension as a sign of more aggressive Saudi policy toward Tehran and its projects, such as the Houthi rebellion in Yemen and whatever the Qatari royal family has been up to for the past decade. Nayef’s focus was on al-Qaeda, while Salman has been an outspoken enemy of Iran, supporter of Saudi intervention in Yemen, and critic of Qatar. In fact, he is seen as one of the prime movers behind Saudi Arabia’s decision to isolate Qatar.

The Saudis will probably let Iran’s criticism roll off their backs, but Turkey is more problematic. The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fairly close to Nayef but still working on building a relationship with Salman. It is not going terribly well, as Salman has refused every Turkish invitation to visit Ankara since he was named deputy crown prince.

Erdogan has expressed support for Qatar, putting it at odds with one of Salman’s major policy initiatives, and he disagrees with Salman’s dim view of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Middle East Eye cites Turkey-watchers who foresee a potentially serious conflict between Erdogan and Salman over Turkey’s least favorite Middle Eastern faction, the Kurds. Either as a power play, or because he sincerely favors their cause, Salman may support the Kurds in Syria – which would inflame Turkish fears of the Kurds carving out chunks of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to form an independent state. Turkish media is reportedly speculating that Salman will threaten to put Saudi Arabia’s chips on the Kurds unless Erdogan backs away from supporting Qatar.

CNN notes that if Salman does succeed his father, he will be the first Saudi king who is not the son of national founder Ibn Saud, who became King Abdul Aziz al-Saud. Naming Mohammed bin Salman as his heir allowed King Salman to reshape the line of succession for decades, and perhaps centuries, to come.

It also puts Saudi Arabia more firmly under the guidance of the most liberal leader it has ever had, with respect to everything from women’s rights to representative government. Granted, that’s a fairly low bar to clear in one of the world’s most repressive countries, but it’s good to see a future king trying to clear it at a moment when the United States is realigning Middle East policy back toward Saudi Arabia and its allies

Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Taliban: The Terror Groups That Have Called Qatar Home

Mohamed Farag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, June 13, 2017:

The government of Sunni-majority Qatar has long hosted and legitimized political leaders from the terrorist organizations known as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the Hamas Palestinian movement, and more recently the Afghan Taliban.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Bahrain have severed ties with their fellow predominantly Sunni nation Qatar, accusing it of destabilizing the Muslim region with its support for Islamic terrorist organizations and plunging the Arab Gulf nations into a diplomatic crisis.

Qatari officials have repeatedly denied the allegations, dismissing them as “unjustified” and having “no basis in fact.”

“Qatar became a central target of the Saudi-Emirati-Israeli joint lobbying efforts for its perceived role in promoting the Muslim Brotherhood and hosting members of Hamas’ political bureau,” reports Al Jazeera.

In 2013, Qatar allowed the Afghan Taliban to open an official political office in its capital Doha. Although the Qatari government allegedly shut it down, Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to be still operating in Doha.

A senior Qatari official recently told Al Jazeera that Doha hosted the Taliban at the “request of the U.S. government,” led by former President Barack Obama at the time.

Under President Donald Trump, who has recently expressed strong support for Saudi Arabia, the United States joined the Sunni kingdom’s allies in condemning Qatar for supporting and assisting Iran and jihadist groups.

Hamas, officially deemed as a terrorist group by the United States, is considered one of Iran’s terror proxies.

Echoing comments made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Tuesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) blasted Qatar’s ties to terrorism on the same day.

Qatar “must stop supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood,” Jubeir told reporters.

During a hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa hearing titled, “Challenges and Opportunities for the U.S.-Saudi Relationship,” Chairman Royce declared:

Qatar’s relationship with Hamas remains very concerning. Senior leaders of Hamas and the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood – which is an Islamist group designated as terrorists by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates – all reside in Qatar today.

And earlier this month – and I think this is what is most concerning for all of us here – more Hamas tunnels were found under two U.N. Relief Works Agency schools in Gaza. Found underneath the schools in Gaza. So Hamas is still using civilians and children to hide its activities. And that, to me, does not sound like a legitimate resistance movement.

Qatar’s foreign minister recently referred to Hamas as “a legitimate resistance movement.”

The Sunni country “has doubled down on its relationship with Hamas,” noted Congressman Royce, later adding, “This practice needs to end now. There is no such thing as a ‘good terrorist group.’”

According to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Hamas is responsible for for the death of more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 American citizens.

“Palestinian terrorism represents a grave threat to Israeli security and the prospects for a two-state solution,” said New York’s Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House panel, in a statement issued on May 26.“Congress must work to stop international support for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and foreign supporters of these organizations must understand the risks associated with perpetuating this perverse violence.”

The Obama administration refused to officially deem the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group despite requests from Republican lawmakers.

President Trump is expected to support efforts to label MB a terrorist organization.

Unlike its predecessor, the Trump administration did not hesitate to refer to the Afghan Taliban as a “terrorist” group.

The U.S. has officially labeled the Afghan Taliban a terrorist organization.

Qatari foreign minister’s special envoy on counterterrorism told Al Jazeera that Doha allowed the Afghan Taliban to establish an office at the “request of the U.S. government” in 2013 and as part of the country’s “open-door policy, to facilitate talks, to mediate and to bring peace.”

Qatar “was facilitating the talks between the Americans, the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan,” claimed Mutlaq Al Qahtani, the FM’s envoy.

Also see:

Saudi-Qatari Dispute Rising

Front Page Magazine, by Ari Lieberman, June 12, 2017:

The dramatic schism witnessed last week between a significant bloc of Muslim nations led by Saudi Arabia, against the tiny peninsular nation of Qatar, has major regional implications. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and the Maldives all severed political and commercial ties with Qatar. Jordan and Mauritania followed suit shortly thereafter. The draconian measures severely curtail Doha’s ability to conduct air and maritime travel. In addition, nations that severed relations with Doha no longer recognize the Qatari Rial as a valid currency which means that Doha must deplete its foreign currency reserves if it wishes to purchase goods and services.

The punishing Saudi-led initiative, though dramatic, was hardly surprising. Qatar has long adopted policies that were incongruent with the Gulf Cooperation Council’s goals. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states did not look favorably on Qatar’s rapprochement efforts with menacing Shia Iran and neo-Ottoman, meddlesome Turkey. But most irksome for the Sunni states was Qatar’s cynical use of its propaganda media arm, Al Jazeera, to shill for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

The issue of Hamas was another sore point where interests between the opposing sides diverged. Qatar is Hamas’ main benefactor. In 2014, it pledged $1b toward reconstruction efforts in Gaza. But much of Qatar’s aid money is skimmed off the top by notoriously corrupt Hamas officials, who maintain rather luxurious lifestyles. Some of the aid money is channeled into military projects, like construction of terror tunnels, rather than legitimate civilian purposes.

Hamas is recognized by the United States and EU as a terrorist organization. During his recent trip to the region, President Trump in an address to several Muslim heads of state lumped Hamas with other recognized terror groups like Hezbollah, ISIS and Al Qaida. The group is a recognized offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, placing it at odds with several moderate Sunni nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Last Tuesday, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, explicitly stated that Qatar must stop supporting terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Riyadh and its allies see both groups as destabilizing entities and have repeatedly criticized Doha for paying lip service to the war on terror while at the same time, providing financial, political and logistical support for terrorist organizations.

The Saudi-led effort represents a concerted attempt to squeeze Qatar into making concessions. Undoubtedly, that includes Qatar adopting policies that are more in line with the goals of GCC, namely to thwart Iranian influence and curtail the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The pressure brought to bear by the Saudi initiative is already producing positive results. Qatar has asked several Hamas leaders-in-exile and operatives currently stationed in the country to leave. Hamas has tried to downplay the implications of the Qatari expulsion orders but it’s hard to overlook the ramifications.

But Doha is nevertheless sending out mixed signals.  On Saturday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, characterized Hamas as “a legitimate resistance movement.” He also said that as an independent country, Qatar had the right to support groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Over the years, Hamas’ allies have whittled down to three, Turkey, Iran and Qatar. Of the three, Qatar provides the terror group with the most financial support. It was hoped that Israel’s recent rapprochement with Turkey would translate into concrete efforts by Ankara to scale back its support for the terror group but this has not materialized. Iran, which remains the world’s premier state-sponsor of terror, continues to funnel money to Hamas despite a brief falling out.

The current economic situation in the Gaza Strip is abysmal. This is largely due to mismanagement, graft and rampant corruption by the Islamist governing authorities. There are chronic electricity shortages with four or five hours of reliable electricity supply on a good day. In addition, youth unemployment hovers at an astonishing 60%. A cut-off of Qatari aid would place enormous pressure on Hamas and lead to further economic decline, which could inexorably lead to widespread discontent among the masses within the Strip.

Hamas rules Gaza with an iron fist and maintains a zero tolerance policy for even minimal dissent. The few who dare challenge Gaza’s theocratic rulers are beaten, jailed and sometimes executed under the guise of being collaborators with “the occupation.” Nevertheless, with so many unemployed youth, and chronic electricity and water shortages, open challenge or even revolt is a real possibility.

Hamas may seek to stave off that predicament by deflecting attention away from the dire economic situation to its age-old bogeyman, the Israelis or in Hamas vernacular, the “Zionist entity.” It could create a crisis by launching rockets into Israel, thereby drawing an Israeli response which could quickly escalate to full blown war. Gaza’s population would then be spoon-fed Hamas crafted propaganda and Israel would then be blamed for the inevitable destruction and misery that is sure to follow.  Such cynical exploitation of the masses represents a ruthless Hamas tactic calculated solely on the basis maintaining the group’s survival and governing authority. The welfare of the population is of secondary or even tertiary concern.

But the Hamas wag the dog tactic is a double-edged sword. Since it withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Israel was forced to battle Hamas on three occasions – 2008/9, 2012 and 2014. On each occasion, Hamas drew the short end of the stick and was decimated militarily. Nevertheless, during the 2014 campaign, Israel came under immense political pressure from the Obama administration to cease hostilities.

Obama held up a shipment of Hellfire missiles slated to be delivered to Israel and his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) briefly ordered the suspension of commercial flights to Ben Gurion airport. Many suspected that the FAA action was implemented under orders from Obama as a pressure tactic against Israel to induce it into accepting a ceasefire. In addition, during the course of the conflict, a disturbing transcript of an exchange between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu surfaced in which the American president browbeat Netanyahu over his reluctance to accept a ceasefire, brokered by hostile Turkey and Qatar, under less than desirable terms. His secretary of state, John Kerry, was picked up on hot mic blasting Israel with sarcastic references to Israel’s “helluva pinpoint operation.”

In sum, Obama’s fiercely hostile attitude toward Israel and his attempts to hamper Israel’s war efforts provided Hamas with some measure of political cover, and prevented an even more severe mauling than already inflicted on the terror group. But there is a new sheriff in town, one not inclined toward appeasing Islamists. Should Hamas begin stirring the pot, expect the administration to give Israel a freer hand to do what is necessary to crush Hamas.

Undoubtedly, Hamas is aware of the fact that it no longer has a sympathetic ear in the White House and many of its former Arab allies, including Egypt, have abandoned it. It is also cognizant of the fact that Israel’s military capabilities are unmatched in the Middle East and any provocation will invite devastating retaliation from which it may not recover.

In sum, if Qatar capitulates, Hamas will suffer and may consequently be forced to wag the dog to preserve its survival but the very war that it provokes may spell its demise. The unfolding drama between Doha and Riyadh has placed Hamas in a bit of a pickle and it’s safe to assume that its leaders are not sleeping well these days.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.

Also see:

A Pro-American Arab Alliance that Fights?

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan as he sits down to a meeting with of Gulf Cooperation Council leaders during their summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (photo credit:JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)

MEF, by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
June 9, 2017

The decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen to cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar is the latest step in the re-emergence of a clearly defined US-led Sunni Arab bloc of states. The task of this alliance is to roll back Iranian influence and advancement in the region, and to battle against the forces of Sunni political Islam.

Little noticed by western media, this conservative Sunni alliance against Iran and Sunni Islamism has been under construction for some time.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the first to recognize the new regime of General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi following the military coup on July 3, 2013. Financial support from both countries has been crucial in ensuring the avoidance of economic disaster in Egypt.

The Saudis and Emiratis were the moving force behind the interventions into Bahrain in 2011 and Yemen in 2015. In both cases, the intention was to prevent the advance of Iranian interests.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates maintained high levels of military spending over the last half decade, in spite of low oil prices. The two countries have sagely invested in air power and special operations forces – the areas most relevant to the type of wars being fought at present in the Middle East.

The results have been visible over the last two years.

The intervention to prevent the advance of the Iran-supported Ansar Allah militia toward the strategically crucial Bab el-Mandeb Strait was the first real “outing” for Gulf Arab non-proxy military power (Operation Peninsula Shield into Bahrain in 2011 was a police action against popular unrest).

The results in Yemen have been mixed, but by no means constitute the debacle that the intervention has been presented as in some quarters. The Houthis remain in control of Sana’a, the Yemeni capital. But the nightmare scenario in which an Iran-supported force acquired control of the narrow Bab El-Mandeb strait, through which all shipping between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea must pass, was avoided. Emirati and Saudi special operations forces played a key role in the fighting.

In Libya, Emirati air power, employed in support of General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army, has played an important part in Haftar’s fight against Islamist militants. The Emiratis built a forward air base, al-Khadim, in Marj province 100 km from Benghazi. AT-802 light attack aircraft and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters operate from the base, according to satellite imagery published by IHS Jane’s.

However, the election of Donald Trump appears to have sharply increased the scope and ambitions of the pro-US Gulf Arab states. It is clear that they identify a similar regional outlook to their own in Trump and key figures around him. This raises the possibility of a more assertive and clearly defined strategy regarding both the Iranian and Sunni Islamist adversaries.

At the Riyadh meeting on May 21st, 55 Muslim majority countries signed a declaration pledging to establish a “a reserve force of 34,000 troops to support operations against terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria when needed.”

According to the final communique from the summit, the leaders present “confirmed their absolute rejection of the practices of the Iranian regime designed to destabilize the security and stability of the region and the world at large and for its continuing support for terrorism and extremism,” and accused Teheran of maintaining a “dangerous ballistic missiles program” and of “continuing interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.” A third of the document was devoted to criticism of Iranian regional activities.

The signing of the “Riyadh Declaration” took place following the visit of Donald Trump to Riyadh. Trump, in his speech at the summit, accused Iran of “spreading destruction and chaos across the region.”

Declarations by Gulf states have not always been followed by concerted action on the ground, of course. But with the current emergent stand-off between pro-western and pro-Iranian forces in eastern Syria, and the incremental loss of territory by the Islamic State in that area, it is not hard to think of the type of roles which a standing Gulf Arab “counter-terror” force would play, for example, in holding and administering Sunni Arab areas in cooperation with local forces.

An additional, un-stated assumption behind the emergence of this bloc is that the energies of the Arab uprisings that began in late 2010 are largely spent. A bloc led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Sisi’s Egypt will not seek to mobilize the revolutionary energies of populations. Rather, as with that of the Iranians, this alliance will be a top-down affair, featuring regular and semi-regular military forces carefully commanded and controlled from above.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that the main “casualty” of the emergence of this alliance is Qatar, the country which above all others sought to fan the flames of the uprisings. Qatar, through its support for Muslim Brotherhood associated movements and via its enormously influential al-Jazeera satellite channel, tried to turn the energies of the Sunni Arab masses in Syria, Egypt and the Palestinian territories into political power and influence for itself (while, of course, harshly suppressing any attempts by its own largely non-citizen population to claim rights). This project has failed.

For a moment, a large Sunni Islamist bloc based on Qatari money and Muslim Brotherhood power seemed to be emerging. MB-associated parties controlled Cairo, Ankara, Tunis and Gaza. Similar movements seemed plausibly within reach of Damascus. But this bloc proved stillborn and little of it now remains.

The hour of the revenge of Doha’s Gulf neighbors has thus arrived. The shunting aside of little Qatar, however, is ultimately only a detail in the larger picture. What is more significant is the re-emergence of an overt alliance of Sunni Arab states under US leadership, following the development of military capabilities in relevant areas, and with the stated intention of challenging the Iranian regional advance and Sunni political Islam. It remains to be seen what this bloc will be able to achieve re its stated aims. But the lines of confrontation between the two central power blocs in the region are now more clearly drawn than at any time in recent years.

Jonathan Spyer, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

Isolating terror sponsor Qatar is right way to ‘Drive them out’

franckreporter | Getty Images

QATAR IS BELIEVED TO BE WORLD’S FOREMOST STATE BACKER OF ISIS.

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, June 5, 2017:

Just two weeks ago, President Donald Trump called upon the Muslim-majority nations of the world to quash the jihadist movements both inside and outside their countries’ borders.

“Drive. Them. Out!” the president told the Muslim world while making his first foreign trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this Earth.”

Now, emboldened Gulf states appear to be responding to the president’s call for action.

Several Middle Eastern and African countries have decided to boycott and isolate the nation of Qatar. Saudi Arabia, which led the diplomatic severing of ties, said Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region” forced their hand. So far, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, Maldives, Mauritius, and the internationally recognized government in Yemen have cut ties with Qatar.

There are two primary explanations to explain the diplomatic chaos.

First and foremost, Doha’s agenda ultimately threatens the stability of the Gulf states’ leadership structures.

Qatar continues to cozy up to the Iranian regime, and broadcasts Islamist propaganda on its state-run Al Jazeera network (which is immensely popular throughout the Middle East).

Both Iran and the global Muslim Brotherhood are involved in plots to try and overthrow the Gulf monarchies. The Gulf states prioritize threats to the governing structure over anything else. Therefore, the actions taken by these states should be understood as, above all else, mere measures of self-preservation.

Second, by breaking association with Qatar, Arab countries appear to be sending a message that they are responding to the American president’s call for action, and that supporting radical elements out in the open should not be tolerated.

Qatar has long been accused of providing direct support and aid to Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida. Moreover, Doha is unapologetically supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch in Hamas. Qatar has long been home to the top political official of Hamas and the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, both of whom have endorsed terrorist attacks against innocents.

As part of a campaign to defend itself from criticism in the West, Qatar has invested millions of dollars in major American political campaigns, think tanks, universities, and other non-profits. The left-leaning Brookings Institution received around $15 million from Qatar (with Brookings employees being barred from criticizing Doha as part of a reported agreement). Additionally, while former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her Clinton Foundation received a $1 million donation from the government of Qatar.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who maintains very close ties with the Qatari regime, has encouraged the diplomacy-severing countries to “sit down together and address these differences.” As CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson met countless times with top officials in Doha to strike mega-sum energy deals.

The Trump administration has not released an official statement on the matter, but Tillerson’s plea seems to contradict President Trump’s “drive them out” remarks in Riyadh.

Undoubtedly complicating the situation is the fact that Qatar hosts the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East. Some 11,000 U.S. personnel are stationed at Al Udeid Air Base, which serves as the de facto headquarters for the United States and coalition operations against the Islamic State.

Given that Qatar is a major sponsor of global jihad, the U.S. should support these nations’ efforts to rein in Qatar and end its support for extremist elements. The embargo of Qatar is only hours old, but has already garnered immense leverage against Doha. The results can serve as a major boost to U.S. security and global stability.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

Also see:

UTT Throwback Thursday: Nurture Jihadis & Get Jihad

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, June 7, 2017:

Jihadi is total warfare.

The kinetic jihad is most effective when the target community is softened up before violence is brought upon them and then driven into the arms of the suit-wearing jihadis after an attack.

On April 15, 2013 two muslims, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, remotely-detonated two bombs they placed at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Three people were killed, including an eight year old boy, and 260 people were wounded including 16 who lost limbs as a result of the attack.  Three days later, MIT police officer Sean Collier was assassinated by the Tsarnaev’s while on duty in his vehicle on campus. Later that night, the Tsarnaevs carjacked a vehicle and kidnapped the driver.  The driver escaped and helped police track the car to Watertown, Massachusetts where an extensive firefight took place in the early morning hours (12:30 AM) of April 19th between police and the Tsarnaevs.  During the assault, the Tsarnaevs used homemade grenades against the police.  Tamerlan was killed after he was shot and run over with the vehicle his brother was driving to escape.  Later in the day on the 19th, Dzhokhar was discovered hiding in a boat in a yard in Watertown.  After a confrontation, Dzhokhar was shot and then taken into custody.  He was found guilty and sentenced to death.

During this episode, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick literally shut much of the Boston area down during the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and, from all accounts, he and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino earnestly wanted him caught.

Yet, these are the same men – Patrick and Menino – who, prior to the bombing, defended and publicly lauded leaders in the Islamic community who called for this type of behavior (jihad), and who represent known jihadi/Muslim Brotherhood organizations.

One clear example:  The Islamic Society of Boston’s (ISB) Cultural Center, also known as the Roxbury Mosque, officially opened in 2009. The ISB was founded by convicted and imprisoned Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi, and had as a founding trustee Yusuf al Qaradawi, the International Muslim Brotherhood’s most revered Islamic scholar and jurist.  Currently, renowned Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi is a trustee of the ISB.  Badawi is listed on Muslim Brotherhood documents, declassified FBI documents, and other evidence as a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader who has served in leadership positions in numerous Brotherhood organizations, including as President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

One more note, the ISB’s Cultural Center is operated by the Muslim American Society (MAS), identified by the U.S. government as the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.”

A seven minute video, available HERE, was produced by the Americans for Peace and Tolerance detailing the links between the ISB’s Cultural Center and the support given by the Governor and the Mayor to one prominent Islamic/Jihadi leader, Imam Abdullah Faarooq.

This video is an excellent tutorial in how leaders like Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino collaborate with jihadis, wittingly or unwittingly, to make communities like Boston significantly more dangerous for its citizens.

Money to build the ISB’s Cultural Center came from Saudi Arabia, but support also came from the Boston Mayor’s Offfice when Mayor Menino sold the land to the Center – valued at over $2 million – for only $175,000.  Governor Patrick had a close relationship with several jihadi leaders in the Boston area, but none more noticable than Imam Faarooq, whom he publicly hugs in the video.

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick hugging Jihadi Imam Abdullah Faarooq

This is the same Imam Faarooq who said, while defending captured Al Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui (a friend of the Imam):  “Grab on to the shovel, grab on to the gun and the sword.  Don’t be afraid to step out into this world and do your job.”

Yet, after the Boston Marathon bombing, suit-wearing jihadis conned Massachusetts officials to draw even closer so muslim leaders can work more closely to them.  The muslims objective, to continue to control the narrative.  “Islam is peace, and if you don’t regurgitate that we will blow up your city.”  Using the violent jihadis to push U.S. officials and leaders into the arms of suit-wearing jihadis.

Oddly, the Islamic leaders have yet to share the truth with their local/state/federal “friends” that jihad is an obligation for all muslims until the entire world is under sharia (Islamic Law).

And so the cycle goes.  The Muslim Brotherhood organizations across the United States have been the “birthplace” of jihadis in Chattanooga, Little Rock, Seattle, Ft Hood, Denver, BOSTON, and so many others, yet they are still operating.

And why do they do this?  Because this is what Islam is and this is what Islam requires.

This war will be won – or lost – at the local level.  Citizens must know the enemy and know who we are as Americans.  Know our founding principles and defend them.

The people of Boston have historically been strong and closely knitted together, especially in times of trouble.  Now they must come together to identify and crush the enemy in their midst.

Citizens in many towns around the nation need to do the same.  Yet, sadly, we are losing this war that most Americans do not even know we are fighting.