Arab allies of US welcome push against Muslim Brotherhood

Fox News, by Ben Evansky, Aug. 8, 2017:

Arab allies of the U.S. are expressing support if the Trump administration declares the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, according to statements from foreign officials and a senior administration official who spoke to Fox News.

Speaking last week at the United Nations in response to a question from Fox News, the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.N., Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, expressed support for such a move.

“It would be a positive step forward indeed,” he said.

Salman Al-Ansari, president of the Saudi American Public Affairs Committee, told Fox News that the West is suffering from “laziness and must do its homework.”

“The U.S. needs to confront the evils of the Brotherhood as soon as possible,” he said. “If you have Saudi Arabia saying the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group, if you have Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saying it’s a terrorist group, then what should stop the U.S. from designating the MB as a terrorist group as long there are hundreds of pieces of evidence that prove this fact?”

The Brotherhood is banned as a terrorist organization in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

Fox News previously reported on the internal debates and deliberations in the Trump White House on the move to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO.)

“The fight is far from over,” a senior administration official told Fox News.

“The commitment inside the West Wing to the question of designating the Brotherhood has not waned,” the official told Fox News.

“The White House completely understands how the modern global jihadi threat, which the president has rightly described as radical Islamic terrorism, can be driven back at its roots to the Brotherhood.”

“This president is unprepared to follow the disastrous policies of prior administrations, especially the Obama White House’s empowering of the Brotherhood that led to the catastrophic consequences of the so-called Arab Spring and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from the Sinai to Sinjar,” the official concluded.

Christopher Holton of the Center for Security Policy, a group that has been at the forefront of efforts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, told Fox News, “It is an absolutely essential step. As the Egyptian ambassador well knows, the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood are identical to those of all the jihadist organizations, such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas: the establishment of an Islamic state ruled by Sharia.”

Holton blamed what he called “The Swamp in the State Department” for stopping the designation so far. He blamed some members of the Trump administration, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

“Combined with all the other distractions that have largely paralyzed so many initiatives on Capitol Hill, the effort to block the designation has thus far succeeded,” he said.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News that during the early weeks of the Trump presidency a large number of analysts warned that the move was, “ill-advised,” arguing that the move “would alienate the Muslim world and encumber diplomacy.”

Schanzer, a former terrorism finance official at the Treasury Department, said he does not believe the administration has given up on designation of the Brotherhood but he suggested it would be easier to target certain Brotherhood groups through the U.S. Treasury’s targeted sanctions program.

“The way forward is not to pursue the FTO approach at the State Department, primarily because the initiative is likely to fail,” Schanzer said. “The State Department will remain opposed…the Muslim Brotherhood is not a homogeneous organization, rather, it is made up of disparate affiliates, some of which could likely be classified as terror groups, and some not.”

“The right move is to pursue these designations in the less-politicized Treasury process in a way that is incremental and pragmatic. From there, additional affiliates can be added,” Schanzer said.

David Reaboi, the senior vice-president for strategic operations at the Security Studies Group, added, “Designating the Muslim Brotherhood would be a tremendous step in the right direction. The Muslim Brotherhood has been identified, rightly, as a threat by the countries that know it best — like Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia — among others.”

“These countries understand that the MB isn’t just another political or religious movement,” Reaboi added. “It’s the main engine driving the terror radicalization process. Any effort to combat Islamist terrorism needs to take the MB’s global network into account.”

Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and international affairs. He can be followed @BenEvansky

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:

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:

BREAKING: Major Confrontation Between Saudi, Egypt, UAE Against Qatar Over Terror Support

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, June 4, 2017:

Several countries took major moves against Qatar today over its support for terror. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties, setting off a major crisis in the Middle East.

The move also cuts Qatar’s transit rights with these countries:

The BBC reports:

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region.

The countries say Qatar is supporting terrorist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Saudi state news agency SPA said Riyadh had closed its borders, severing land, sea and air contact.

It cited officials as saying it was to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

Egypt has also closed its airspace and ports for all Qatari transportation, the foreign ministry said.

The United Arab Emirates has given Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. Abu Dhabi accuses Doha of “supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism and sectarian organisations,” state news agency WAM said.

Bahrain’s state news agency said the country was cutting ties with Qatar over “shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs”.

Kuwait and Oman are sitting this one out for the moment:

Which leaves Iran as Qatar’s main lifeline:

And with transit rights cut off, they’re going to need one:

Of course, Qatar’s support for terrorism is no secret in the Middle East:

And the behind-the-scenes activity may have been behind reports over the weekend regarding Qatar’s sponsorship of Hamas:

It remains to be seen if Qatar will invoke its joint defense agreement with Iran in response to these measures.

Apparently it was Qatar’s close ties with Iran and siding with the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen that contributed to this crisis.

Read more

Also see:

UTT Throwback Thursday: General Petraeus Wages Civilization Jihad

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, December, 8, 2016:

This week the Federalist published a scathing article about General Petraeus raising questions about his criminal actions by mishandling classified information, the possibility he is an agent of foreign powers – namely the Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia and UAE, as well as Kazakhstan – and that he favors silencing Americans’ right to free speech over offending Muslims.

petraus

The latter is where UTT will focus today’s Throwback Thursday article.

In an Op-Ed on May 13, 2016, General Petraeus spent a lot of time defending Muslims and their feelings, yet did not seem concerned about the liberties of Americans – specifically our right to free speech and expression without being beheaded, crucified or shot dead, as Muslims are prone to do.

Specifically, the General wrote:  “Those who flirt with hate speech against Muslims should realize they are playing directly into the hands of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.”

Actually, if at some point since 9/11 General Petraeus had taken a few hours to study the enemy’s basis for all of their actions – sharia – and understood the driving force in the Global Movement – the International Muslim Brotherhood – has a strategy focused on getting our leaders to do the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding for them, he might actually see that HE is one of those stooges doing the enemy’s bidding for them.

It’s called “Civilization Jihad by OUR hands.”

When the United States government wrote the Constitutions for Iraq and Afghanistan which created Islamic Republic’s under sharia thus giving Al Qaeda the objectives for which they were fighting, that was Civilization Jihad by OUR hands.  We did the enemy’s bidding for them.

When General Petraeus scolded a Pastor in America for burning a Koran (Sep 2010), that is Civilization Jihad by OUR hands – specifically, the General was enforcing the Islamic law of Slander by ensuring an American citizen would not take an action that would offend Muslims.

See the new 2 minute UTT video HERE on this very topic.

General Petraeus wrote in his May 2016 Op Ed:  “I fear that those who demonize and denigrate Islam make it more likely that it will be our own men and women who ultimately have to shoulder more of this fight.”

Actually sir, the commanding general not knowing his enemy is far more dangerous to the troops than those who speak truth about – and thereby offend – Muslims.

Know the threat. Understand the Threat.

The ‘old Iran’ is still at work

4_142016_b3-lyon-arabian-all8201_c0-643-1888-1743_s885x516Washington Times, , April 14, 2016:

President Obama is scheduled to attend a summit with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) on April 21 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The GCC is a Sunni organization comprised of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, and is home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. With the continuing turmoil in the Middle East, this summit normally would be seen as a unique opportunity for a U.S. president to show extraordinary leadership by proposing an enlightened plan for restoring stability to this critical region. However, a dark cloud hangs over this summit.

Dominating the concerns of the leaders of the GCC is President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). One of the benefits promoted by the Obama administration is that this so-called historic deal would bring Iran into the “community of nations” and lead to improved relations with not only the United States but its neighbors as well. With Iran’s continued belligerent attitude and actions — e.g. testing of ballistic missiles; the humiliation of the seizure of two U.S. Navy riverine craft on January 12; and firing missiles in the vicinity of the carrier USS Harry S. Truman — makes a mockery of the president’s propaganda on behalf of the deal.

Underscoring the concern of the GCC leaders is an unprecedented op-ed in the April 5 Wall Street Journal by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, in which he stated: “Sadly, behind all the talk of change, the Iran we have long known — hostile, expansionist, violent — is alive and well, and as dangerous as ever. Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region must stop. Until it does, our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us — as dangerous and as disruptive as ever.”

The ambassador’s op-ed says it all. Compounding the problem is Jeffrey Goldberg’s March Atlantic magazine article, “The Obama Doctrine,” which displays President Obama’s arrogance and condescending attitude in describing a number of our friends and allies. Specifically, when discussing Saudi Arabia, Mr. Goldberg quotes Mr. Obama as suggesting that they “need to find a way to share the neighborhood.” Such a remark clearly displays Mr. Obama’s tilt to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, for regional hegemony. He then went on to call the Saudis, as well as our European allies, “free riders.” This phrase particularly irked the Saudi leadership, as evidenced by the open letter by Prince Turki al-Faisal to the president, published in the Arab News newspaper, outlining the unmistakable terms of their annoyance.

The negative atmosphere for the summit created by Mr. Obama’s recent remarks and the nuclear deal with Iran — which is, in fact, not an actual deal since it was never signed — can be salvaged by the president with some deft handling of the region’s geopolitics. The frayed relationship with our 80-year ally must be restored, starting with the recognition of the Saudi’s leadership role in both the Arab and Islamic world. Our principal objectives for the region fortunately coincide with the GCC objectives. They are:

• Preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon capability

• Eliminating the Iranian theocracy’s totalitarian control of Iran

• Destroying the Islamic State (ISIS)

• Restoring stability to the region

Certainly, U.S. and GCC agreement on these objectives provide the basis for rebuilding a positive relationship.

Mr. Obama should recognize the Saudi’s leadership in forming the new 34-country Islamic Military Alliance, which would be a step in the right direction. The purpose of this alliance is to fight all Islamic jihadists, including the Islamic State, al Qaeda and al-Shabab. The recently completed 20-country “North Thunder” exercise by the Saudi-led Military Alliance should receive special recognition as a positive prelude to engage the terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq. It has long been recognized that “Arab boots on the ground” is one of the key elements for defeating ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations. The Saudis have previously expressed their willingness to put Arab ground forces in Syria in support of “moderate” Syrian forces fighting Bashar Assad.

However, such an intervention could be a double-edged sword, as it could bring Saudi Arabia and Iranian forces into direct conflict. Nonetheless, we should consider establishing a forward operation base (FOB) at Irbil in Kurdistan, which could provide more air power for our current effort. It would also be a factor in supporting any Saudi-led ground operation. In any event, it will be seen as a positive factor in our commitment to restoring stability in the region.

Further, the Saudi-led “North Thunder” exercise could be used as motivation in the current Syria negotiations led by the United States and Russia. In any event, both Syria and Iraq are fractured states and some form of federalization will have to evolve. This initiative by Saudi Arabia should be embraced by Mr. Obama as a key element in achieving both U.S. and GCC objectives.

As part of rebuilding the relationship with Saudi Arabia, Mr. Obama could propose the establishment of a U.S.-GCC “Quarantine” operation to supplement current efforts to further prevent Iran from shipping arms to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Separately, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter floated a trial balloon that the president may ask the GCC to contribute to Iraq’s reconstruction. With Iraq an Iranian puppet state — this is a non-starter.

Mr. Obama has a unique opportunity to restore U.S. credibility and further U.S. regional objectives. Unfortunately, it is less than clear that he will seize the moment.

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

Also see:

Amnesty Senior Leader Under Fire for Muslim Brotherhood Ties

20150818_yasminhusseinCenter for Security Policy, by Kyle Shideler, August 18, 2015:

Media is reporting that Amnesty International’s Director of Faith and Human Rights  Yasmin Hussein is facing public scrutiny for close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood:

A senior employee of Amnesty International has undeclared private links to men alleged to be key players in a secretive network of global Islamists, The Times can reveal. The charity was unaware that the husband of its director of faith and human rights featured in documents released after a criminal trial at which connections were revealed between British supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Arab Islamists accused of plotting to overthrow a Gulf state.

Hussein’s husband Wael Musabbeh’s name appeared among documents submitted during the 2013 U.A.E. trial against suspect Muslim Brotherhood conspirators reportedly engaged in fomenting revolution against the Emirates. Those arrests would kick off a series of confrontations between the U.A.E. and Egypt on the one hand, and Qatar, which backs the Muslim Brotherhood on the other. Subsequently, the U.A.E designated the Brotherhood, and a host of its international affiliates, including those in the United States, as terrorist organizations. Amnesty International weighed in against the U.A.E, repeatedly condemning it for its prosecution of Muslim Brotherhood-linked figures. Amnesty now claims it was unaware Hussein’s husband had a tie to the case because it didn’t know the two were married.  Musabbeh is the director of the Human Relief Foundation (HRF), a UK-based charity and member of the Hamas finance network known as the Union of the Good. Steve Merly in a NEFA Foundation report indicated how HRF had multiple donor organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., Ireland, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

But Amnesty ought to have known that Hussein was formerly employed with Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), itself an Islamic charity with known ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. As the Center for Security Policy has previously reported:

In 1999, the IRW accepted a $50,000 check from Osama Bin Laden. In 2006, Israel arrested its project coordinator in its Gaza office, Iyaz Ali, for funneling money to Hamas. In November 2012, the British Bank UBS closed the IRW’s account and blocked its customers from donating to the charity. In June 2014, Israel officially declared the organization to be illegal and banned it from operating in Israel and the Palestinian territories due to its financing of Hamas. In November 2014, the United Arab Emirates declared the IRW to be a terrorist group.

Amnesty International’s slant towards Pro-Muslim Brotherhood, Pro-Hamas, and even pro-Taliban positions has become increasingly apparent over the years. If the organization hopes to have any chance of restoring credibility it will need to take drastic action to terminate any employees found to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood, and to conduct an audit and review of all of the materials which they wrote or oversaw during their tenure for evidence of bias.

But the organization’s track record of resistance to outside scrutiny suggests that’s unlikely to happen.