The Trump Administration hasn’t designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization as it was expected to do.
Designation falls under the purview of Secretary of State Tillerson, who has chosen the Muslim Brotherhood;and its backers in Qatar and Turkey over their Arab rivals.
Tillerson recently signaled his opposition to designating the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-June. He only has negative things to say about the idea.
His main point is that the Brotherhood’s political parties have representatives in governments like those in Bahrain and Turkey. That is irrelevant. If it was such a problem, Bahrain itself wouldn’t have banned the Brotherhood and the U.S. wouldn’t be dealing with the Lebanese government that has Hezbollah in it, which is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Tillerson also repeated the “non-violent” and “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood propaganda. He claimed that the Brotherhood’s political parties in governments “have become so by renouncing violence and terrorism.” That was false when the Obama Administration said it, and it is false now.
The disappointment in Tillerson’s position is made exponentially greater by the fact that now is an optimum time to designate the group.
The Arab world is putting unprecedented pressure on Qatar over its support of the Brotherhood and other jihadists in the Islamist swarm. Muslim foes of the Brotherhood are left wondering where the U.S.stands because Trump and Tillerson aren’t on the same page.
Counter-terrorism expert Patrick Poole goes so far as to assert that Tillerson is “sabotaging” Trump’s foreign policy and urges his departure from the administration.
While President Trump expressed his support for the Arab measures against Qatar and unequivocally described Qatar as a major terrorism-financier, Tillerson did the opposite. He described Qatar as “very reasonable” in its reaction to the Arabs’ pressure.
Read the full story at the Clarion Project.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.