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The Squabble among the Gulf States Is Complex. Devising a U.S. Response Need Not Be

July 13 2017

As the spat between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt on the other shows no sign of abating, John Bolton suggests policies that can help resolve the dispute while advancing American interests:

Confronting the twin issues of radical Islamic terrorism and the ayatollahs’ malign regime in Iran are central not only to the Arab disputants but to the United States as well. In addition to providing our good offices to the Gulf Cooperation Council 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) to be 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 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-jihadist 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 whatsoever.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arab governments already target the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, but Qatar, [which actively supports it], does not. . . . 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.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, Muslim Brotherhood, Politics & Current Affairs, Qatar, U.S. Foreign policy

 

The EU Violates International Law, Steals Palestinian Land, and Then Demands Compensation from Israel

Nov. 17 2017

Last month, the eight European countries that make up the West Bank Protection Consortium sent a formal letter demanding €30,000 in compensation for two classrooms with solar panels that Israel dismantled in August. The letter, as Ruthie Blum explains, ignores the fact that the structures, located in part of the West Bank called Area C, were built in violation of international law:

[The 1995 agreement known as] Oslo II, which created the Palestinian Authority (PA), divides the West Bank into three geographical sections—Areas A, B, and C—and specifies which government controls each. Area C is under the military and civil jurisdiction of Israel alone. . . . Yet, for years, there has been non-stop building in Area C, . . . in a transparent effort to populate Area C with Palestinians. . . .

[The] Middle East analyst Bassam Tawil [has] noted massive “behind-the-scenes” Palestinian construction, the goal of which is “to create irreversible facts on the ground” and completely encircle Jerusalem. He points out that while Israel is condemned for any and every attempt to build housing in the West Bank and Jerusalem [which it never does in Area A, assigned by Oslo to the sole jurisdiction of the Ramallah], the Palestinian Authority has been undertaking, with impunity, a “colossal” construction project that is “illegal in every respect.” . . .

On a recent tour of the area, [another] Arab affairs expert, Khaled Abu Toameh, explained that this ongoing construction, funded mainly by the EU and Qatar, is made possible through the “confiscation” of privately owned tracts of Palestinian land by unlicensed contractors whose interest is solely financial. . . All they want, he said, is to line their pockets at the expense of helpless landowners, who are told that they must sacrifice their property to help the Palestinian Authority populate the area for political gain against Israel. . . .

It takes particular gall for European Union representatives to express “humanitarian” outrage at Israel for razing illegal structures in the West Bank—while the EU is in league with Palestinian criminals who have been brazenly stealing Arab-owned land.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, West Bank