EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah
During the week of August 27, an Israeli delegation met with members of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House to discuss the current threat to Israel by the terror group Hezbollah.
Israel believes this threat is currently dire. This meeting preceded a two-week long Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise to rehearse for possible war with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post described this exercise, which commenced on September 4 and is ongoing, as the IDF’s largest in 20 years.
Hezbollah has been a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. However, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being "opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization."
What then transpired at the meeting has been confirmed to PJ Media by several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organizations involved in national security, and by a source within the Israeli government.
The Israeli delegation demanded that Mustafa Javed Ali leave the room.
This demand was made despite the clear likelihood that Ali would later be privy to the meeting’s materials and discussion. As such, sources speculated that Israel intended the demand to serve as a message to President Trump that McMaster’s behavior has constituted a subversion of Trump’s stated Middle East policy.
Mustafa Javed Ali, second from right, attending West Point's 2015 Senior Conference. The conference was described as having focused on "unconventional approaches to counterterrorism."
None of the several sources were aware if Trump had been made aware of the incident.
As has been widely reported, Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly has instituted tight restrictions on information and contacts reaching the president. Additionally, Kelly has been said to be working closely with General McMaster on issues related to the flow of information within the administration.
Friction between General McMaster and the Israeli delegation did not end with Israel’s demand that Ali leave the room.
Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah.
In particular, the Israelis expressed concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria -- an idea that had been vociferously supported by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran -- would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.
McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be "yelling at the Israelis" during the meeting.
For months, General McMaster has been under fire regarding his personnel decisions from Trump voters and the large majority of Americans who support Israel. McMaster has fired or otherwise removed all NSC appointees who strongly supported President Trump’s Middle East campaign platform.
Trump had repeatedly promised that his administration would reject the Bush/Obama policy of denying the doctrinal Islamic roots of terror, most notably expressed by Trump’s willingness to declare jihadist attacks to be “radical Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, Trump honored this pledge early in his term via the many appointees to the NSC brought on by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others.