Who is ultimately responsible for U.S. foreign policy: the elected president of the United States, or the State Department, the CIA, and the media cartel?
That’s the question that must be asked after the past month. Rex Tillerson and the State Department have repeatedly sabotaged President Trump’s stated foreign policy position related to the ongoing crisis between the Gulf states and Qatar over the latter’s sheltering and funding of terrorist groups operating in the region.
This was seen last week, when Tillerson signed a so-called “anti-terrorism” agreement with Qatar:
NEW: Sec. Rex Tillerson announces anti-terror agreement between US, Qatar "to interrupt and disable terror financing flows." pic.twitter.com/2munim9TVg
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 11, 2017
But no sooner had Tillerson signed this “anti-terrorism” agreement than did Qatar openly state its support for the terrorist group Hamas:
Moments after Rex says he made grand deal with Qatar to curb terror finance: "Qatar vows backing for Hamas"https://t.co/jnPdWDXkKK
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) July 11, 2017
In the region, this was seen as Qatar deliberately making Tillerson look like a complete fool.
Not only do Tillerson and the State Department’s moves in this crisis support terror-funding Qatar, but they alienate our long-time Arab allies in the Middle East. Tillerson’s meetings in Saudi Arabia — which came after signing his agreement with Qatar — were termed “a disaster”:
One Gulf source described SoS #Tillerson’s meeting with #Saudi leadership re. #Qatar crisis as “disaster” . https://t.co/zW4bzQuwXl
— Hisham Melhem (@hisham_melhem) July 13, 2017
Needless to say, the other Gulf states and Egypt did not respond positively to Tillerson’s so-called “anti-terrorism” agreement with Qatar, either:
The four nations affirm the measures will remain in place until Qatar commit to fully implement fair demands https://t.co/O4JMf079ap
— Abdul Hamid Ahmad (@AbdulHamidAhmad) July 11, 2017
Egypt says Qatar should be kicked out of anti Islamic State coalition https://t.co/nD4A83kXf2
— Reuters Iran (@ReutersIran) July 11, 2017
Here's the complete context of the #JointStatement issued by the #UAE, #SaudiArabia, #Bahrain and Egypt on #Qatar https://t.co/4e8IvS9PS5 pic.twitter.com/udsM3dCfum
— حسن سجواني 🇦🇪 Hassan Sajwani (@HSajwanization) July 11, 2017
Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly supported the other Gulf countries and Egypt in this dispute. He has called out Qatar for its support of terrorism:
So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
…extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
Trump tells fundraiser that Qatar is funding terrorists https://t.co/tlEXfBqoQy pic.twitter.com/qgn7dx8cRq
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 30, 2017
Yet Trump has been repeatedly sabotaged by his own secretary of State and State Department:
Trump Says Qatar Funding Terror at 'Very High Level' as Tillerson Wants Blockade Eased https://t.co/umZHSpJSri #news #politics pic.twitter.com/3VLWTPUe1V
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) June 9, 2017
State Department steps up criticism of Saudi Arabia https://t.co/Zs8bjac1uN pic.twitter.com/qNpYZ5N3bg
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 20, 2017
Tillerson calls Qatar's position "reasonable." Counterpoint to Trump earlier lending support to Saudis.
— Nicholas Wadhams (@nwadhams) July 11, 2017
Tillerson continued his Middle East tour last week by hinting at closer relations with Turkey, which over the past year has nose-dived into open Ottoman Islamist authoritarianism to the considerable consternation of our Arab allies. Except, of course, Qatar:
Cozy Tillerson-Erdogan meeting in Turkey raises hope for warming ties – @amberinzaman https://t.co/qZhv15LnX3
— Al-Monitor (@AlMonitor) July 11, 2017
One of the primary issues in the crisis over Qatar is their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which in Egypt is waging an all-out insurgency against the government, and is actively working to destabilize other countries in the region.
As Gulf states cut ties with Qatar, Trump team debates Muslim Brotherhood terror designation https://t.co/ELk6QR0uoK pic.twitter.com/rn8OFPag72
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 6, 2017
At his confirmation hearing, Tillerson classified the Muslim Brotherhood as being in the same league as al-Qaeda:
Tillerson opening statement for Senate confirmation hearing lists Muslim Brotherhood alongside ISIL, AQ, Iran as "agent of radical Islam": pic.twitter.com/9Z1shzoexZ
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) January 11, 2017
Trump's pick for Secretary of State says "Radical Islam poses a grave risk," gives Muslim Brotherhood as example https://t.co/40H83vLNHG pic.twitter.com/IBotz5HZ2A
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) January 12, 2017
#RexTillerson says #US will target #Muslim Brotherhood https://t.co/0HZ3md9JBa pic.twitter.com/4XHbHpP8FO
— Gulf News (@gulf_news) January 12, 2017
But as secretary of State, Tillerson has taken an entirely different line, especially during this crisis. For instance, take the comments he made last month — he said the U.S. could not designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization because it is part of the government in some countries:
Tillerson: Blacklisting Muslim Brotherhood is a problematic, they are parts of Turkey & Bahrein governments https://t.co/ltGi4qijDo
— ilhan tanir (@WashingtonPoint) June 16, 2017
Well, the Bahraini foreign minister publicly called out the Muslim Brotherhood, which is part of Bahrain’s own government, as a terrorist organization earlier this month:
Bahrain's FM: The Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization, those who sympathize with it will be prosecuted: https://t.co/SmzrYr8KNw
— Eric Trager (@EricTrager18) July 5, 2017
#BREAKING Bahrain's FM says Muslim Brotherhood must be held accountable for bloodshed in #Egypt https://t.co/UdWVq4OI3G
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 5, 2017
Tillerson was also wrong in regards to Turkey — the ruling AKP is not a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate.
One of the other examples trotted out by the media cartel in support of the Muslim Brotherhood is the MB affiliate in Tunisia, which — according to the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” propaganda — serves as a “firewall” against terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. But as I reported here at PJ Media last month, the head of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood has been implicated in the assassination of his chief rival at the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists:
Tunisia's 'Moderate Muslim Brotherhood' Leader Ghannouchi Accused in Assassination of Political Rival https://t.co/4cpicjGDm7 @pjmedia_com pic.twitter.com/6Uq1eg1Flg
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) June 28, 2017
To further negate Tillerson’s claim, terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas are indeed part of their respective governments (in the latter case, actively encouraged by the Bush administration), and yet we’ve had no problem designating them as terrorist organizations.
Remarkably, this is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose terror wing in Egypt, Hassm, is openly making threats against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that is under Tillerson’s direct oversight:
State Department Says Muslim Brotherhood Terror Cell Hassm Threatens U.S. Embassy in Cairo https://t.co/JVn8RNtf9r via @pjmedia_com pic.twitter.com/ax5SqxpPvR
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) May 26, 2017
#Egypt arrests members of #Hasm Muslim Brotherhood-linked extremist cell https://t.co/G96YIOqcNT pic.twitter.com/jrL3ULeu2a
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) May 25, 2017
Also revealed last week: Qatar had pledged to the other Gulf countries to stop backing the Muslim Brotherhood in an agreement made several years ago after the collapse of the self-styled “Arab Spring.” Qatar has wantonly violated this agreement:
#Qatar : Leaked 2013 + 2014 Agreements between GCC & Qatar show if vowed no support for Muslim Brotherhood https://t.co/0eAD39GnSL pic.twitter.com/KI5fmxIIRv
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) July 10, 2017
Just yesterday, we had unnamed “U.S. officials” wade further into the crisis by telling the Washington Post that UAE was behind the hacking of the Qatari government earlier this year:
UAE behind cyberattack that led to Qatar boycott after incendiary false quotes appeared online, U.S. officials say https://t.co/8AbcijB4U8
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 16, 2017
A hacking attack that “U.S. officials” had attributed to Russia just a month before:
FIRST ON CNN: US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis https://t.co/Sic3bZI9rO
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) June 6, 2017
So what we’re seeing is presumably unelected “U.S. officials” wading into critical political and policy discussions, and issuing leaks and counter-leaks depending on what the preferred media cartel talking point of the day might be.
The simple fact is that in this crisis — regardless of what might have transpired in the past — many Arab nations perceive these terrorist organizations as direct threats to their own countries, and they are taking action. How can the U.S. pass up an opportunity to assist in that effort? And why would the State Department undermine President Trump’s public support to that end?
The Qatar crisis is exposing that there is a severe conflict of visions in this administration about who actually dictates U.S. foreign policy: the president, or the foreign policy bureaucracy. Among the media cartel and the chattering class of so-called “experts,” the unanimous consensus is that the unelected bureaucrats at the State Department set policy, not the president of the United States:
Mattis, Tillerson want to sooth a Gulf crisis, but Trump is picking on an ally in the region https://t.co/CAkov5Vfrc pic.twitter.com/dRFmtwxukT
— Military and Defense Insider (@MilDefInsider) July 3, 2017
Trump seems to have undercut Tillerson again today in call to Saudis. This policy confusion really does matter. https://t.co/ADcO197Tkd
— Marc Lynch (@abuaardvark) July 14, 2017
At its root, this is America’s larger crisis: who ultimately runs the U.S. government?
The election of Donald Trump represented the revolt of many Americans against the prevailing establishment mindset. Virtually every single media outlet that endorsed a candidate selected Hillary Clinton, yet the American electorate chose otherwise. For the establishment, that is heresy that must be rooted out.
What we’re seeing in this conflict between Trump and his own State Department is fundamentally a manifestation of an effort to sabotage American representative democracy. Anyone appointed to the administration who openly undermines the chief executive should be shown the door — from the cabinet on down:
Tillerson is a disgrace. the "shallow state" is the problem https://t.co/KS14OMIpgi
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) July 11, 2017
There's a level of detail in here that makes me think Tillerson or DOS insiders asked Pillar to voice their thoughts on POTUS.
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) July 16, 2017
A secretary of State sabotaging an elected president’s foreign policy is a danger to diplomacy and democracy. Tillerson needs to go now.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member