Last week, the United States Congress held a session to debate designating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) – referred to as Ikhwan in Arabic — a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).
The Trump administration is currently weighing the possibility of designating the Brotherhood, which is already designated in its country of origin (Egypt) and elsewhere in the Arab world (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Syria, and even Russia). News of this broke in April following President Trump’s private meeting with Egyptian President Fattah el-Sisi.
The session was called by the chairman of the American Pulse foundation, Egyptian-American Dr. Michael Morgan, and led by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who kicked off Thursday’s panel discussion.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has submitted legislation to Congress to place the Brotherhood on its terror list, addressed the audience by video broadcast during which he noted that he will soon submit an amended bill to Congress which will serve the same purpose. During his address, Cruz said that leaked information implicates former Democratic President Barack Obama and his administration for giving orders to delete or change the content of 800 documents related to Jihad, and specifically the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2015, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill that, if it had passed in Congress, would have led to the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as an FTO.
In 2017, Congress introduced a similar bill, the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2017, with the same objective.
Rep. Gohmert also accused the FBI of destroying documents during Obama’s presidency as a result of the infiltration of Muslim Brotherhood elements into his administration. Gohmert also affirmed the importance of designating the Brotherhood as an FTO.
In 2013, Judicial Watch released a report which revealed that the FBI scrubbed its law enforcement training material of any language that might be deemed “offensive” to Muslims. As such, hundreds of references to “Muslim,” “Islam” or “jihad” were removed from the 2004 9/11 commission report.
Through a FOIA request, the group was able to obtain detailed records of a meeting between FBI Director Robert Mueller and various Islamic organizations. Judicial Watch wrote, “During the February 8 meeting, Mueller reportedly assured the Islamic groups in attendance that the agency had ordered the removal of presentations and curricula on Islam from FBI offices around the country that were deemed “offensive.” As reported by NPR: “The FBI has completed a review of offensive training material and has purged 876 pages and 392 presentations, according to a briefing provided to lawmakers.”
On his own website, Cruz noted that Mr. Philip Haney, a retired Customs and Border Protection Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, revealed that the CIA, under Obama’s presidency, scrubbed over 800 law enforcement records that were connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Members of Congress and others interested in seeing the Muslim Brotherhood designation were also in attendance.
In addition to calling for the designation of the Brotherhood, conference participants also argued about the importance of investigating the group’s funding abroad which has led to the discovery of trails of funding to other terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh), Al Shabab, and Al Qaeda among others, and to investigate the trail of money to American NGOs that might be using taxpayer money to fund terrorist activities under the direction of the Brotherhood.
This month, the Department of Education launched an investigation into Georgetown University and Texas A&M University over their failure to disclose the amount of funding their have received from Qatar, which is home to the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Yusuf al Qaradawi.
The Department of Education requires that all post-secondary schools report foreign gifts of $250,000 or more from a single source within a calendar year of receiving them.
Although the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) has publicly scorned the Brotherhood as a “devastating cancer” for being menially devoted to Allah compared to them, “the Brotherhood has provided the platform used to indoctrinate young men into Islamism and a bridge for recruits to graduate into the more violent Islamism of ISIS,” according to the Islamic State’s own publication, Dabiq. The publication also notes how Factions within the groups have supported each other based on shared goals, common enemies, and support for a united Islamist front.
Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?
America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad
Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.
Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy.
In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”
Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.
That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.
Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:
“Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”
Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 24, 2020
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”
All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting:https://t.co/0g3jpVPsDm
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 24, 2020
The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change.
Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.
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