Cutting Young Girls, (Female Genital Mutilation), Isn’t Religious Freedom

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Redacted from an article by Kristina Arriaga

Wall Street Journal
Aug. 25, 2017

Earlier this year, a 7-year-old girl from Minnesota entered an examination room at a clinic just outside of Detroit. Thinking this was a regular visit, she allowed the doctor to remove her pants and underwear and place her on the examination table. Suddenly, while two women in the clinic held her hands, the physician spread her legs and cut her clitoris. Two months later she told investigators the pain ran down to her ankles and she could barely walk.

In April Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who allegedly performed the procedure, was charged with conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation. Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, the owner of the since-closed clinic, was also charged.

Investigators suspect Ms. Nagarwala may be involved in 100 other cases, and the trial starts in October. This marks the first time a female genital mutilation case is going to federal court. The lawyers for the Michigan physician will argue the girl “underwent a benign religious procedure.” This is a dangerous hypocrisy with far-reaching consequences.

Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996. Yet a 2012 study in the journal Public Health Reports estimates that more than 500,000 girls in the U.S. have undergone the procedure or are at risk.

These girls live all over the country, with larger Muslim concentrations in California, New York and Minnesota. Most go through this process in secret, and only 25 states have laws that criminalize the procedure. In Maine, the American Civil Liberties Union has opposed a bill to do so on the ground that “the risk of mutilation isn’t worth expanding Maine’s criminal code.”

Female genital mutilation, most often performed on girls under 13, has serious medical and psychological repercussions. The cutting ranges from a clitoridectomy, partial to total removal of the clitoris, to infibulation, removal of all the external genitalia. The latter is so severe that “healing” often involves binding the girl from ankle to waist until the scar tissue closes. This kind of cutting leaves an opening the width of a pencil for urination, menstruation, sex and childbirth.

In 2015 a U.N. official estimated that 20% of parents take their daughters to physicians but the rest use improvised sharp objects.

This spring, an Ethiopian man in Georgia was deported for performing female genital mutilation with a pair of scissors on his 2-year-old daughter. Parents fearing prosecution sometimes take their girls out of the country for “vacation cutting.”

A report from Unicef suggests at least 200 million girls and women alive today, in 30 countries, have undergone some form of it. (The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, of which I am vice chairwoman, does not take an official position on female genital mutilation.)

Whether this practice is religious or cultural is debatable. In the Michigan case, the victims belong to an Indian Shiite Muslim sect called the Dawoodi Bohra, whose members refer to the clitoris as a sinful lump of flesh.

The cutting, khatna, is considered a religious observance to prevent girls from becoming promiscuous. Yet female genital mutilation predates Christianity and Islam. No religious text requires it. Many imams have issued fatwas against the practice and Christian leaders like Pope Francis have denounced it.

The physician’s lawyers announced they will craft a religious-freedom defense. And they may be astute enough to get away with it. The all-star team includes constitutional law scholar and O.J. Simpson lawyer Alan Dershowitz, along with Mayer Morganroth, (Shame on them. I don’t think they will find this procedure within their own Hebrew bible – Not that that matters to them jsk ) who represented assisted-suicide champion Dr. Jack Kevorkian for more than 15 years. They are funded by an international Muslim organization called Dawat-e-Hadiyah.

The lawyers must know they are entering dangerous territory, at least in terms of public relations. After coming under criticism for defending female genital mutilation, Mr. Dershowitz suggested during a June interview that pricking the girls’ clitoris would be a better way to fulfill a “religious legal obligation.” This is absurd. There is no such obligation.

The physician’s lawyers have not only put these girls at even greater risk, they have tainted the religious freedom of all Americans with their specious arguments.

Religious freedom is a bedrock right that ensures all can live according to their convictions. It also allows for the existence of charities providing Americans with an equivalent of $1.2 trillion annually in food, shelter, medical care and more. It is not a tool to protect harmful practices like female genital mutilation.

These girls are among the most vulnerable in society. For their sake, Americans must raise their voices against this detestable practice. Doing what is right may also yield an important social good: the restoration of religious freedom to its proper place in American culture and jurisprudence.
Ms. Arriaga is a contributor at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.

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Hezbollah has taken over Lebanon dominating UN supposed monitors for years. II Latest President Trump “peace” mission to Israel

I  Redacted from an article by Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon

II Commentary – Jerome S. Kaufman, Editor

Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2017

Ambassador Danon: The Security Council must expand the force’s mandate—and make sure they do their jobs.

Over the past year, I have given dozens of United Nations ambassadors tours of Israel’s border with Lebanon. During a recent visit with my American counterpart, Nikki Haley, Israel Defense Forces officers identified Hezbollah positions along our northern border.

Our guests appropriately asked where the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon was, and why nothing was being done to stop Hezbollah terrorists from blatantly violating numerous Security Council resolutions.

Our answer was simple. The UNIFIL force is there, but they are not effectively fulfilling their mandate. The good news is that when UNIFIL mandate comes before the Security Council later this month, there are practical steps that can be taken to ensure that this important U.N. force succeeds and another conflict with Hezbollah is avoided.

UNIFIL was established in 1978 with the goal of restoring “international peace and security” and assisting the Lebanese government in extending its authority over southern Lebanon. The force was altered in 1982 after the First Lebanon War and again in 2000 when Israel completed its withdrawal from Lebanese territory.

In August 2006, following the Second Lebanon War and the subsequent Security Council Resolution 1701, UNIFIL’S mandate expanded to include monitoring the cease-fire. Most importantly, UNIFIL was charged with ensuring that the territory south of the Litani River remained free of weapons and fighters other than the Lebanese army.

Unfortunately, these efforts have failed. Over the past year alone, we have shared with the Security Council new information detailing how border towns have become Hezbollah strongholds. One out of three buildings in the village of Shaqra is now being used to store arms or launch attacks on Israel.

We also shared with the council intelligence revealing how the Iranians use civilian airlines to smuggle dangerous arms into southern Lebanon. When the Second Lebanon War ended, Hezbollah had around 7,000 rockets. Today, they have more than 100,000.

Hezbollah is lately stepping up its efforts to destabilize the region. In April its fighters posed for pictures with rocket-propelled-grenade launchers during a media “tour” of their positions along Israel’s border. UNIFIL forces did nothing to halt this live, televised violation of Security Council resolutions.

In June, Israel reported to the U.N. that Hezbollah has established a series of border outposts under the guise of an agricultural organization called Green Without Borders. Our intelligence services have determined that these positions are used regularly for reconnaissance operations against Israel. In this instance too, UNIFIL insisted on turning a blind eye, claiming that it lacked authority to investigate.

To rectify this situation, and avoid a new conflict, the Security Council must make real changes to UNIFIL’s mandate. In addition to generally improving UNIFIL performance, the council should insist on three vital steps.

First, UNIFIL must increase its presence in the territory. This includes meticulously inspecting the towns and villages of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah strongholds, like the one in Shaqra, must be dismantled, and other villages must be kept free of rockets and weapons aimed at Israeli population centers.

Second, UNIFIL must report all violations of Resolution 1701. The Security Council should not hear about them from us, and definitely not from the media. It is vital that UNIFIL report on these violations in real time to ensure that the members of the council can take appropriate measures.

Third, the UNIFIL UNIFIL forces must insist on unlimited access to all suspicious installations under their mandate. As a report by the U.N. secretary-general recently noted, UNIFIL is regularly obstructed in southern Lebanon. Excuses regarding the activities of nongovernmental organizations or other Hezbollah front groups should not be tolerated.

Israel has been, and always will be, ready to defend its citizens. At the same time, no one wants UNIFIL to succeed more than Israel does. With Hamas rearming in Gaza and Islamic State increasing its strength along our frontier with Syria, we seek calm and stability on our northern border.

To achieve this, the Security Council must step up its efforts to ensure that UNIFIL’s renewed mandate fulfills the goals outlined above. Failing to do so will call into question the efficacy of this U.N. peacekeeping force and endanger the lives of innocent Israelis and Lebanese.
Mr. Danon is Israel’s ambassador to the U.N.

II Commentary – Jerome S. Kaufman

(Only one problem, Ambassador Danon — The UN and especially the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon ((UNIFIL) does not give a damn about Israel. In fact, they openly side with Hezbollah and in the past have allowed Hezbollah missile launchers to fire right alongside or within UNIFIL posts. When Israel finally retaliates and takes out those launch pads, the UN goes ballistic against Israel, as usual, labeling it the aggressor.

The only answer is and always has been for Israel to maintain complete military dominance over Southern Lebanon and launch as many pre-emptive strikes as necessary to keep the area clear of any striking force into Israeli communities. And let the Russians, the Iranians, the Lebanese and the American State Dept. be so advised.

Israel must be dependent only upon the Israel Defense Forces and quickly wreck havoc upon any forces lined up against the Jewish Homeland.

The world only understands power, Mr. Ambassador. It is way past time Israel and Jews world-wide understand that. Any other concept is delusional and will unnecessarily cost Israeli lives and we cannot afford the loss of any more Jewish lives. Six million the last time and Peres, victims for “peace” since, is more than enough.

Yes, Mr. Ambassador, let the rest of the world labor under their own delusions. Israel cannot afford that luxury 

Jerome S. Kaufman, Editor
Israel Commentary, www.israel-commentary.org

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AMERICA’S ISLAM TRANCE

David Kupelian on why Muslim religion is growing rapidly in world’s most Christian nation

(Redacted from a more detailed, must read article (Whistleblower Magazine/World Net Daily, May 2017)

It’s not that unusual for an Islamic society

After all, the usual features are all on display – the Muslim call to prayer, the teaching of Islam in the nation’s schools to the exclusion of other religions, preferential treatment afforded Muslims by government and the courts, news coverage reflexively portraying Islam in a positive light, the rapid growth in mosque construction – and also the disturbing cultural phenomena of female genital mutilation, “honor killings” and so on.
Except this is not Saudi Arabia or Egypt we’re talking about, or any of the world’s approximately 50 Muslim-majority countries.

This is the United States of America. Not America as it might be one day if current trends continue, but as it is right now – today.

That’s right. While North Korea threatens to nuke the U.S. mainland, while the left (including most of the media) continues its infantile post-election meltdown into madness, while President Trump endeavors to remedy the torrent of national and international problems unleashed by his predecessor Barack Obama – beneath the radar and largely out of view, America is inexorably becoming ever more Islamized.

While a few brave souls have been sounding the alarm over the progressive inroads Shariah Islam is making into American culture, schools, colleges, religion, medicine, law, government and even the military, perhaps the most important question that needs to be addressed at this point is, why?

 
Why, when Judeo-Christian America has been hands-down the most successful nation in history – indeed why, when Americans are blessed with a crystal ball called Europe in which they can clearly see the disastrous future awaiting a once-Christian civilization that recklessly embraces Islamic expansionism – would we continue down the same suicidal path that has led to Europe’s virtual suicide?

There are several reasons, some obvious, some less so.

Let’s start with the obvious: Power-mad Beltway Democrats’ obsession with importing multitudes of voters in hopes of attaining a “permanent progressive voting majority,” since statistically the vast majority of Muslims in America vote Democrat. Big business’s selfish desire for cheap immigrant labor. Liberal-left Christians’ naive compulsion to “welcome” Muslim “refugees,” not simply to help the needy and downtrodden, but to prove to others – and to themselves – that they are good people and not “racists,” “Islamophobes” or “xenophobes.”

And of course, Muslim Brotherhood-front organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ go-to tactic of exploiting America’s expansive First Amendment religious freedom protections to aggressively advance their Shariah-supremacist agenda.
.
This inversion of Americans’ traditional core values, which causes us, for example, to glorify and celebrate immorality, perversion and mental illness (like troubled people amputating healthy body parts and pretending to be the opposite sex) while reviling and punishing virtue (like the Christian county clerk jailed for conscientiously objecting to signing a marriage license for two homosexuals) is the same inversion of values that inspires us to enthusiastically import into our country as many people as possible who are steeped in a religious and political ideology dedicated to crushing our own.

It’s as though we’re living in a hypnotic trance, in a dream state, wherein we are moving in slow motion toward certain destruction. A few of us see the danger and shout warnings, but to no avail. No one seems to hear us, or else if they do hear they don’t comprehend the peril and instead attack us and call us terrible names – or worse.

 
There’s another critical dynamic that explains, at least in part, the cravenly pro-Muslim “trance state” of the leftist media, academy and culture: Terrorists provide powerful public relations cover for non-violent “moderate” Muslims seeking the same ultimate end as jihadists – for America to become Islamic. As Author McCarthy explains:

 

“Just as the Soviet collapse has been a boon for the left, the ferocity and overreach of Muslim terrorists has been a dual boon for Islamism. So atrocious has been the bloodbath wrought by al Qaeda, its affiliates and its imitators that it has enabled more methodical Muslim extremists to operate under the radar. Repeated terror strikes, culminating in the death of nearly 3,000 innocents and the surreal demolition of the seemingly impregnable Twin Towers, shock Americans and their government into a myopic determination to prevent additional mass-murder attacks.

“In this climate of fear, the calculating but apparently non-violent Islamist compares favorably with the uncompromising, blood-soaked Islamist terrorist. He is thus regarded as cause of hope – indeed, as a moderate – by government and opinion elites. This, despite the fact that his agenda is essentially the same as the terrorist’s: Only their methods differ, and even those differences are shades of gray.”

 

We are just scratching the surface here. I invite you to join me in exploring this crucial subject much more fully in the current eye-opening issue of Whistleblower magazine, titled “HOW ISLAM IS SECRETLY TRANSFORMING AMERICA.”

 
David Kupelian is an award-winning journalist, vice president and managing editor of WND, editor of Whistleblower magazine and widely read columnist. He is also the best-selling author of “The Marketing of Evil” (2005), “How Evil Works” (2010) and most recently, “The Snapping of the American Mind” (2015).

 

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On Radical Islam, Trump Has Lost His Focus

There’s no promised  ‘extreme vetting,’ no outreach to moderates, and too much coziness with Riyadh, SAUDI ARABIA

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The Wall Street Journal

Aug. 10, 2017

 

 

Candidate Donald Trump vowed to take a fresh approach to Islamic extremism. He ditched the politically correct language of the Obama administration by declaring that we were mired in an ideological conflict with radical Islam, which he likened to the totalitarian ideologies America had defeated in the 20th century.

 

Mr. Trump also promised, as part of his immigration policy, to put in place an extreme vetting system that screens for Islamic radicalism. He vowed to work with genuine Muslim reformers and concluded with the promise that one of his first acts as president would be to establish a commission on radical Islam.
Mr. Trump has had more than six months to make good on these pledges. He hasn’t gotten very far. The administration’s first move, a hastily drafted executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries backfired when it was repeatedly blocked in court. (And, the Democratic Party)
Worse, subsequent moves have tended to run counter to Mr. Trump’s campaign pledges. Aside from a new questionnaire for visa applicants, there has been no clarity regarding the promised extreme vetting of Muslim immigrants and visitors. The promise to work with and empower authentic Muslim reformers has gone nowhere. The status of the promised commission on radical Islam remains unclear.
Perhaps most discouragingly, the administration’s Middle Eastern strategy seems to involve cozying up to Saudi Arabia, for decades the principal source of funding for Islamic extremism around the world.
Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems.
But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest.
Is all hope of a revamped policy on radical Islam lost? Not necessarily. Prominent members of Congress, among them Sens. Ron Johnson (R.Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa) and Reps. Ron DeSantis (R.Fla.) and Trent Franks (R. Ariz.) understand that Islamism must be confronted with ideas as well as arms.
And this need not be a partisan issue. In the early years after 9/11, Sens. Jon Kyl (R. Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (D.Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D. N.Y.) worked together to analyze the threat of Islamist ideology.
Even President Obama’s former representative to Muslim communities, Farah Pandith, who visited 80 countries between 2009 and 2014, wrote in 2015: “In each place I visited, the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence, Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams.
In 2016, addressing the Council on Foreign Relations, Sen. Chris Murphy (D.,Conn.) sounded the alarm over Islamist indoctrination in Pakistan, noting that thousands of schools funded with Saudi money teach a version of Islam that leads into anti-Western militancy.
We have already seen one unexpected outbreak of bipartisanship in Washington this summer, over tightening sanctions on Russia in retaliation for President Vladimir Putin’s many aggressions.
I propose that the next item of cross-party business should be for Congress to convene hearings on the ideological threat of radical Islam.
Who wants America on offense, with a coherent and intelligible strategy?
Newt Gingrich asked in 2015, when he called for such hearings. Then as now, if the president has forgotten his campaign commitments lawmakers can and should step up to the plate.

Ms. Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and founder of the AHA Foundation.

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The Jerusalem Holy Temple Mount was Empty – For a moment – Until the Israelis interfered once again in their own destiny.

www.israel-commentary.org

 

By Moshe Feiglin

 

 

12 Av 5777 – August 4, 2017

 
Although I anticipated that Netanyahu would remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount, and although I very much hoped that I would be proven wrong, things developed in such an amazing and fascinating manner that I couldn’t help but think that perhaps we were on the threshold of an historic change.

 
Everything that happened on the Temple Mount is the opposite of what you would have expected. After Israel liberated the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War, then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan returned the keys to the Temple Mount to the Muslim wakf.

 

The wakf was in shock. Fifty years later, Netanyahu begged the wakf to take the Mount back, but they were simply unwilling to do so, deciding instead to boycott the site. This was inexplicable. Israel had already removed the metal detectors and even took down the security cameras.

 

Just as Jordan’s King Hussein forced Israel to liberate Jerusalem in 1967, so too the Muslim wakf was forcing Netanyahu to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Temple Mount. This historic change could only happen to the Nation of Israel. It was simply amazing.

 

The Temple Mount was empty. After 50 years, it was in our hands! The Arabs were not there. Only Jews were on the Temple Mount. This was absolutely astounding! The problem is that Am Yisrael (The Israeli people) did not have the leadership capable of understanding this historic moment and translating it into practical strategy.

The Muslim wakf was completely right about the metal detectors. For years, Israel had been saying that the Temple Mount belongs to the Arabs. So if it is theirs, why were we putting metal detectors at the gates of their home? The Arabs understood very well that the metal detectors are a flag that symbolize sovereignty.

 
The entire situation on the Temple Mount revolves around sovereignty – not prayer. When Netanyahu folded and agreed to remove the metal detectors, he cut the rope that ties us to this land precisely at that stake to which everything else is tied.

All of rights on this land, all of our connection to it, to Zionism, to Mount Zion – everything from which we draw our identity – revolves around the Temple Mount. From the moment that Netanyahu folded and indicated that the Mount is theirs, not ours, he opened the door, G-d forbid, to ever-increasing pressure on Israel.

 

We have just missed an extraordinary opportunity. In my estimation, Israel’s weakness on the Temple Mount will bring a very serious conflict upon us with much more difficult starting conditions because, with our capitulation, we have lost our sense of justice. And a nation that has lost its sense of justice cannot win – even if it has the most sophisticated army, the smartest submarines, the F-15, the F-16 and the F-35.

 

A young Arab girl with a pair of scissors who knows what she is doing here will defeat an Israeli soldier with the most sophisticated weapon. Ultimately, justice is the best weapon of all.

 
Moshe Zalman Feiglin (Hebrew: משה פייגלין, born 31 July 1962) is an Israeli politician and columnist. A former member of Likud, he headed the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction within the party, and represented Likud in the Knesset between 2013 and 2015.

 
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Another crucial Trump appointment deservedly, about to backfire — Sec’y of State, Rex Tillerson?

www.israel-commentary.org

HOW ABOUT NOW APPOINTING THE GUY THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN APPOINTED IN THE FIRST PLACE AND IS THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THE JOB – AMBASSADOR JOHN R. BOLTON, PLEASE.

From: Clarion Project — Challenging Radical Islam. Promoting Human Rights

BY RYAN MAURO

July 25, 2017

Administration still 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 (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain) 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.

His spokesperson read a scripted statement accusing the Arab states of having ulterior motives, saying the U.S. is “mystified” by their complaints. The State Department even cast doubt on the credibility of the Arabs’ accusations, claiming that they haven’t provided supporting details.

Qatar’s lavish sponsorship of terrorism and extremism is incontestable. As Poole documents, far from offering support for those Arab states opposing Qatar, Tillerson publicly made moves towards Qatar’s Turkish allies and increased criticism of Qatar’s Saudi adversaries.

The Trump Administration also agreed to sell up to 36 fighter jets to Qatar right after the Arabs began their campaign.

Tillerson even signed a counter-terrorism agreement with Qatar, spitting in the faces of the Arab countries fed up with Qatar’s repeated breaking of its promises to change its behavior. Immediately after signing the deal, Qatar reiterated its firm commitment to Hamas (and therefore, the broader Muslim Brotherhood organization of which it is an official branch).

Tillerson’s Ties to Qatar

People are inevitably influenced by those they surround themselves with, especially if that interaction is lucrative. Perhaps Tillerson’s favoring of Qatar has something to do with the close relationship he had with the Qatari government as a businessman with ExxonMobil, which has a decades-long association with the rulers.
ExxonMobil was a founding member of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council in 1996, an entity created by the Qatari regime. Tillerson was a senior official at the time. Another listed founding member is Al-Jazeera, the jihadist-friendly propaganda network run by Qatar and the Brotherhood. One of the Arab states’ top demands is the closure of the network headquartered in Doha.

After becoming chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson became a member of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council’s advisory board. He apparently held this position up until when he became Secretary of State, as his name is still listed with that title on the website.

The Vice President of ExxonMobil Production’s name is currently listed as a member of the Council’s board of directors. Al-Jazeera officials also appear on the advisory board and board of directors.

The organization’s website says that the U.S.-Qatar Business Council “played a major role in the formation of Qatar Foundation International (U.S.-based).” The Qatar Foundation headquartered in Doha is a major promoter of Islamist extremism, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, including Islamists in America.

When the Arab campaign against Qatar began, the Qataris immediately began utilizing their contacts to try to win the State Department over. It deployed its lobbyists in America and they had leverage: The West’s three biggest energy companies, including ExxonMobil, were trying to strike a deal with the Qatari government for expanding liquified natural gas production.

But Qatar isn’t the only country working aggressively to influence U.S. foreign policy in a direction favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey’s government is also leading the Islamist charge.

Tillerson’s Ties to Turkey

ExxonMobil is a member of the U.S.-Turkish Business Council. The chairman is Ekin Alptekin, the very same Turkish businessman at the center of the controversy with President Trump’s former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn.

Alptekin’s company had a $600,000 contract with Flynn to promote the Erdogan government’s interests. Flynn’s firm registered as a lobbyist but did not register as a foreign agent. The Justice Department’s National Security Division began an investigation last November. Flynn registered as a foreign agent of Turkey after he was fired and replaced by General H.R. McMaster.

We do not currently know of direct dealings between Tillerson and Alptekin, but ExxonMobil’s involvement in the U.S.-Turkish Business Council highlights how his prior relationship with the Turkish government may influence his behavior.

At a time when Erdogan has few defenders, the Islamist dictator finds a supporter in Tillerson.

On July 9, Tillerson traveled to Istanbul to receive an award from the World Petroleum Congress. There, he heaped praise upon those who defended Erdogan against a coup attempt last year, going so far as to describe the Islamist government as a democracy. He said:
“Nearly a year ago, the Turkish people – brave men and women – stood up against coup plotters and defended their democracy. I take this moment to recognize their courage and honor the victims of the events of July 15, 2016.

It was on that day that the Turkish people exercised their rights under the Turkish constitution, defended their place in a prosperous Turkey, and we remember those who were injured or died in that event.”

Tillerson doesn’t defend Erdogan in all circumstances, as he did condemn the Turkish security personnel who attacked protesters in Washington D.C. in May. But that’s not exactly a bold stand; it’s something that any public official would condemn.

When it comes to the tough issues, Tillerson has sided with Qatar and Turkey, even when it contradicts the commander-in-chief who picked him for secretary of state.

On designating the Muslim Brotherhood, Tillerson sides with Qatar and Turkey. When the Arab states piled unprecedented pressure on Qatar for its sponsorship of terrorism and extremism including the Brotherhood and Hamas, Tillerson sided with Qatar and Turkey.

When it comes to last year’s coup in Turkey, Tillerson sided unequivocally with Erdogan’s Islamist dictatorship. He didn’t even necessarily have to talk about it during his visit to Istanbul. He chose to.

When it comes to the Kurds, our best allies in fighting ISIS, Tillerson’s State Department sided with Turkey in criticizing the Iraqi Kurds’ referendum on independent statehood. It also implied opposition to Kurdish independence, reacting to the referendum with a statement in support of a “united” and “federal” Iraq.

Political analysts always say that Trump was elected because people wanted change from an outsider. Tillerson is not bringing change. When it comes to Islamism, it’s the same-old same-old. Possibly worse.

 

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.

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