The Cold War between the president and secretary of state became obvious from the latest State Department annual report on the global terrorism situation, which blames Israeli security policies for stalling the peace process and claims that Palestinians rarely incite terror attacks. This, in spite of Trump’s repeated statements of support for Israel. In the 2016 State Department Country Report on Terrorism, State clearly took the position of the Palestinian Authority against Israel.
That was particularly evident in citing changes on the Temple Mount as incitement of terror, clearly referring to Israel’s recent erecting metal detectors at the entrance after terrorists killed two Israeli policemen, shooting from within the mosque. Israel recently removed the metal detectors after massive Palestinian protest, which our state department apparently agrees with.
This new report differs little in its viewpoint from the reports issued by the Obama Admin. In fact, the previous (Obama Admin) report uses the identical language in the offensive parts, except for the allusion to the Temple Mount, which only recently happened.
“A State Department official, speaking on background, defended the report’s conclusions and said that it cannot precisely pinpoint the motivations behind Palestinian terror attacks on Israel,” wrote Washington Free Beacon’s top reporter, Adam Kredo.
The report stands, unchanged to date.
The White House may agree with various diplomatic slaps against Israel; it’s hard to tell. Haaretz reported: “in a rare move, the Trump administration … asked the Palestinian Authority to add [David] Friedman [our ambassador to Israel] to meetings between Palestinian negotiators and Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special envoy to the peace process.” Surprisingly, Israel has not taken part in the meetings. “The last time an ambassador to Israel took part in a meeting between American and Palestinian negotiators, without any Israeli presence, was in the late 1990’s.”
“State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters [on July 11th] that U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s participation in a meeting with Palestinian officials earlier that day wasn’t a diplomatic downgrade for the Palestinians, but ‘perhaps even an upgrading.’” Even if it didn’t set up the meeting sans Israel, the White House had to be aware of Nauert’s statement, yet said nothing.
Kredo writes: “The problem is that the Obama team spent eight years filling the State Department with career staffers who think exactly like they [the team] think, and those people are still running things,” the source said. “Some really good people have tried to clean house, but every time anything got going Tillerson went to the president personally to protect the Obama holdovers.”
Something is rotten in the State Department, that’s for sure or is it anti-Semitic? The big question: Is the president on board with the obvious radicalism in the report? If it’s true that Trump protects the Obama holdovers, then either he’s oblivious to Obama’s ideology, or he’s going along with it at least partly. Mauro’s July 25th article in the Washington Free Beacon, “State Dept. in ‘Open War’ With White House,” does its best to shed light on the question, but for obvious reasons, doesn’t give names.:
The State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson has been locked in a growing power struggle with the White House that has angered officials in the West Wing and sparked claims that [State] is now in “open war” with the White House on a range of critical issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, Iran, the crisis with Qatar, and other matters, according to multiple sources.
[This has] handicapped the administration and resulted in scores of open positions failing to be filled with Trump confidantes. This has allowed former Obama administration [holdovers] to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda.
In his other piece, Kredo quotes “a veteran foreign policy analyst who regularly briefs the White House and Trump appointees in the State Department”:
“Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.”
Going back to May, we had the report that “A senior member of the US delegation making preparations for Trump’s [May 22-23] visit to Israel “angrily rejected a request that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany the president when he visits the Western Wall, and then sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall is ‘not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.’ ”
I read “the US delegation” to mean people from our consulate in Israel.
“The Israelis then asked whether a TV crew providing live coverage of the Trump visit could at least continue to film there. At this point, the TV report said, a senior American official rudely responded: “What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.”
This was based upon the UN Security Council resolution, which Obama allowed to pass, near the end of his term, rejecting Israeli rights in Jerusalem. Trump publicly opposed this resolution. This report is from the Times of Israel on May 15th:
“An official at the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the Channel 2 report, telling the Times of Israel that Israeli officials were ‘shocked’ by the comments and have asked the Trump administration about the incident.”
The official said that “Netanyahu is certain that the comment does not reflect President Trump’s policy.”
On the same day, the Times reported that “‘The comments about the Western Wall were not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president,’ a senior administration official told The Times of Israel.”
We don’t see Tillerson firing anyone over this incident. Nor do we see Trump clicking out any Twitter attacks about it, as he’s doing with his attorney general, who is carrying out the president’s policies.
The president also backed off on his promise to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. When asked about it, before Trump actually signed the waiver nixing the move, Tillerson said “The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”
As further evidence of a problem with the State Dept., and the problem of Trump’s going along with State: Trump abandoned the idea of designating the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terror organization based upon the opinion of the State Dept. In a Clarion Project report, pointed out to me by my friend, Jeannette (She knows who she is), Tillerson is clearly the prime mover in saving the Brotherhood from designation. He also sides with Qatar, when Trump has stood with Arab allies to call out the nation as a sponsor of terror. Though why Trump would listen to Tillerson is completely beyond me.
Yes, the president has to rely upon his advisors, because of his lack of direct experience, and, apparently, lack of any desire to do his own research. However, Tillerson doesn’t know a whit about diplomacy or the Middle East, except from the point of view of a former Exxon executive. And Qatar is a major oil and gas exporter.
It’s also a funder of terror, and, as Foreign Policy Magazine reports, “The tiny, gas-rich emirate has pumped tens of millions of dollars through obscure funding networks to hardline Syrian rebels and extremist Salafists.” The Qataris also had a strong hand in the 2011 overthrow of Libya’s Gadhafi, and continues to fund terrorists in Libya.
“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, said Clarion Project, adding that: “The Arab world 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.
Tillerson also has an apparent affinity for the Muslim Brotherhood. Clarion reports:
“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 made it clear in June that he opposed designation. Middle East Eye reported that:
“US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to voice opposition to designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, saying that such a classification would complicate Washington’s relations in the Middle East.” He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 14th that “designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization … would complicate Washington’s relations in the Middle East,” adding that:
“The Brotherhood has about 5 million members and has become “somewhat segregated” within its own ranks, where subgroups “continuing to commit themselves to violence” are already blacklisted by the US. [Such as Hamas]
“But at the top of the quality chain, if I can call it that, there are elements of Muslim Brotherhood that have now become parts of governments,” Tillerson said, citing members of parliament in Turkey and Bahrain who belong to the Brotherhood. “Those elements have become so by renouncing violence and terrorism.”
He thus repeated the bald-faced lie floated by James Clapper, to ease criticism of the Obama Admin over its intended rapprochement with the Brotherhood in Egypt—where the group has since amply proven that it’s a terrorist group.
Strangely, during his confirmation hearing, Tillerson “lumped the Brotherhood with al-Qaeda during his confirmation hearing when talking about militant threats in the region.” This turnabout, and Tillerson’s use of the “Clapper Lie” show unequivocally that Trump should rid himself of Tillerson, if he’s to have any credibility.
Terrorism expert Patrick Poole agrees. In a PJ Media article, he writes that “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.” Poole reveals that, even as the president had stood with other Arab allies to demand Qatar end its terror funding, Tillerson signed an “anti-terror” 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
Doesn’t Congress have to approve treaties anymore?
Before the ink was dry on the “agreement,” Qatar affirmed its support of 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
Poole points out that “In the region, this was seen as Qatar deliberately making Tillerson look like a complete fool.”
It seems apparent that the White House is at odds with the State Dept., just as Adam Kredo indicated. Why Trump launches daily Twitter attacks about Sessions, who is 100% on board with the Trump Doctrine, and not Tillerson is a mystery. Unquestionably, Tillerson should be sent packing. As the president doesn’t get State in line with his policies—if indeed he really believes them himself—we will not see the kind of change in foreign policy that Americans voted for.