FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in the White House State Dining Room in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
CAIRO - 30 April 2019: The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration attempts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization as revealed by “officials familiar with the matter.”
The information was confirmed by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders who declared in a statement, “the president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process,” as reported by the newspaper.
The anonymous sources told The New York Times that National Security Adviser John R. Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo support the targeted measure, while objections are raised by “the Pentagon, career national security staff, government lawyers and diplomatic officials.”
The opponents of the idea “have been scrambling to find a more limited step that would satisfy the White House,” the newspaper reported. The reservations are pertinent to law and policy. The officials claim that such designation does not meet the criteria. Also, they fear the repercussions on U.S. - Turkish relations since Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a main supporter to the group. In addition, the sources have concerns over the fate of “Americans and American humanitarian organizations with links to the group.”
As stated on the website of the U.S. Department of State, “Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with
, as amended.”
The U.S. law authorizes the Secretary of State to designate foreign terrorist organizations without the approval of the Congress based on classified information that may not be revealed unless for judicial review purposes.
The opt for designation was debated last week in a meeting by the White House’s National Security Council attended by senior policymakers from various departments. Two of the ideas proposed at the meeting were “trying to identify and target a terrorist-linked group with ties to the Brotherhood that has not yet been designated” and “limiting any designation’s scope to the Egyptian branch.”
The newspaper has reported that a closed meeting between Trump and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the White House on April 9 has triggered the matter that was first raised by the Trump administration in 2017. If the proposal materializes, any funds from U.S. citizens or entities to the group will be blocked, individuals related to the group will be banned from entering the country, and those already there may be departed or prosecuted.
The latest entity that has joined the list is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) two weeks ago to be the first ever state institution designated a terrorist organization.
Lawmakers at the House of Congress’ Subcommittee on National Security gathered for a hearing last year “to examine the threat of Muslim Brotherhood to the United States and its interests and how to effectively counter it.”
The subcommittee described the brotherhood as a “radical Islamist organization that has generated a network of affiliates in over 70 countries.”
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
CAIRO - 12 July 2018: Lawmakers at the House of Congress' Subcommittee on National Security gathered for a hearing on Wednesday "to examine the threat of Muslim Brotherhood to the United States and its interests and how to effectively counter it."
The Muslim Brotherhood is designated in Egypt an outlawed group that is held responsible for many assassinations and terror attacks committed since its foundation in 1928. The terror acts by the Brotherhood culminated in the aftermath of the ouster of Former President Mohamed Morsi who is affiliated with the group.
CAIRO - 13 August 2017: Islamists started to amass in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Nasr City neighborhood on July 28, 2013 in support of former Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi. Numbers varied from a few thousand to dozens of thousands throughout the 47 days the sit-in took place.
Morsi was elected in 2012 and toppled one year later on July 3, 2013 over mass protests. The attacks targeted mainly churches, buildings of security directorates, security checkpoints, ambushes, and patrols causing hundreds of deaths, injuries, and material losses across the country. At present, terrorism is predominantly restricted to North Sinai.
The most popular assassinations by the group are those of late Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi Pasha in 1948, and late President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981.
The Brotherhood is designated a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.