2021 Outlook Assessment
Hopes by national security hawks to see the Muslim Brotherhood designated as a foreign terrorist group have been repeatedly dashed over the four years of the Trump Administration, as the Administration’s efforts have been repeatedly stalled by bureaucratic resistance.
Now Senator Ted Cruz has once again taken up the gauntlet in order to bring the issue front and center during what could become the lame duck portion of President’s term if ongoing electoral fraud challenges do not go the Trump campaign’s way.
It is highly unlikely the bill will see significant movement in the Senate, but it is an important effort for keeping the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood’s dangerous nature front and center.
While the bill does not actually designate the Brotherhood -a power which rests solely with the executive branch- it would help make the case for designation as well as highlight ongoing State Department intransigence. Forcing the State Department to explain its opposition to Muslim Brotherhood designation would expose just how poorly formulated the objections are.
This bill also sends an important signal to the Trump administration that Americans still care about the issue of radical Islam and want to see action taken. The Trump administration has the power to make a designation happen now if it applies sufficient pressure on the bureaucracy.
President Trump should act now and instruct Secretary Pompeo to designate the Muslim Brotherhood without further delay.
A Muslim Brotherhood designation now would help to cement the Trump administration’s Middle East policy and protect the successfully peace deals between Israel and several key Arab states. The Brotherhood is a major opponent of these initiatives and will play a key role in seeking to undercut and destabilize the countries which signed them.
It is worth remembering that President Bill Clinton signed an executive order to designate the Muslim Brotherhood group Hamas based on that group’s interference with U.S. peace efforts.
Designating the Brotherhood would also help frustrate a potential Biden Administration from reverting America’s Middle East policy back to the Obama-era.
Under Obama, the U.S. emphasized working with Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups to the detriment of regional allies. This resulted in the regional chaos of the Arab Spring, led to the growth of ISIS, accelerated the growth of terror groups, and threatened American security.
President Trump may also consider the immediate declassification of the Obama administration’s Presidential Study Directive-11 (PSD-11), which would provide additional evidence of the disastrous Obama-Biden policy for dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups.
The return of this policy under a Biden Administration would also certainly result in more regional instability, breathe new life into terror groups, and create the need for American troops to provide security in the region. It would thus strike directly at President Trump’s legacy in the region, which focused on working with regional allies, reducing U.S. troop presence abroad, and defeating ISIS.
Senator Cruz is to be commended for bringing this issue front and center again, and the Trump Administration should move swiftly to take the opportunity to help preserve its successful legacy in the Middle East.