Filling the void.

Via The National:

US national security adviser General HR McMaster criticised Qatar’s and Turkey’s “new role” in sponsoring and funding extremist ideology on Tuesday, and attributed the rise of the Justice and Development party in Ankara to Turkey’s growing problems with the West.

In a rare public foreign policy appearance with his British counterpart Mark Sidwell hosted by Policy Exchange in Washington, Mr McMaster announced that US President Donald Trump will roll out a new national security strategy on Monday.

The strategy will be based on four vital strategic interests for the United States, he added, and listed them as follows:

1. Protect the US homeland and the American people

2. Advance American prosperity

3. Preserve Peace through strength

4. Advancing American influence

In paraphrasing these strategic pillars, Mr McMaster spoke of three threats to US interests globally, and two of which centred in the Middle East.

First he mentioned China and Russia “as revisionist powers” encroaching on US allies and undermining the international order, followed by the threat from “rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea” who he said “support terror and are seeking weapons of mass destruction.”

The third threat he labelled as the jihadist radical organisations that need to be deterred by operating effectively he explained.

Mr McMaster struck a hawkish tone on Russia. He said: “We are facing a threat from Russia that involves also so-called new generation warfare.

“These are very sophisticated campaigns of subversion and disinformation, and propaganda, using cybertools operating across multiple domains that attempt to divide our communities within our nations.”

Asked about political Islam and his views on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist political organisations, General McMaster called himself a “big fan” of the review conducted by former British diplomat Sir John Jenkins in 2014 about the topic. The review- which the UK government did not make public- is believed to warn of the threat of political Islam.

“Radical Islamist ideology is obviously a grave threat to all civilised people” Mr McMaster said.

The US national security adviser said this threat has been identified “myopically” in the past.

“We didn’t pay enough attention how it’s [radical Islamist ideology] is being advanced through charities, Madrassas and other social organisations.”

While Mr McMaster made reference to Saudi Arabia’s support for some of these organisations decades ago, he singled out Qatar and Turkey as main supporters today. He said it “is now done more by Qatar, and by Turkey”.

He added that the Trump administration is committed to countering extremist ideologies and funding and referenced the new centre established during the US President’s visit to Saudi Arabia. It is a “big problem when Islamist radical ideology bridges into political Islam” he said.

While stressing that not all the Muslim Brotherhood branches are alike, he urged to build opposition groups that respect individual freedoms, and in order to avoid another “Morsi model” in reference to former Egyptian president overthrown in 2013. Mr McMaster said that the Brotherhood operated clandestinely and monopolized opposition after the street upheavals and fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The other model that Mr McMaster identified with the Brotherhood is Turkey’s AKP. “By operating through civil society, they consolidate power through one party, sadly it is a problem contributing to Turkey’s drift from the West” he said.

Keep reading…