To understand the activity within any intelligence action any observer must do two things:
- #1 You must stay elevated. If you try to get into the weeds you will be lost because your insight will be lacking specificity briefs.
- #2 You must always reflect upon the recent historic context of the engagement you are observing. Including, most importantly, the engagements of the parties therein.
The recent example of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo traveling to Saudi Arabia last weekend, at the request of President Donald Trump, to personally present Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef with an award named after former CIA director George Tenet, is an example of the need for this approach.
If you want to understand what’s going on, you must understand the recent relationship of the parties. It begins with understanding modern political Islam.
Within “political Islam” there are various factions. However, again with the intent to remain elevated, let us just approach two larger congregations as: “Authentic supporters” and “Reform Agents”.
The modern extremist elements fall under the category of “Authentic Supporters” or Salafists (politically, The Muslim Brotherhood). The “Reform Agents” are represented by people like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah III.
Within “Political Islam” these two elements (Authentic -vs- Reform) are fighting for the heart, soul, intellect and -in larger measures- the future of Islam in a modern world.
All the various Muslim factions fall along a continuum of authenticity to the principles of Islam. The more authentic the expression, the more violent and confrontational the group. The more moderate the expression, the reformers, the less violent… etc.
Over the course of the past decade each political side has surged and/or retreated during the larger struggle for the heart of those who adhere to the Muslim faith. The so-called “Arab Spring” was a surge of the Authentic group, and was empowered/emboldened by the foreign policy activity of exterior nations. In particular, the ideological sympathy of former President Barack Obama.
In the face of the growth of the various Authentic expressions, the Reform elements were in a retreating position attempting to contain the internal damage being carried out by the extremist groups. Reformers and more moderate voices were simply trying to hold on to the construct of a civil society amid the growing crisis created by emotional demands of extremists requiring adherence to Sharia, the authentic political law of Islam.
On January 19th 2015, three days before Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died from a lung infection, Egypt’s President Fattah al-Sisi was urgently summoned to met with him.
It was only a few weeks earlier (New Years Day 2015) when al-Sisi delivered an impassioned speech to a scholarly audience in Al-Azhar University in Cairo comprised of Islam’s most important religious leaders.
As the most notable and visible reformer (<- important link) President Fattah al-Sisi made the case for “a religious revolution in Islam that would displace violent jihad from the center of Muslim discourse“:
“The corpus of texts and ideas that we have made sacred over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. You cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You must step outside yourselves and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.” –LINK–
President al-Sisi’s visit to Saudi Arabia to visit with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was a meeting specifically requested by an aging 90-year-old Saudi King to recognize Sisi for his courage and leadership.
King Abdulaziz was intent on honoring his friend.
Saudi Arabia had been coping with the same internal conflict as all other Muslim nations who were caught between the internal struggle.
President Sisi left Saudi Arabia with the full support of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and upon his death a few days later the new Saudi King Salman; who honored Sisi in a similar fashion as did his brother.
With the support of Saudi Arabia, the demands of al-Sisi to remove the extremism of the Muslim Brotherhood gained traction. The Gulf States finally, and collectively, pressured Qatar to stop aiding/financing extremism.
This was the origin of the turning tide, when the Reform Agents began to stabilize and reassert their politics and internal domestic economies – the underlying wedge issue used by The Brotherhood to stir turmoil.
Unstable Yemen is to Saudi Arabia -> as unstable Libya is to Egypt -> as unstable Syria is to Jordan… and so it goes.
Each unstable nation being stirred by the extremist voices of various agents operating under the umbrella of the destabilizing politics expressed by The Muslim Brotherhood.
Remove the destabilizing agents and the Reformers believe they will be able to stop the extremists. This is the longer-term objective of those within the fight inside political Islam.
Now look again at the nations of Trump’s visa restrictions and you’ll note the presence of the destabilizing agents: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran [and Sudan, Somalia].
This is the necessary backdrop to understand events as they unfold and relate to President Donald Trump and his own foreign policy objectives and engagements.
It is not accidental that newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to meet with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef, after a phone call between Saudi King Salman and President Trump took place.
Director Pompeo’s visit was to recognize the efforts of Saudi Arabia in the larger fight against Islamic extremism/terrorism. However, based on internal consumption, Pompeo could not be seen publicly in this regard with King Salman himself. The visible face of Saudi Reform is the crown prince.
- Jan 20th – President Trump takes office.
- Jan 26th – President Trump has a phone call with King Salman
- Jan 26th – On the same day, State Dept. Nominee Rex Tillerson visits State Dept. HQ and the media report on the resignation of many existing State Department personnel.
- Feb 1st – Secretary Rex Tillerson is confirmed by the Senate.
- Feb 2nd – The three Muslim Awan brothers are terminated amid accusations they accessed congressional intelligence committee computers without permission.
- Feb 8th – FOX reports administration considering labeling The Muslim Brotherhood as an official terrorist organization.
- Feb 11th – CIA Director Pompeo travels to Saudi Arabia to deliver thanks.
By all appearances it seems the Trump administration was given a head’s up of sorts as to specific [Muslim Brotherhood] agents within the U.S. State Department. And also with key Democrat staffers, in highly sensitive intelligence positions, amid Congress.
- Feb 12th – Fattah el-Sisi has a meeting in Egypt with Dana Rohrabacher, senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Sisi requests that President Trump “not differentiate between terrorist groups and to follow the same approach against them all“.
- Feb 13th – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is sworn in.
- Feb 13th – U.S. Treasury Dept. Announces official sanctions against Venezuela’s Vice President, El Aissami. An identified agent of the Iranian government and Hezbollah.
To wit, Egyptian media announce that Fattah el-Sisi will be traveling to Washington DC to meet with President Trump:
[…] Informed sources said that the presidency is currently coordinating with the US to arrange a visit next month. The sources referred to the visit as the first official one for an Egyptian president to Washington since 2009, as the last visit since then was paid by former President Hosni Mubarak.
Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will leave Washington next Monday going back to Tel Aviv. Israeli TV reported on Sunday that Netanyahu is planning to form the ‘Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian’ axis. (read more)
It is ironic, but not coincidental, that no official Egyptian delegation has visited the United States since President Obama traveled to Cairo and started “The Islamist Spring” which led to the uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood extremism in Egypt.
Irony, because now the Trump administration is facing the internal extremist purging of the Muslim Brotherhood embeds remaining within the U.S. government leftover from President Obama’s aftermath…. and now, President Fattah el-Sisi, the destroyer of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt comes to officially visit President Trump in Washington.
I hope everyone can clearly see what’s going on in the bigger picture.
After eight years of Obama’s intense political embedding of extremist sympathy in every aspect of governance, and culture – President Trump is now tasked with removing it, all of it; and finding allies amid those who have already mounted the same effort.
It is also important to remember the political enterprise of The Muslim Brotherhood not only employs congressional staffers, but also has key connections to elected officials within both parties. Representative Adam Kinzinger and John McCain are two of the more obvious sympathizers on the right side of the UniParty.
Again, reference the seven states of turmoil/concern and you’ll notice a pattern:
Senator John McCain and Senator John Kerry in Cairo, Egypt – 2011
What came next?… The installation of the Muslim Brotherhood:
Senator John McCain and Ambassador Christopher Stephens, Benghazi Libya 2012
What came next?…. The rise of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood
Senator John McCain travels to Syria in 2013
What came next? Yup, you guessed it – Muslim Brotherhood (via ISIS)