What’s Driving Trump’s Possible Ban on Muslim Brotherhood?
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What’s Driving Trump’s Possible Ban on Muslim Brotherhood?

“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,” the New York Times has cited Sanders as stating. The informed sources told the American newspaper that after the 9 April visit of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to Washington and meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, the president issued an order to the Department of State and National Security Council’s officials, telling them that they should work on finding a way to impose sanctions on the Muslim Brotherhood, an influential organization with millions of supporters across the Arab world and the region. In February 2017, Trump put on his government’s agenda blacklisting as terrorists the Muslim Brotherhood, at a request made by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. At the time, the Pentagon, the National Security strategists, and the Department of State’s diplomats opposed any action against the movement, pushing the motion to the sidelines. Now the idea is rising anew. A set of reasons are motivating Trump government to re-launch an effort to label as a terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood with regard to the new regional conditions. The final moves towards the “deal of the century” Trump is preparing the ground for and is heavily working on forging the so-called “deal of the century.” Materializing the scheme on the ground will unilaterally serve the interests and objectives of the Israeli regime, a prominent ally to the US in the region. Should the President succeed in his way towards the deal, he will find his way smoother to the re-election. However, accomplishing the plan is far from being easy, mainly with regard to the opposition by the Palestinian factions and the regional and international sides. Fully aware of the objections to his initiative, Trump has embarked on a campaign of pressure against the key opponents of the deal. On the one hand, he attacks the Axis of Resistance by pressing Iran economically, blacklisting Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, seeking to marginalize Hezbollah in the Lebanese politics, and leaving the Saudi and Emirati hands open for massacring the Shiite Muslims in Yemen, and on the other hand, eyes banning Muslim Brotherhood to open the Israeli hands for inhumane pressures against Gaza Strip and apparently Gaza-based Hamas movement. Hamas is another key opponent to the deal of the century, which is expected to officially recognize the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and strip the Palestinians of their right to return home. From another aspect, the blacklisting is a reward to such countries as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE which are expected to side with the deal after its unveiling. On Tuesday, Al-Akhbar newspaper of Lebanon, citing informed sources, reported that during an Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Jordan to discuss the US decision to recognize al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of an Israeli regime, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s representative to the meeting, made an “astonishing” proposal: formation of a united Israeli state and dissolving the Palestinian Authority. In late April, media outlets, citing some Israeli sources, reported that Trump responded affirmatively to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to replace Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with el-Sisi as the assignee of the deal of the century on the Arab side. This comes while the New York Times’ report suggests that Trump considers the Muslim Brotherhood ban on the el-Sisi’s demand. Reviving Arab NATO project Yet another reason White House is taking the risk of blacklisting the non-compliant forces in the region, including IRGC, Hezbollah, and possibly Muslim Brotherhood, should be tied to the US policy facing failure in West Asia amid new regional conditions. The fact is that the regional developments over the past decade majorly went against the US and allied forces’ interests. The Arab uprisings which stem from Islamic awakening pose an existential threat to the life of the pro-US regimes, particularly Saudi Arabia, in the region. Washington finds detrimental to its interests any promotion of political Islam across the Persian Gulf region. Muslim Brotherhood laid the first cornerstone of political Islam in the Muslim nations. A boost of the Brotherhood ideology with openness to the political and social freedoms have been sources of constant concerns among the Persian Gulf Arab sheikhdoms, apparently Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both of which ruled despotically. The regional developments have severely undermined the Israeli security as a top White House’s regional policy priority, as the security belt of the Axis of Resistance, led by Iran and including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, now encircles the occupied Palestinian territories. Despite this reality, Trump does not want to pay the bills for new wars in the region, having in mind that in the future war there is no guarantee it will be short and Tel Aviv is the winner. A new war will heavily jeopardize the highly fragile Israeli security. In such a condition, Washington seeks the solution in a NATO-style security and military alliance with its regional allies. The coalition will have the mission to protect the American interests on its own price. However, the Arab NATO initiative has gone almost feckless as Egypt, an Arab world influencer, announced its reluctance to join it. Egypt is one of the biggest strategic allies of the US in the region. Forty years ago, Cairo recognized the Israeli regime and is one of the main destinations for the US aids, with an annual help worth of over $1 billion. Trump is optimistic that being in league with el-Sisi in branding Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, beside Washington’s turning a blind eye to the el-Sisi’s constitutional reforms that solidify his grip on power and allow him rule until 2030 and the support to Egypt’s backing to Libya’s General Khalifa Haftar military campaign against the central government, will contribute essentially to persuading Cairo to participate in the Arab NATO project.

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