New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs, 10-29-17

Trump’s ambassador to the UN lays off Doha and pressures Juba. To subscribe to this daily roundup by Mideast specialist Joseph Braude, click here
In a remarkable about-face, Nikki Haley tells Congress that Qatar “does not fund Hamas.” … “Haley’s reversal, contained in a memo to Congress obtained by BuzzFeed News, comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeks to unite competing factions in the Trump administration behind a common policy in the high-stakes Gulf crisis.” That policy effectively leans in favor of the Qatari position. The position, as described in the article, is to view the four-country blockade as “a threat to both stability in the region and the US air base in Qatar, which is home to the largest concentration of U.S. military personnel in the Middle East.” Haley’s remarks include the following: “While the Qatari government does not fund Hamas, it does allow Hamas political representatives to be based in Qatar, which Qatar believes limits Iran’s influence and pressure over Hamas. … Qatar has committed to take action against terrorist financing, including shutting down Hamas bank accounts.” Observes Ilan Goldenberg of the Center for a New American Century, “These answers were certainly written by State Department staff … Haley got up there and bashed Qatar publicly, and then State followed Tillerson’s overall guidance on taking a conciliatory approach.”
… But sends a stern message to South Sudanese leader Salva Kir. “The hate and the violence that we are seeing has to stop,” she said, or the United States will reconsider its financial support for the country. She noted that the US has invested over $11 billion in South Sudan and is “now questioning that investment.” Haley is making a tour to the South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the first visits to the continent by the upper echelon of the Trump administration.
Joseph Braude’s forthcoming book, Broadcasting Change: Arabic Media as a Catalyst for Liberalism, will be released on December 15 by Rowman & Littlefield. For advance orders, click here.

Speak Your Mind