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Monday, November 7

Hillary Clinton, Muslim Brotherhood, and PSD-11

In a recent post I echoed Thierry Meyssan's call to learn more about Hillary Clinton's involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood and noted that the motive for her involvement was unknown. While it's late in the day to ask these questions there is urgency to obtain answers because of PSD-11:  if Clinton becomes President, would she continue with the policy set forth in the directive?  

What is PSD-11?

From Gulf News, June 18, 2014: 
US document reveals cooperation between Washington and Muslim Brotherhood: Studies commissioned by the president concluded that the US should back ‘moderate Islamists’ in the region.
(Dubai) For the past decade, two successive US administrations have maintained close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Libya, to name just the most prominent cases.
The Obama administration conducted an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010 and 2011, beginning even before the events known as the “Arab Spring” erupted in Tunisia and in Egypt. 
The President personally issued Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11) in 2010, ordering an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood and other “political Islamist” movements, including the ruling AKP in Turkey, ultimately concluding that the United States should shift from its longstanding policy of supporting “stability” in the Middle East and North Africa (that is, support for “stable regimes” even if they were authoritarian), to a policy of backing “moderate” Islamic political movements.
To this day, PSD-11 remains classified, in part because it reveals an embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view of trends in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
The revelations were made by Al Hewar centre in Washington, DC, which obtained the documents in question.
Through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, thousands of pages of documentation of the US State Department’s dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood are in the process of being declassified and released to the public.
The document is still classified, and I haven't tried to learn what happened to the attempt to pry loose thousands of pages documenting State's dealings with the Brothers.

To boil it down, PSD-11 is pure bullshit as far as Barack Obama is concerned. How can I know this? Because Obama was close to Turkey's Erdogan and Al Thani, Qatar's ruler -- two hard-core authoritarians. Yet both are in the tank for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Look, Thierry Meyssan is a strange man. But in my estimation he is also nobody's fool. That's why he dredged up that old photo of Obama jawing with his half-brother in the Oval Office. The half-brother is involved with the Muslim Brotherhood up to his hairline, and he might even be a member.

But Thierry slapped that photo on top of an article he wrote about Hillary Clinton's emails and the Muslim Brotherhood. What was her involvement with the Brothers, Thierry wanted to know. Yet it could be anything, any number of reasons. 

As for PSD-11 outliving Obama's presidency, it won't happen if Trump takes the White House. That is a certainty. How can I be sure? Because an advisor to his campaign shredded the directive and the policies it's spawned; he did this less than a month ago in a report he wrote for Newsmax. Joseph Schmitz. An attorney who served as Inspector General of the Department of Defense from 2002-2005. And yes, sure Trump would listen if he's president. He's already listened.

But several other Republicans -- and Democrats -- in the defense sphere have been gunning for PSD-11. The directive is very bad news. If you want some details on how bad:

By Pete Hoekstra
October 3, 2015
The Washington Examiner
The once-fledgling Islamic State would never evolve from its "junior varsity" status to the Islamic terrorist hegemon that it is today without the wisdom, guidance, and support of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a highly secretive classified document reveals.

The Islamic State currently features 43 affiliates in 20 countries and continues to control Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. When Obama assumed office, ISIS attracted roughly 1,000 fighters and was referred to as al Qaida in Iraq, or the Islamic State of Iraq, as it was contained to one country.

Obama and Clinton in 2010 then outlined their new and untested approach to Middle East policy in the document titled Presidential Study Directive-11. 

In an op-ed dated March 6, 2011, David Ignatius with The Washington Post helpfully delves into PSD-11. He writes, "This is the president as global community organizer — a man who believes that change is inevitable and desirable, and that the United States must align itself with the new forces shaping the world."

Obama then announced America's new policy during a global apology tour that U.S. protocol in the Middle East and with the Muslim world would change dramatically.  [Pundita note: Obama certainly didn't spell out the policy during his speech -- not in a way a general public could understand it as such.]

The United Arab Emirates-based publication, Middle East Briefing, in an analysis of Freedom of Information Act documents and other sources, found that under PSD-11 the State Department would lead an effort to build "civil society" — particularly nongovernmental — organizations to alter the internal politics of targeted countries.

Under PSD-11, the Obama administration deliberately pivoted from a strategy that focused on maintaining stability in the Middle East to a strategy emphasizing U.S. support for regime change — regardless of the impact it might have on the region's stability. 

That is why we have gone from a general state of stability in the region in 2009 to the Middle East chaos we have now. Officials did not concern themselves with questions over whether new regimes would be allies or foes of the U.S. – or U.S. intelligence agency warnings about the jihadist chaos such regime change might unleash. They chose to believe the few rosy sunglass analyses.

Ignatius referred to intelligence analysts who said at the time, "…Islamic extremists don't seem to be hijacking the process of change." He quotes one intelligence analyst who discounted the threat from the Muslim Brotherhood. The West had previously ostracized the movement over its violent tendencies.

Individuals who reviewed documents released under FOIA concluded that State believed "that the Muslim Brotherhood was a viable movement for the U.S. to support throughout North Africa and the Middle East." 

As a result, "American diplomats intensified contacts with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and gave active U.S. support to the organization's drive for power in key nations like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria…" It represented a major shift in decades long U.S. policy.

In the ensuing months, the Obama-Clinton administration then abandoned Iraq and prioritized promoting regime change in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Syria above stability in the Middle East. It engaged with the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida elements and other syndicates that it naively considered harmless and erroneously believed would foster democratic reforms.

Today the countries that America deserted or knocked over — Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria — are failed states. Tunisia remains a work in progress, and Egypt is slowly recovering from its disastrous experiment with Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

PSD-11 and the resulting decisions based upon it reshaped the Middle East substantially. Its flawed and naive analysis and the policies that sprang from it created conditions that fostered the rapid expansion of Islamist terror, specifically ISIS, and have sent the Middle East into barbaric turmoil.

The first principle enshrined in PSD-11 included Obama's belief that this is "your revolution" which led America to abandon Iraq. Standing on the right side of history by switching sides and partnering with the Muslim Brotherhood underpinned his second major guiding principle.

The reported enshrinement of these two theoretical propositions in PSD-11 as a new national security strategy were dramatic reversals of longstanding bipartisan agreement among lawmakers.

The answer as to why ISIS gained power and influence, and why stability in the Middle East has disastrously deteriorated, does not require extensive analysis. As an official in the Obama White House indicated at the time, "It's a roll of the dice, but it's also a response to reality." The Obama-Clinton administration gambled with America's national security by embracing radical jihadists, and the world lost.

The approach as outlined by PSD-11 resulted in perhaps the greatest foreign policy catastrophe in the last 40 years. At least in Iraq the U.S. removed one of the world's worst dictators in history, a man responsible for heinously murdering hundreds of thousands of his own people. There would be no such benefit derived from Obama and Clinton's new strategy.

With PSD-11 the administration engaged with radical Islamists who predictably, rather than pursuing democratic reforms, took advantage of the opportunity to fundamentally transform the region and its threat environment back to the Middle Ages.

America flipped sides and the world is paying a huge price for a devastatingly naive miscalculation based upon little more than a "roll of the dice."

It's time to declassify and release PSD-11.

Pete Hoekstra represented Michigan's Second Congressional District from 1993 to 2011 and is the former Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.


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