JERUSALEM — Embattled White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has been given a larger partnership role in efforts being overseen by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, according to a report in Politico.
The media outlet reported that McMaster brokered a new arrangement giving the National Security Council (NSC) more input over policy matters pertaining to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to Politico, Victoria Coates, an NSC official, will work full-time under Jason Greenblatt, who has been helping Kushner lead Israel-Palestinian peace efforts as the Trump administration’s envoy for international negotiations.
McMaster has faced controversy over his views on Israel, Iran and radical Islamic terrorism and for his ties to think tanks and financing that raise questions about his national security policies.
Regarding the new arrangement of Kushner’s Middle East efforts, Politico reported:
By bringing on Coates, Greenblatt would get a senior point of contact on the NSC who would be fully devoted to his project. McMaster, too, was pleased with the arrangement: it helped integrate what Greenblatt and Kushner had been doing with his NSC desk. The group saw it as a win-win-win, and the move was quickly finalized.
The move, White House officials and outside advisers said, underscored the administration’s commitment to brokering a Middle East peace deal, even amid recent setbacks in the region. And it showed the unorthodox administration giving a bigger partnership role in the region to the NSC — the traditional forum where foreign policy decisions are brokered.
Greenblatt, Kushner and Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser, are currently in Cairo and are due in Israel on Thursday for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as part of the Trump administration’s Middle East efforts. Already, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, reportedly snubbed Kushner and his team by refusing to meet with the U.S. delegation in protest over the White House’s decision to cut aid to Egypt.
McMaster’s role in securing a larger role for himself and the NSC on the Israeli-Palestinian file is fraught with risk given the PA’s history of turning down successive Israeli offers of Palestinian statehood. These offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007 and more offers were made in 2008 and 2014. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations without counteroffers.
The Palestinians have also rebuffed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented attempts to jump-start negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including freezing Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and releasing Palestinian prisoners.
McMaster, meanwhile, has been accused of harboring controversial views on Israel and the war on terrorism.
Last week, Breitbart News reported that McMaster endorsed a book that calls Hamas an “Islamist political group” while failing to categorize the deadly organization as a terrorist organization, and refers to al-Qaida attacks and anti-Israel terrorism as “resistance.”
Breitbart News also unearthed a 2014 speech on the Middle East in which McMaster claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”
McMaster, who serves in a critical national security position, seems to be minimizing the central religious motivations of radical Islamic terrorist groups who are waging a religious war against Western civilization.
Besides his drive to define terrorist groups as “irreligious,” Breitbart News further unearthed a speech following Israel’s defensive 2014 war against the Hamas terrorist group in which McMaster sidestepped a question about whether the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted itself in an ethical manner, instead providing what McMaster admitted was a “non-answer.”
The IDF is known to go to extreme lengths to operate ethically and protect civilians when fighting Palestinian jihadists who use civilians as human shields, launch rocket attacks from civilian zones and house their terrorist infrastructures in densely populated civilian areas.
Earlier this month, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the country, released an analysis of McMaster’s policies and reported views, concluding that he should be reassigned outside the NSC after it found that McMaster may be undermining Trump’s stated national security agenda.
The analysis says:
We find it hard to understand how someone who clearly has animus toward Israel, who supports the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, who opposes calling out radical Islamist terrorists, who fires Trump loyalists and supporters of Israel and opponents of Iran, who hires those opposed to President Trump’s policies especially on Israel and Iran, who refused to acknowledge that the Western Wall is in Israel, who opposes Israeli counterterrorism measures, and who shuts down joint U.S. counterterrorism programs that are of enormous value to U.S. security, can faithfully serve President Trump as top national security advisor. President Trump made it crystal clear, both before and since his election, that supporting Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance, abrogating or at least vigorously enforcing the Iran deal while calling out and sanctioning Iran’s violations, confronting radical Islamist terrorism, and draining the Washington swamp were key, distinguishing policies of his administration.
The ZOA’s analysis cited Breitbart News articles by this reporter on McMaster’s background.
Breitbart News recently reported that McMaster served at a UK-based think tank financed by a controversial, George Soros-funded group identified by the Obama White House as central in helping to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the public and news media.
From September 2006 to February 2017, McMaster was listed as a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), where he served as consulting senior fellow. The IISS describes itself as a “world-leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict.”
Breitbart also reported that IISS is bankrolled by multinational corporate firms doing billions of dollars of business in Iran.
IISS quietly took in about $32.5 million in funding from Bahrain, a country whose constitution explicitly enshrines Sharia Islamic law as its governing doctrine, Breitbart News documented.
The funding from Bahrain, a repressive regime with a dismal human rights track record but also an important regional U.S. ally, reportedly amounted to one-quarter of the think tank’s total income.
A significant portion of the Bahraini funding reportedly pays for the think tank’s annual conference in Bahrain, called the Mamana Dialogue. The original agreement between IISS and Bahrain to finance the conference contained a clause calling for the memorandum of understanding to remain confidential, according to the document, which was leaked by a watchdog and published by the Guardian newspaper last year.
As a member of IISS, McMaster participated in the Sixth Mamana Dialogue summit in Bahrain from December 11 to December 13, 2009, Breitbart News found. He is listed in IISS literature as being part of the Mamana Dialogue’s four-person panel that year on “military transformation, intelligence and security cooperation.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.