Pompeo sees ‘real risk’ from Muslim Brotherhood in Middle East

Administration examining legal aspects of terrorist designation "to get it right," he said.
Tuesday 14/01/2020
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during an event hosted by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Stanford, California on January 13. (AFP)
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during an event hosted by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Stanford, California on January 13. (AFP)

LONDON - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump Administration is still examining the possibility of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, saying the organisation poses a "real risk... in many nations throughout the Middle East."

"The administration’s still looking at this, trying to evaluate, trying to make sure that we get it right," said Pompeo during a speech delivered at Stanford University's Hoover Institution on January 13.

"I don’t know how that will ultimately be resolved, but I do know there is real risk from the Muslim Brotherhood in many nations throughout the Middle East and we ought to do our part, I hope alongside our European friends as well," he added.

The US secretary of state was among eight members of Congress who sponsored the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act asking the Obama administration in 2015 to label the group a terrorist organisation. US Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, introduced a bill in 2017 to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and pushed for it again last fall.

The question most recently came up in Washington in April 2019 when Trump said he was considering making the designation after meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In a statement at the time, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “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."

In Pompeo's recent speech, he said the administration is working through the legal details of the issue.

"We just want to make sure that we get it right, that we calibrate this appropriately, that we make sure that we’ve got the legal foundation for this," Pompeo said.

He explained that there is "deep and robust and important" work done "before we designate an individual or a group as a terrorist organisation "

"It is – it’s perhaps a bit more nuanced than I appreciated as a member of Congress from Kansas," he added.

In late 2013, the Egyptian government declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist group."

Several other countries, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have also designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.