Pompeo warns of ‘real risk’ from Muslim Brotherhood in Middle East

Trump administration examining legal aspects of terrorist designation “to get it right,” Pompeo said.
Sunday 19/01/2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, California, January 13. (AP)
Doing it right. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, California, January 13. (AP)

LONDON - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is considering designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, saying there is “real risk” from the Brotherhood in countries throughout the Middle East.

“The administration’s still looking at this, trying to evaluate, trying to make sure that we get it right,” Pompeo said in a speech January 13 at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

“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.”

Pompeo, then a member of the US House of Representatives from Kansas, was among eight legislators who sponsored the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act in 2015 asking the Obama administration to label the Brotherhood 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 arose in Washington last April after US President Donald Trump said he was considering the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. The move followed a meeting Trump had with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In a statement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said April 30: “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.”

Pompeo, in the speech at Stanford, pointed out the administration was working on 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,” he said.

He explained there is “deep and robust and important” work to be 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 2013, the Egyptian government had declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist group.” In addition to Egypt, several countries, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.

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