Steve Emerson discusses the contradictions and challenges of the U.S. relationship with Qatar in the wake of Arab countries' severing ties with Qatar. He also addresses how the UK could step up to combat Islamic terrorism.
Prager: I have on the line a man who is among the most knowledgeable on earth with regard to Islamic terror, Steve Emerson, founder and Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. And you should definitely get their regular briefings, because you'll find more knowledge there about the world of Islamic terror than anywhere else I think on the internet. How do people, what website do they go to, Steve Emerson?
Emerson: Well they can go to, they can send an email to stopterror, one word, email@example.com and say please subscribe me, or they can go to the website itself, which is www.investigativeproject, one word, a mouthful, but .org
Prager: OK, so let me ask you first I'll begin, before the terror incident, what's the story with Qatar, Q-A-T-A-R, the Arab Emirate country, what is the story there of five Arab countries severing ties with Qatar over terror?
Emerson: This has been brewing for a while. We have actually, we obtained, we did a series of stories last year or the year before of how Qatar was basically taking over the Brookings Institution, which had become basically a propaganda satellite of Qatar, you know elevating Qatar to a wonderful you know (UI word) name in the world, while embassy cables from the U.S. Embassy in Qatar were sent back to Hillary Clinton saying Qatar is the number one financial sponsor of terrorism in the world, they sponsor terror, they sponsor Iran, they sponsor Iranian Revolutionary Guards, they sponsor Hizballah, they sponsor Hamas. It was no mistake whatsoever. So, we're going to be putting up these cables later tonight on our website. They went on for like three or four years, while Hillary was still secretary of state and speaking in Qatar as part of the Brookings Institution. So, sort of strange for her to be praising that country while at the same time her own embassy was telling her in cables, which she obviously didn't read, that that country was the number one supporter of terrorism. Now, in the last few years, as you know, Qatar was the home of Al-Jazeera. Al Jazeera is based, is the Muslim Brotherhood. It equals, it's the arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. And in recent years, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt have all been afflicted with attacks by Muslim Brotherhood groups, so much so, that UAE in November 2014, I believe, actually listed 80 groups that were considered terrorist groups and they were banned, and it included the Muslim Brotherhood and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which they designated as a terrorist organization.
Prager: Who, I'm sorry, who made this designation?
Emerson: The country of United Arab Emirates.
Prager: Oh, the United Arab Emirates.
Emerson: A phenomenal decision for them to do this.
Prager: Alright, let me understand something. Forgive me, because it's just been percolating in me as you spoke. Isn't Qatar Sunni?
Emerson: Qatar is Sunni and it also has a CENTCOM base there. And that's the reason why the U.S. claims that it can't do anything, but in fact –
Prager: No, no, my question is why would a Sunni country sponsor a Shi'ite government?
Emerson: Because the enemy is too large, the enemy rises above that type of enmity. You see what's going on in Syria, when the Iranians came to the rescue of Bashar al-Assad, who is Alawite, more related to the Shi'ite side, and despised by many, most established Muslim groups. So, you see a combination there. You see Iran, which is Sunni, Shi'ite, helping Hamas, which is Sunni. So those religious you know differences and fights are overwhelmed by the need to fight the –
Prager: Why is there a CENTCOM base in Qatar? Is there one in many of the Emirates, or just –
Emerson: Qatar, well, Qatar wanted to be a player. First of all, it was a player because it produced a lot of oil, it's a member of OPEC. However, they wanted to cozy up to the United States. If you look at the Clinton Foundation, you'll find that they are one of the biggest donors to the foundation. So, they want to play in the big leagues. That's why they invested close to 15, 20-million dollars in the Brookings Institution and established a Brookings affiliate in Qatar, Doha, the capital, where every year you see all of the typical Washington you know speakers, you know the ones that are booted out of office and are failures, like Martin Indyk and others, go over there and praise for three days the sultan and praise the king.
Prager: Do you think that our State Department has been surprised by the five countries severing relations with Qatar?
Emerson: I don't think that the embas-, I think that our embassies overseas were probably not surprised at all. I think here in Washington you would find surprise.
Prager: What would you like Washington's reaction to be?
Emerson: Well, I'd like Washington first to do as, to do what these other brave four countries did – designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, and there are two bills in Congress right now that are languishing because the Democrats have been trying to obviously procrastinate on them, and this administration unfortunately is not moving on them. I don't know why, to tell you the truth. There was one bill in the House it's got, I think about 80 co-sponsors, and another bill in the Senate. And, frankly, the argument against it is that – well, how do you determine who's a Muslim Brotherhood group. Well, there are prosecutors who can do it, and I've been working on this for 20 years. So, it wouldn't be a matter of closing up freedom of speech; it's a matter of shutting down an organization affiliate that actually espouses and finances violence and terrorism.
Prager: Now I assume that the Qatari government it's an idiosyncratic thing, why it's the one country there that is supportive of Iran and terror to that extent, and so it's really because of its leader.
Emerson: Its leader, but there's more of a consensus, in other words, you don't see that much of a debate among their royal family.
Prager: Well maybe you can't debate in the royal family. [Laughs.]
Emerson: Well that's probably true, but they don't have the same history as the Saudis do, where there, where you see external fissures in the family, and sort of like the Politburo pictures taken year after year, you look for who's missing to see who's not up or down. There's more of a consensus-building there. But they figured out a way to provide billions of dollars to Hamas, Hizballah, and to Iran, while at the same time avoiding any sanctions from the U.S., in fact to the opposite is they have been actually courted by the U.S., in exchange obviously for the CENTCOM you know unit base that's allowed to be there.
Prager: Alright, hold it there, hold it there. I want to remind everybody I'm speaking to Steven Emerson, Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, investigativeproject.org. When we come back, I want to talk to him about the latest murders in England.
Prager: My guest is Steve Emerson, a man I have great respect for, he's a courageous man, Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. I have had him on, on this subject, since prior to 9/11. That's how long he has been monitoring this and I've been admiring him. Alright, so now we've discussed, and thank you for the insight on Qatar, and now to England. So, everybody asks the same question and it's sort of like that old saw, everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it. Everybody talks about terror, and I'm not saying this critically, what is there, what if you are the prime minister of England, of the U.K., to be precise, what do you do?
Emerson: Well, Theresa May you know gave a, she gave a strong statement, saying, 'Enough is enough.' She referred to it as 'radical Islamic terrorism,' unlike our past president. And then she said, but, 'This is a perversion of Islam.' That's when I saw her deterring back to the original political correctness. If we don't recognize that this is a problem within the communities of Muslim citizens, and I'm not saying or suggesting that the vast majority of Muslims are terrorists or violently inclined, I would say the opposite is true, but you still have a certain percentage, rather high, disproportionately, that believe in jihad. They're not going to carry out the attack; they're the ones that are going to encourage the attacks. So, in fact, within the community, within those mosques, that's where many of these terrorists are learning to first feel their ideological proclivity toward hatred of the West, no doubt about it. It happens here in the United States and it happens in England. Here in the U.S., groups like CAIR, MPAC, all these, quote, Islamic 'civil rights groups' say they condemn terrorism. You see them yesterday, we saw them yesterday condemn the attacks in London, but in fact what is the message that they've delivered to their audiences here in the U.S. – that the U.S. and the West is engaged in a war against Islam, that the, in fact we have the study, the root causes of terrorism, that's always a giveaway for justifying it.
Prager: That's what, wait, wait, wait, they said that?
Emerson: They didn't say, I'm, that's the general, that's the general line they give, but almost every single time there is a terrorist attack they will condemn it, and Hamas they won't condemn because they don't consider Hamas to be a terrorist group, so take Hamas off the table. In fact, you can take Hamas off the table with regular media, because rammings and stabbings have been going on for two years in Israel, and, yet, they don't cover it like they covered it yesterday in, two days ago, in London. And, two, they still, New York Times and CNN and others still refuse to call Hamas a terrorist group. They call it –
Prager: By the way, the president did.
Emerson: The president did, absolutely.
Prager: Which is a big deal.
Emerson: It's a very big deal, but, and we'll see what's going to go on. The pressure, in fact, that the president put on Abbas not to finance the prisoners, terrorist prisoners in Palestinian jails just paid off yesterday, when the PA agreed not to fund the families of Palestinian terrorists.
Prager: Is that right? I did not know. That's a big deal.
Emerson: That's a big deal.
Prager: Another big deal.
Emerson: Yeah, the terrorists in Gaza. They're still funding the terrorists in prisons in Israel. OK?
Emerson: Now, having said that, you know what to do. You know she said enough is enough. My feeling is that, one, we, it's a free society, so you can say anything you want as long as you don't cross that line into actually carrying out violence. It's always been that delicate balance of you know shouting fire in a crowded theater. It's like when you go to a baseball game and somebody yells, 'Kill the umpire' in the first inning, and then in the ninth inning somebody does kill the umpire, somebody else. You could charge the last person in the ninth inning with the killings, but what about the first one? Well, that's like yelling 'jihad.' The blind sheikh, who just died, yelled jihad, that his followers had to carry out jihad in 1992 and '93, and what did they do? They bombed the World Trade Center.
Prager: Alright, so tell me, what should they do in England?
Emerson: In England, they need to shut down the mosques where they know there is, where there are imams that they know for sure –
Prager: What is the legal authority to do that?
Emerson: They could, the French passed legal authority to do it right after the attacks last year. They shut down over 45 mosques.
Emerson: So, if the French can do it, the English can do it. OK? Number two, they have got to stop the legitimization of those, quote, Islamic 'civil rights groups,' that are really duplicitous. They claim to represent most Muslims, and but end up delivering a message to their flock that induces violence. Dennis, the number one mantra, or reason, motivation for Islamic terrorists to carry out attacks against Western targets, and that you could see this in the studies we've done on our website, is the belief that there is a war against Islam and you have to avenge it. That's it. It's very simple. Once you start believing that and once you are taught that, and once you are exhorted to carry out avengement because of the war against Islam, which is what these groups actually say, they don't advocate violence, they just say there's a war against Islam, the nexus is somebody else saying – well, do something about it.
Prager: That's right. That is exactly right. Steve Emerson, I thank you. He's been fighting this battle since before 9/11. Investigativeproject.org. Get their regular briefings, it's fantastic. I'm Dennis Prager. Back in a moment.