My take on H.R. McMaster ‘muscling in’ on Middle East Peace

This Politco article got an immediate rise out of Breitbart News Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein. Klein wrote:

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.

My problem is that McMaster is like a lot of former CENTCOM commanders, they are the military equivalent of State Department Arabists.

Also recall that Robert Malley, Soros supporter and Middle East eminence leftover from the Obama White House, still prowls the NSC hallways. Malley had done reach-out to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods, Hamas and Hezbollah during his days at the International Crisis Group.

Here is the Politico report.

Jared Kushner has spent eight months as his father-in-law’s point person in the Middle East, relying primarily on one envoy, former Trump Organization lawyer Jason Greenblatt, to do the diplomatic heavy lifting in the region.

But just over a month ago, national security adviser H.R. McMaster held a meeting in his West Wing office with Greenblatt to discuss some changes to how the administration would conduct its Israel strategy going forward — including more input from the National Security Council.

In the meeting — also attended by National Security Council officials Ricky Waddell, Michael Anton and Victoria Coates — the group discussed moving Coates, a former policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz, to work full-time under Greenblatt.

Greenblatt and David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, had already pitched the idea privately to Coates. 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. Coates, an art historian and a longtime Republican foreign policy adviser, was promoted to senior director of international negotiations and moved offices to sit with Greenblatt’s team in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, across the street from the White House.

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.
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“Renewed U.S. engagement with our Middle East allies is welcome and badly needed,” said Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project, a nonpartisan educational organization. “The task requires someone in the White House who can manage the many diverse levels of the bilateral relationship, and the decision to move Victoria Coates to the center of the portfolio is a signal that these issues will get the attention and seriousness they need.”

Kushner, along with Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, left Washington on Sunday night for a trip to the region, including meetings with leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia before their expected arrival in Israel on Wednesday night. Coates remained home, offering support to the traveling team and managing the information flow.

But even with President Donald Trump’s administration devoting more foreign policy firepower to the region, Middle East experts said they harbored low expectations for what deliverable the latest trip might yield — or what the Trump administration will be able to accomplish in the long run. (Read More)

McMaster adds muscle to Kushner’s Middle East peace effort

NSC staffer Victoria Coates’ move to Kushner’s office has tied Trump’s Middle East strategy more closely to the traditional White House foreign policy apparatus.

RELATED ARTICLE: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster: A legend or a lie?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of the European Foundation for Freedom.

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