New US NSA breaks with Trump admin’s views on Islam: Report

Profile Picture

NEW YORK, Feb 25 (APP): US President Donald Trump’s new
national security adviser doesn’t find the term “radical Islamic
terrorism” helpful, the New York Times reported Saturday.
Individuals who attended Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster’s first
National Security Council meeting on Thursday told the Times
that the newly appointed adviser thinks the term is counterproductive because terrorists are ‘un-Islamic’.
President Trump repeatedly slammed President Barack Obama and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on the issue.
McMaster was picked to be the next national security adviser
after his predecessor, Michael Flynn, resigned due to misinforming
White House officials about the contents of his phone call with the
Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration.
McMaster was also not the first choice to replace Flynn –
Trump initially preferred a retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert
Harward, who turned the offer down, according to the Times.
McMaster said “Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting
their religion,” The Times reported. He added that terrorists are fundamentally “un-Islamic.”
Within a day of his appointment on Monday, McMaster was entering
offices to introduce himself to the council’s professional staff
members, the Times said.
The staff members, many of them holdovers from the Obama
administration, felt viewed with suspicion by Trump’s team
and shut out of the policymaking process, th paper said citing
current and former officials.
In his language, McMaster is closer to the positions of
former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Both took
pains to separate acts of terrorism from Islamic teaching, in
part because they argued that the United States needed the
help of Muslim allies to hunt down terrorists.
“This is very much a repudiation of his new boss’ lexicon
and worldview,” William McCants, a senior fellow at the
Brookings Institution and author of “The ISIS Apocalypse,”
“McMaster, like Obama, is someone who was in positions
of leadership and thought the United States should not play
into the jihadi propaganda that this is a religious war,”
McCants said.
“There is a deep hunger for McMaster’s view in the
interagency,” he added, referring to the process by which
the State Department, Pentagon and other agencies funnel
recommendations through the National Security Council.
“The fact that he has made himself the champion of this
view makes people realize they have an advocate to express
dissenting opinions.”
But McCants and others cautioned that McMaster’s views
would not necessarily be the final word in a White House.
Known for challenging his superiors, McMaster was nearly
passed over for the rank of brigadier general in 2007, until
Gen. David Petraeus, who used his counter-insurgency strategy
in Iraq, and Robert Gates, then defence secretary, rallied
support for him.
The schisms within the administration could be aired
publicly if the Senate Armed Services Committee exercises
a right to hold a confirmation hearing for McMaster.
Although the post of national security adviser does
not require Senate confirmation, senators must approve
his retention of his three-star rank in a new position.
Senator John McCain, the committee’s chairman and a
strong supporter of McMaster, has not said whether he
wants to hold a hearing.