Archive for June, 2017

Staying illegally the costs verses compassion

June 28, 2017

Oftentimes the cost of illegal immigration can be invisible, not readily obvious on the front pages of the newspapers, but a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) shed light on a cost that ensnares more than a million Americans- identity theft. The IRS Inspector General also revealed that the most common perpetrators of identity theft are illegal immigrants looking to get a job using a social security number that belongs to an American or legal resident.

Two significant findings in the IG report involve employment-related identity theft and that most taxpayers only realize they are victims when they get an IRS letter of discrepancy, and a bigger bill, long after tax season.

TIGTA conducted the audit “to evaluate the IRS’s Automated Under-Reporter (AUR) processes to identify and assist victims of identity theft. In July 2011, TIGTA reported that the IRS was in a unique position to identify cases of employment-related identity theft. TIGTA recommended that the IRS implement procedures to timely alert taxpayers when it becomes aware that their identity was stolen. However, in this review, TIGTA determined that taxpayers are still not notified.”

A statement from the IRS said its February 2011 to December 2015 audit identified nearly 1.1 million taxpayers were victims of employment-related identity theft. The growing problem prompted the IRS to start a pilot program to warn taxpayers they were potential victims of identity theft. However, TIGTA’s review of the pilot program found its program failed to fix the identity theft issue.

The art of identity theft leaves millions of Americans in financial peril that requires countless hours of legwork to recover lost money and repair their credit scores.

TIGTA also reported that the IRS still hasn’t established an effective process to ensure that it promptly sends the notices to alert taxpayers that their SSA earnings don’t match the electronic paperwork and that they are on the hook for taxes they do not owe.

“Employment-related identity theft can cause a significant burden to taxpayers, including the incorrect computation of taxes based on income they did not earn,” said Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

After the IRS studied the growing problem they recommended significant changes to its pilot program. TIGTA made four recommendations that the IRS partially agreed with and Uncle Sam said they would take corrective action for the 2017 tax season.

“The IRS tries to mark the files of the fraud victims when electronic filings are used. But the tax agency misses about half of the victims,” according to the Inspector General.

Further compounding the issue is the IRS’ issuance of 2.4 million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers per year. Illegal immigrants often file tax returns to get a refund, however the IRS found the W-2 forms submitted highlight the valid Social Security numbers illegally given to an employer as an authorization to work. Keep in mind that legal visa holders pay $420 per year for the right to lawfully work in America.

In another twist it appears that many immigration attorneys are successfully reducing the crimes that illegal immigrants are committing in an effort to keep them from deportation.

According to a Los Angeles Times story, lawyers for Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, who was “detained by immigration officials after dropping off his daughter at school in Los Angeles.” The father was arrested for two decades-old misdemeanor convictions.

One of Avelica-Gonzalez’s attorneys, Steve Escovar, explained that his client was arrested for convictions for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) as well as receipt of stolen property. The attorney successfully pleaded to vacate Gonzalez’s receipt of stolen property by convincing a judge that his client obtained an auto registration tag not issued by the DMV because he could not legally obtain a driver’s license. This is another common form of identity theft. Even though legal residents in country would never get a similar break, the California judge settled Avelica-Gonzalez’s case as a registration violation to assist his appeal to avoid deportation.

As for his 2008 DUI case, another California judge settled the “matter” as a speeding exhibition. With DUI’s costing legal residents thousands of dollars and steep insurance rates for ten plus years, Mr. Gonzales reduction made him a lucky man.

Avelica-Gonzalez wrote a letter last week saying he deserves to stay with his family in America. “I wouldn’t be able to live without my family in another place.”

While most people can sympathize with a father/husband being separated from his family, that fact remains that everyday Americans and legal residents are arrested and taken to prison when they commit a crime.

According to another Treasury Inspector General report affecting taxpayers, the IG reports that each year the IRS also “pays billions of dollars in ‘child tax credits’ to illegal aliens. The child tax credit, provided by section 24 of the Internal Revenue Code, is a credit against a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability of $1,000 for each of the taxpayer’s children. The credit is reduced for taxpayers whose income exceeds a specified amount.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (PRWOA) specifically states that illegal immigrants are “NOT (emphasis added) eligible for any Federal public benefits. It is a compelling government interest to remove the incentive for illegal immigration provided by the availability of public benefits.”

The term Federal public benefit is defined broadly and includes “any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.”

When legal beagles try to define what exactly the IRS regulation means, oftentimes beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Nevertheless, it appears that the IRS has taken a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to ITINs and Earned Income Child Credit abuse.

In the meantime, as Congress prepares for another vacation, the US debt clock closes in on $20 trillion, leaving taxpayers with an un-payable tab.

 

 

 

The real challenge is immigrant literacy

June 28, 2017

A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies found an alarming number of second generation of immigrants are failing to grasp the English language. “To measure the English ability of immigrants in the United States, researchers often rely on the opinion of the immigrants themselves. For example, the Census Bureau asks foreign-language speakers, ‘How well [do you] speak English?’ and gives them four choices: ‘very well, well, not well, or not at all.”

The study found that the answers are subjective, “as speaking English ‘well’ might mean anything from basic comprehension to near fluency. For objective data, this report turns to a direct test of English literacy administered by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). The results raise concerns about the magnitude and persistence of low English ability among immigrants.”

Specifically:

  • 41 percent of immigrants score at or below the lowest level of English literacy — a level variously described as “below basic” or “functional illiteracy”.
  • The average immigrant scores at the 21st percentile of the native score distribution.
  • Hispanic immigrants struggle the most with English literacy. Their average score falls at the 8th percentile, and 63 percent are below basic.
  • For Hispanic immigrants, self-reported English-speaking ability overstates actual literacy. The average literacy score of Hispanic immigrants who self-report that they speak English “very well” or “well” falls at the 18th percentile, and 44 percent are below basic.
  • Even long-time residents struggle with English literacy. Immigrants who first arrived in the United States more than 15 years ago score at the 20th percentile, and 43 percent are below basic.
  • Literacy difficulties brought by low-skill immigrants persist beyond the immigrant generation. The children of Hispanic immigrants score at the 34th percentile, and 22 percent are below basic. In addition, just 5 percent of second generation Hispanics have “elite” literacy skills, compared to 14 percent of natives overall.
  • Consistent with prior analysis of the PIAAC English literacy test, immigrants score substantially lower than native speakers. Specifically, immigrants perform at the 21st percentile of the native score distribution, and 41 percent of immigrants score low enough to be described as below basic or functionally illiterate. With a 63 percent rate of below basic literacy, Hispanic immigrants struggle with English more than non-Hispanic immigrants, who have a below basic rate of 23 percent.
  • This report reveals that Hispanic immigrants’ self-assessed English-speaking ability overestimates their English literacy. Hispanic immigrants who speak English “very well” score 0.42 SDs below the native average, placing them at the 33rd percentile. Therefore, researchers should be wary of citing self-assessments as an indication of English ability among Hispanic immigrants. By contrast, non-Hispanic immigrants who say they speak English “very well” perform much closer to natives on the literacy test.

This report also demonstrated that immigrant literacy skills really make a difference matter for future generations. While the literacy test scores of the second generation usually rises to keep pace with American students, US-born Hispanics are lagging well behind American children.

As a result, the expansion of  low-skill immigrant workers into the US will only exacerbate the multi-generational skills deficit, including the socioeconomic challenges that face a highly technological economy.

The decay of America

June 21, 2017

“School’s out for summer (♫♫)” and many folks will be packing-up their family cars and take to America’s highways to visit national parks as well as relatives. Unfortunately, as many crisscross the nation they will bear witness to a sobering image of abandoned storefronts and infrastructure in serious disrepair.

So how exactly did America get to this point? Well, lots of government mismanagement of tax money contributed to the county’s slow decay as well as the growing gap between rich and poor.

The nation’s richest communities like Silicon Valley, Beverly Hills, New York and Washington DC have witnessed an economic explosion, while rural America has struggled to keep up with inflation, let alone save for the future. According to the Economic Innovation Group, the Distressed Communities Index report; “Most American communities are not distressed, but they are far from flourishing. The Zip codes mere miles apart occupy vastly different planes of community well-being and few people are truly mobile between them. It is little surprise that many Americans feel they have been left behind.”

The report uses zip codes as economic indicators to disseminate poverty rates as well as employment trends. Silicon Valley gurus Sean Parker and Ron Conway, who spend their days investing in promising tech startups, spearheaded the Economic Innovation Group.

The study highlights the dwindling middle class and the creation of two Americas: “one prosperous group of communities where vacant houses, poverty and those without a high school diploma are nearly non-existent, and another swatch of communities where more than a quarter of residents live in poverty. More than 50 million Americans live in distressed communities, where nearly a quarter of residents lack a high school diploma, and employment opportunities have dropped by nearly 7 percent. In the most distressed city in the country, Camden, NJ, the city’s median income is 36.4 percent that of the rest of the state. Other cities topping the distressed list are Detroit, Cleveland, and Flint, Michigan.”

The so-called free trade deals, like the dying Trans-Pacific Partnership, provides more protection to large corporations and their financial assets while trashing average working Americans’ wages.

Contributing to the nation’s downfall is America’s foray into globalization. For example, most large corporation’s CEOs have long believed that free trade would benefit the struggling middle class—it hasn’t. Nevertheless, the CEOs were asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos if they still believed globalization was good for all Americans, surprisingly, they revealed they were skeptical. CNBC said in an article “only 38 percent of the public believed globalization has had a largely positive impact on improving the movement of capital, people, goods and information. Public discontent has the potential to erode trust, which is needed for long-term sustainable performance. The real challenge here though, isn’t just one of how CEOs navigate, it’s about the need for CEOs to have a deeper, two-way relationship with stakeholders, customers, employees, and the public.”

The widening gap reveals an absurd concentration of wealth with just eight men possessing the equivalent of half the poorest world’s population. According to Euronews, the men include: “founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, business magnate and founder of Inditex Amancio Ortega, investor Warren Buffett, telecoms magnate Carlos Slim, founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg, the founder and CEO of Bloomberg LP.”

It’s hard to overlook the common denominator of the greatest redistribution of wealth of all time, politicians. The concentration of political power in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC, is run by a few corporate and financially privileged and well-connected individuals who exert their influence over the economy.

The book Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the few says, “this transformation has amounted to a pre-distribution upward. Intellectual property rights—patents, trademarks and copyrights—have been enlarged and extended, for example, creating windfalls for pharmaceutical companies. Americans now pay the highest pharmaceutical costs of any advanced nation.”

While the great American heist has broken the spirit of the workers, the permanent bureaucratic class has quietly changed antitrust policies for corporations with noteworthy market power, like big food enterprises, cable companies, large airlines as well as Wall Street banks. “As a result, Americans pay more for broadband Internet, food, airline tickets and banking services than the citizens of any other advanced nation. Bankruptcy laws have been loosened for large corporations—airlines, automobile manufacturers, tax laws have special loopholes for the partners of hedge funds and private-equity funds, special favors for the oil and gas industry, lower marginal income-tax rates on the highest incomes and reduced estate taxes on great wealth,” the books author reports.

“The portion of workers with any pension connected to their job has fallen from just over half in 1979 to under 35 percent today. Labor unions have been eviscerated. Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker, backed by a strong union, earned $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Now America’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, and the typical entry-level Wal-Mart worker, without a union, earns about $9 an hour,” Robert Reich explained.

One would think that Reich, a huge Democrat supporter, would have been thrilled by a Trump presidency – he wasn’t, even though President Trump won the hearts of the GOP and former blue dog Democrats with his “forgotten men and women” speech.

“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said.

“Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,” he continued.

“Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capitol, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes — starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment: It belongs to you.”

“We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own… We’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. … The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.”

The media and Left went nuts, claiming the President spoke in dark angry tones. But he just repeated what he heard and saw during the campaign. The folks are angry and mad. After another trek across the country, this reporter knows exactly what President Trump meant, the little guy has been forgotten, the rich have gotten richer, and the middle class has dwindled. Until politics returns to individual districts across the country, no amount of biblical words will restore the “greatness” of America.

Stay tuned for a video of the new America!

Comatose mystifies the Senate

June 14, 2017

In a highly anticipated Senate Intelligence hearing the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) James Comey made all kinds of headlines and a startling admission, that he was a leaker of confidential information during the ongoing Russia investigation.

The Chairman of the Committee, Richard Burr, candidly asked Director Comey, “did the President at any time ask you to stop the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 US elections?”

“Not to my understanding, no,” Comey said.

Burr then asked; “Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russian investigation?”

Again Comey replied “No.”

Once the testimony was finished President Trump’s personal attorney Mark Kasowitz wasted no time in rebuking the former director’s statements. “Comey admitted there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.”

He continued: “Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told President Trump privately, that is that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference. It is now established that the president was not being investigated for colluding with or attempting to obstruct any investigation. As the committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not been leaked during the course of these events. As he said, the president feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this country and with this public cloud removed.”

Perhaps one of the underreported story lines was Comey’s orchestration of leaks designed to ensure a special counsel was appointed to investigate the president.

Kasowitz criticized the former director for “unauthorized leaks of his private conversations with Trump in a retaliatory effort” to ensure a special counsel was assigned to handle the Russian interference probe. “We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated.”

Comey’s alleged private memos appeared in a New York Times article on May 16th. The memos in question, highlighted meetings and phone calls between the president and the director. However, conveniently or mysteriously, the memos have disappeared. The Senate panel has instructed the former director to provide the government documents to preserve the archives.

It didn’t take long for President Trump to call Comey’s disclosure of their private conversations ‘cowardly.’

He tweeted: “I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very “cowardly!’”

The former FBI Director confirmed at the Senate Intelligence hearing that he personally leaked the memos. According to Fox News, he disclosed that he used his Columbia University friend to leak the government memos to the press.

It was Senator Susan Collins’ (R-MA) questioning that led to the bombshell news. She asked Comey “if he had shared his confidential writings with anyone outside the FBI or the Department of Justice.”

Comey candidly replied: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter—I thought that might prompt the appointment of special counsel.”

Comey got his wish, as the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to be the special counsel a few days after the NYT story broke. Critics argue that anytime you install a former prosecutor, you are looking for trouble. On a Sunday talk show one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said the President “would not rule out firing the special counsel,” if warranted.

Of course, that statement set off Trump’s critics and led to many misrepresentations of the account of the president’s true intentions.

It appears that it was all the director’s 2016 shenanigans that led to his firing. Nevertheless, Comey claimed at the hearing that Trump fired him because he didn’t like the trajectory of his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election cycle.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted,” Comey testified to the Senate. “That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me.”

On top of that Comey accused the administration of spreading “lies, plain and simple.” He continued to allege Trump “chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by claiming the bureau was in disorder under his leadership.”

The bottom line for Comey was his distrust of the president he was tasked to serve.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it really important to document. I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not only to defend myself but to protect the FBI.”

But are there any wrong doings by President Trump?

Prominent Democrat legal beagle Alan Dershowitz says no. The president’s “statement may provide political ammunition to Trump opponents, but unless they are willing to stretch Comey’s words and take Trump’s out of context, and unless they are prepared to abandon important constitutional principles and civil liberties that protect us all, they should not be searching for ways to expand already elastic criminal statutes and shrink enduring constitutional safeguards in a dangerous and futile effort to criminalize political disagreements.”

Throwing more water on the media firestorm, both prominent Democrat attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley pushed away any illegality by the president thus far. They firmly disputed cable news commentators’ ongoing narrative that the president is guilty of obstruction and colluded with the Russians.

Turley stated: “Former FBI Director James Comey likely knew he would not be allowed to publicize his leaked memos. Comey indirectly leaked memos – about conversations with President Trump – to Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman, who sent them to the press on his behalf. Richman could not be found at his Brooklyn Heights, NY home and has ‘gone into hiding,’” according to Turley’s New York Post account. “People are treating [the memos] like it’s a diary entry. He wrote this on an FBI computer about a pending sensitive investigation.”

With all the partisan rhetoric flying one of Trump’s former bitter competitors Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked Comey, “You ever wonder why, of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that’s never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of Congress knew that and have known that for weeks?”

Comey answered: “I don’t know, I find matters that are briefed to the Gang of Eight are pretty tightly held, in my experience.” (Something the former director should have learned).

Taking to Twitter, Dershowitz tweeted: “There’s No Evidence of Obstruction, and Inventing Crimes is Dangerous.” In an op/ed, he warned of the consequences of the political witch-hunt tactics used by both political parties. “All Americans who care about the Constitution and civil liberties must join together to protest efforts to expand existing criminal law to get political opponents. Today it is Trump. Yesterday it was Clinton. Tomorrow it could be you.”

 

Qatar – financier of terror – expelled from GCC by the Saudis

June 7, 2017

Qatar’s split personality – home to US combat operations against ISIS AND financial hub for the financing of terrorism – suffered a devastating setback today when Saudi Arabia (KSA) ordered the expulsion of Qatar from the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC).

Showing solidarity with KSA, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Yemen’s Saudi-backed regime broke diplomatic relations and commercial ties with Qatar. The now-five-member GCC is reportedly pressuring its members to stop financing terrorism at the request of President Trump.

The banishment of Qatar makes for an awkward relationship for the US. The US military’s largest Persian Gulf base is located in Qatar and it’s home to the US-led air campaign against ISIS.

Despite the stunning move by the Saudis, spokesman, Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway stated, “We have no plans to change our posture in Qatar. We encourage all our partners in the region to reduce tensions and work towards common solutions that enable regional security.”

Navy Captain Jeff Davis, Pentagon spokesman said: “I will only tell you that we have, with regard to our bases there, continued presence in our operations.” He said the Defense Department is keeping an eye on Qatar and “would encourage all of the parties involved to work together. We hope for a quick resolution and we have no intention of altering our current operations, not only in Qatar but anywhere in the [Gulf Cooperation Council]. That includes important bases we have around the region, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain,” he concluded.

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered his diplomatic resolve from Sydney Australia suggesting it (Qatar’s expulsion from GCC) would not interfere with America’s effort to defeat ISIS. “We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences. If there’s any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] remain united.”

Secretary of Defense (ret.) Marine General James Mattis added, “All of those parties you mentioned have been quite unified in the fight against terrorism and the fight against Daesh, ISIS, and have expressed that most recently in the summit in Riyadh.”

The news of Qatar’s expulsion sent shockwaves. According to the Saudi state news, KSA decided to “exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”

Another statement released by the Kingdom accused Qatar of “harboring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region.” After all land air and sea contacts were severed with Qatar KSA “urged all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”

Following suit on Monday was Egypt who said it severed ties with Qatar because they supported terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar seemed dumbfounded by the news. Its foreign ministry spokesperson said, “It regretted the measures by the Arab nations. The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact.” The regime said the decision would “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents. The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its [Qatar’s] sovereignty as a state.”

An advisor to Qatar, Andreas Krieg, also an assistant professor of defense studies at King’s College London said, “This is a major escalation and I don’t think there is an easy way out of it. The Qataris have been hosting so-called outlaws for a long time and I don’t see them turning around and saying tomorrow: ‘Hamas, out! Muslim Brotherhood, out!’ You can’t kick them out overnight.”

Saudi Arabia claims Qatar has been “financing, adopting and sheltering extremists.” The Emirate nation allegedly has ties to designated terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS.

Hedging their bets, two member nations staying out of the GCC fray, Oman and Kuwait said they haven’t broken ties with Qatar and are hoping for a quick solution.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, called for all Middle East nations to discuss the issues and resolve the dispute. “We see the stability in the Gulf region as our own unity and solidarity. Countries may, of course, have some issues, but dialogue must continue under every circumstance for problems to be resolved peacefully. We are saddened by the current picture and will give any support for its normalization.”

KSA’s sudden axing of Qatar, the only other Salafis Sunni nation, appears to be related to President Trump’s meeting with Saudi King Salman. On Tuesday the President tweeted; “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” In another tweet, he said; “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding … extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

While not commenting further, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did say that the president’s tweets are considered official statements and that his boss will continue to use Twitter because it is the way this president can talk directly to his 110 million social media followers.

Meanwhile, not one to let Trump do all the tweeting, the deputy chief of staff to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Hamid Aboutalebi tweeted regarding Yemen: “The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders … is not a way to resolve crisis … As I said before, aggression and occupation will have no result but instability.”

But the real winner here is President Trump. The businessman turned politician understands the “art of the deal” and realized a way to stem the tide in the Middle East was to break up alliances and focus on the money. The next move rests with the Qatar regime. Will it stick with the insurgents or seek other alliances?

The real paradox here is that Qatar has been a major purchaser of US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and was considered a player in the isolation of Iran militarily, diplomatically, and economically. Qatar and KSA are major purchasers of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the FMS program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)

Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under US anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by then President (Obama) stating the sale is in furtherance of national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.

If this all seems off kilter, then you understand the Middle East. The US diplomatically moves to isolate Qatar from its natural allies in the GCC in an effort to stem the funding of terrorism, while it operates combat missions against Qatar’s beneficiary, ISIS. Politics do indeed make for strange bedfellows.