U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson poses with invited African foreign ministers during meetings at the State Department.
WASHINGTON, DC —Dozens of African countries and institutions, including civil society organizations, will have their development funding, humanitarian relief, and other support assistance from the United States reviewed and certainly eliminated, effective 2018 going forward, according to reliable sources.
The Trump administration is poised to act on the tough decision as quickly as possible. The decision is said to have received massive support from several conservative groups in the United States. If this happens, the impact in and on Africa will be grave, especially in the areas of healthcare, food, and physical security, civil society strengthening, institutional capacity building as well as development initiatives.
The expected United States’ action is based on a Thursday vote by member nations of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), shaming and condemning the U.S. and the Jewish state of Israel because the U.S. has decided to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, essentially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
How The Countries Voted at The UN General Assembly Against the U.S. and Israel
The United States’ Jerusalem recognition decision did not go down well with several Arab and Muslim majority countries, including Turkey and conflict infested militarized Yemen. According to sources, “It was Turkey and Yemen, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, that demanded the vote in an emergency meeting in response to Trump’s December 6, 2017, Jerusalem declaration.”
As a 2016 presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, Sr made it clear that he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the American people voted for him as their president. Also, in several prior statements, the White House and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations have indicated that The president said he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that the U.S. will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though the timing is uncertain.
In addition, President Trump has repeatedly said the decision was “nothing than a recognition of reality” and that the move should not, in any way, be interpreted as a departure from the U.S. stance of working toward a peaceful “two-state solution” to the age-old Arab-Israeli conflict.
Earlier in the week leading up to the UN Thursday’s vote, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Her Excellency Nikki Haley, tweeted: “At the UN we’re always asked to do more and give more. So, when we decide, at the will of the American people about where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thursday, there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”
Except for Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Benin that abstained during the vote, and Togo which joined the U.S. and Israel in opposing the vote, all other African countries voted to shame and condemn the United States and Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. According to a top American conservative political commentator who spoke on condition of anonymity, the U.S. takes more seriously the vote of the Republic of Liberia, and its larger implications. Adding, “Togo, a former French colony, has effectively done what Liberia was expected to do.”
Africa’s first and oldest independent republic, Liberia, unlike most African nations, has a solid, historic and traditional relationship with both the United States and the Jewish State of Israel. So, its ‘no’ vote has a significant weight and sends the wrong message to all other African countries that singling out, shaming and condemning the United States and Israel have no consequences.
Many Liberians have already condemned the vote by the Liberian government, calling it “poor judgment and bad leadership” by the Liberian president and her foreign affairs officials.
Jones Nhinson Williams, a well-respected Liberian in international circle and a former head of the Jewish Family Services international refugee resettlement and integration program in the United States, called the Liberian government’s vote against the U.S. and Israel an “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s personal decision” against U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Sr and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referencing the Liberian president.
According to Williams, there are three possible reasons why President Sirleaf could have ordered her inexperienced ambassador to the United Nations to vote the way he did.
He said: “While Liberia’s Thursday vote at the UN General Assembly reflected poor judgment and bad governance on the part of the Sirleaf’s administration, the Liberian leader may have instructed said antagonistic vote because of her personal disdain for U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If that is not the actual intent, then it is a deliberate ploy to strangulate the Liberian people as well as tie the hands of the next Liberian government after she (Madam Sirleaf) leaves office on January 23, 2018, so that her failed regime will look far better than that of her successor who might have to bear the consequences of U.S. sanctions in view of a so-called Liberia’s vote singling out, shaming and condemning the U.S. and Israel.”
Williams, a Catholic educated philosopher and the U.S. trained public policy, labor market information, and workforce development professional with vast experience in job creation and institutional governance, argued that sub-Sahara African leaders should be ashamed of their vote at the UN General Assembly at the urging of the Organization for the Islamic Cooperation, which he said, “is yet to condemn and sanction Libya, one of its member nations, for the inhumane treatment its citizens and authorities carried out against sub-Sahara Africans sold as slaves while others have been treated like animals.”
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, has offered his opinion on the issues, effectively urging President Trump to begin with deciding which U.N. agencies the U.S. “can zero out.”
Ambassador Bolton said the U.S. needs to look at which agencies “we can withdraw from.”
On Twitter, after the U.N. voted Thursday to condemn the U.S. decision, Bolton said: “I would urge @POTUS [U.S. President] to look at today’s #UN vote as a pivot to look at the question of American funding of the United Nations-what agencies we can zero out, what agencies we can withdraw from, as well as moving towards voluntary contributions.”
Other Americans, mainly conservative analysts and political commentators, including a petition, have urged the U.S. to withdraw from the U.N. and expel the global body from its New York City headquarters.
If U.S. funding to dozens of African nations is eliminated, widespread unemployment will also loom, as entities like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) are largely responsible for hundreds of major capacity building, development and humanitarian relief projects that provide thousands of jobs for people in Africa –-a continent of 54 independent nations.
In addition to the elimination of funding for countries that singled out, voted against, shamed and condemned the U.S. and Israel at the UN General Assembly, the White House, on December 21, 2017, under what it termed as LAW & JUSTICE, issued an Executive Order Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption.
Excerpts of the White House’s Executive Order
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Public Law 114-328) (the “Act”), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)) (INA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the prevalence and severity of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, such as those committed or directed by persons listed in the Annex to this order, have reached such scope and gravity that they threaten the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons, and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.
I, therefore, determine that serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
I hereby determine and order:
Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(i) the persons listed in the Annex to this order;
(ii) any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General:
(A) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in serious human rights abuse;
(B) to be a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in:
(1) corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery; or
(2) the transfer or the facilitation of the transfer of the proceeds of corruption;
(C) to be or have been a leader or official of:
(1) an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, any of the activities described in subsections (ii)(A), (ii)(B)(1), or (ii)(B)(2) of this section relating to the leader’s or official’s tenure; or
(2) an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order as a result of activities related to the leader’s or official’s tenure; or
(D) to have attempted to engage in any of the activities described in subsections (ii)(A), (ii)(B)(1), or (ii)(B)(2) of this section; and
(iii) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General:
(A) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:
(1) any activity described in subsections (ii)(A), (ii)(B)(1), or (ii)(B)(2) of this section that is conducted by a foreign person;
(2) any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(3) any entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, any of the activities described in subsections (ii)(A), (ii)(B)(1), or (ii)(B)(2) of this section, where the activity is conducted by a foreign person;
(B) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(C) to have attempted to engage in any of the activities described in subsections (iii)(A) or (B) of this section.
(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the effective date of this order.
Sec. 2. The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and the entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended. Such persons shall be treated as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
There is also serious concern among African seeking refugee status and undergoing asylum processing that their status in the United States may be in jeopardy because of the decisions by several African governments to single out, vote against, shame and condemn the U.S. and Israel at the UN General Assembly, at the urging of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. Already, the Trump administration has shown no indication in renewing the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status of thousands of Africans, South and Central Americans and others in the United States.