Qatar has dedicated Al Jazeera to the service of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Arab newspaper alleges. And now so has Al Gore.
Qatar is today the Muslim Brotherhood’s banker and personal financier, bankrolling its budget and investing heavily in the group’s projects.
It’s not exactly news, but it is packaged inside an interesting commentary on the current state of affairs in the Gulf Cooperation Council, now that Qatar is acting as the sugar daddy of the Muslim Brotherhood, while the UAE is accusing the Brotherhood of trying to take it over.
Qatar’s relations with the Muslim Brotherhood are multi-pronged. On the media front, Qatar has dedicated Al Jazeera, the country’s most prized non-financial asset, to the service of the Muslim Brotherhood and turned it into what prominent Middle East scholar Alain Gresh calls a “mouthpiece for the Brotherhood.” The channel has in turn been repeatedly praised by the Brotherhood for its “neutrality.” Qatar has also been very generous with the income from its gas wealth. Qatar’s influential prime minister pledged that his country would not allow Egypt to go bankrupt. Doha has already transferred five billion dollars to Egypt to help it meet its financial obligations and prevent the pound from sliding further.
In exchange for its assistance, Al Ahram reports that Egypt’s new government gave Qatar a number of assurances, including “technical support” for the Syrian opposition, the rotation — possibly to a Qatari citizen — of the Arab League Secretary General post, and “Egyptian approval of Qatari nominees on behalf of the Arab group in several international and regional forums.” Egypt has also given Qatar a number of perks, such as excluding Qatari investments from laws governing foreign ownership.
Islamist alliances are always business arrangements as well. There’s always some mutual profit underlying all the prophets.
Al Qaradawi is amongst a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who immigrated to Qatar during the Nasser era and set up a branch in the Gulf state. In 1999, the Qatari chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood decided to dissolve its operations and by 2003 the dissolution was complete.
The usual deal between Muslim regimes and Islamist terrorists is, a) We’ll finance and aid your campaign to take over other countries so long as b) you leave our country alone.
It’s why there’s no such thing as a reliable anti-terrorist partner in the Muslim world.
Interestingly, Mubarak’s first visit in over a decade to Qatar took place only in November 2010, exactly two months before he fell from power.
Classic Middle Eastern hospitality. We only stab you in the back after you leave our tent.
What is not so understandable is Qatar’s unwavering commitment to the Muslim Brotherhood to the degree that it may jeopardize relations with its neighboring Gulf States.
One Qatar-based researcher attributes the country’s active role to the Emir’s desire to “secure a legacy for himself,” while a soon to be published paper by a Princeton academic argues that Qatar sees the Brotherhood as a platform to exponentially increase its regional and global influence. There is no doubt that Qatar’s global significance has multiplied through piggybacking on Egypt’s stature and the regional influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar, like the Muslim Brotherhood, have parallel agendas. The Al-Thanis may be looking for the Brotherhood to do for it what the Wahhab-Saud alliance did for Saudi Arabia.