The Atlantic Council Web site has posted an article titled “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: Between a Present with Qatar and a Future with Libya” that discusses the future of Qatari-Egyptian relations in light of the failure of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood to prevail in recent elections. The article begins:
The results of the Libyan elections have come through. Contrary to the tide that saw a rise of Islamist parties across the region, the Islamists in Libya failed to garner a majority. Instead a secular party started by Mahmoud Jibril, a senior official in the Gaddafi government who joined the rebels early in the 2011 Libyan uprising scored a resounding victory. The assembly that will be formed through these elections will write Libya’s constitution over the next 18 months. Jibril’s win is not solely a Libyan affair. Libya is after all potentially one of Egypt’s most strategic allies. Prior to the Libyan Civil War an estimated 1.5 million Egyptians lived and worked in Libya (in addition to another million or so African and Asian workers). This figure is only a little less than the number of Egyptian expats living and working in Saudi Arabia. Prior to the 1990’s, relations between Libya and Egypt weren’t smooth sailing. Following a brief war between Libya and Egypt, and the expulsion by Gaddafi under threat of arrest of the quarter of a million Egyptians living in Libya, relations remained cold for years. Today, Libya’s relatively small population, coupled with its enormous wealth makes it the equivalent of an oil rich Gulf Arab State sitting right next door to Egypt. According to the CIA World Factbook Libyan GDP reached $92 Billion in 2010. Just prior to the 2011 Libyan Civil War, oil production reached 1.49 million barrels per day, a figure that is expected to grow significantly in the future. Furthermore, Libya’s Minister of Labor, Mustafa Rujbani, told Egypt’s Al Ahram that his country plans to recruit one million workers from Egypt. Even more astounding was the amount of the current Libyan investments in Egypt, which the Minister put at a staggering $21 Billion, a figure that dwarfs all Gulf States pledged investments put together, and is more than double what Qatar plans to eventually invest in Egypt. (Saudi’s investments in Egypt today stand at $27 Billion.) Egypt’s astute Muslim Brotherhood will certainly be mindful of these significant figures and will accommodate whichever government is in place in Libya. The Brotherhood perhaps expected its Libyan counterparts, including Ali Sallabi and Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar, to lead their giant neighbor. Instead, Egypt’s new government will have to deal with Jibril, a leader who is openly critical of Qatar, Egypt’s main Gulf financial backer. Jibril, potentially Libya’s next president told Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya news channel that Qatar was ‘trying to play a role that is bigger than its true potential,’ hinting at Qatar’s wealth and the role of Al Jazeera. Over the past few months Al Jazeera Arabic has been championing Islamist parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, raising the ire of numerous Libyan officials and citizens.
Read the rest here.
A post from March reported that the Deputy Chairman of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was visiting Qatar for meetings with Qatari official. An earlier post discussed the relocation of Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal from Syria to Qatar in yet another sign of the country growing importance as a center of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. A series of recent and important Global Muslim Brotherhood events have been held in Qatar illustrating the increasing importance of the country to the Global Brotherhood.
A Gulf newspaper recently posted an article by academic Dr. Ahmad Jamil Azem titled “Qatar’s Ties with the Muslim Brotherhood Affect Entire Region.”