RECOMMENDED READING: “Rising Islamist Movement Has Small But Wealthy Patron”


Bloomburg News has posted an article titled “Rising Islamist Movement Has Small But Wealthy Patron” that looks at tensions resulting in the Gulf as a result of Qatari funding of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The report begins:

Since Mohammed Morsi became the first Muslim Brotherhood member to lead an Arab state, Qatar has promised Egypt at least $20?billion in aid and investment. Other nations in the Persian Gulf, which holds almost half of the world’s oil, see the Brotherhood as a threat. Saudi Arabia has shunned it for at least two decades, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has jailed dozens of people this year on suspicion of links to the group. Qatar’s pro-Islamist line is backed by cash from gas reserves that have made its 2?million people the world’s richest. Its support is helping the religious parties that emerged as the biggest winners from last year’s wave of Arab revolts. At the same time, it’s causing unease among Gulf monarchies that are resistant to political change and under U.S. pressure to show a united front against Iran. ‘The Qataris have identified the Muslim Brotherhood as a vehicle’ to expand their influence, said Ghanem Nuseibeh, London-based founder of political risk analyst Cornerstone Global Associates. ‘That has certainly created tension between Qatar and other Arab governments,’ which mostly view the group with ‘intrinsic distrust.’ Qatar has other vehicles for its ambitions, too. It created the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera, has broken art-market records and will host soccer’s World Cup in 2022. Qatar hosts the U.S. Central Command base that directed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s also home to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Egyptian-born cleric widely known as the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, who holds a diplomatic passport and has close ties with Qatari royals. Khaled Mashaal, political chief of Hamas, which has links to the Brotherhood, moved to the Qatari capital Doha from Damascus after splitting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After Morsi’s election, Qatar promised $8?billion over five years to build a port in the Egyptian city of Port Said, $10?billion for a resort on the north coast and a $2?billion deposit for Egypt’s central bank. Qatar National Bank SAQ, which hired Qaradawi as an Islamic adviser, is considering buying Societe Generale SA’s Egyptian unit.

Read the rest here.

A post from October reported on the visit to Gaza by the Emir of Qatar described as the “biggest diplomatic victory” for Hamas since taking power five years ago. A post from earlier that week reported on the announcement of the biggest contribution of reconstruction aid for Hamas-ruled Gaza since the destruction accompanying the Israeli-Gaza conflict four years ago. 

A post from August reported on the plans for an Egypt-Qatar summit where the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was to receive the Emir of Qatar. AP had reported  earlier that Qatar was granting Egypt a $2 billion loan to help the country’s troubled economy. 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.

Other items of interest include:

  • A Gulf newspaper recently posted an article by academic Dr. Ahmad Jamil Azem titled “Qatar’s Ties with the Muslim Brotherhood Affect Entire Region.” 
  • The Atlantic Council Web site recently 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 Voice of America recently posted an article that discusses the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in driving Qatari foreign policy. 

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