Reuters has posted an article titled “Rising power Qatar stirs unease among some Mideast neighbors” that looks at the discomfort engendered in the region partly as a result of Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:
DUBAI/DOHA (Reuters) – In the center of Cairo, young men hold up a burning flag for the cameras to show their fury at a nation they believe is meddling in their country and the wider Middle East. It’s a familiar image. But it’s not the U.S. flag they are waving, it is that of Qatar, the Gulf state that has used its billions to spread its influence in the wake of the Arab Spring. For most Western governments and officials, the influence of Qatar emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani’s government is seen as broadly positive. In Egypt, Libya and Syria, where Qatar tried to play a role post-Arab Spring, it finds itself blamed for much that has gone wrong on a local level. Close ties to Egypt’s new leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood, have alarmed countries like the United Arab Emirates, where the Islamist group is still banned and which in January said it had foiled a Brotherhood-linked coup plot. Senior officials in the UAE have long believed Qatar has long-term strategy to use the Brotherhood to redraw the region. “There is both greater apprehension and appreciation for Qatar two years after the Arab awakening in the region,” said Taufiq Rahim, Executive Director of Dubai-based geopolitics consultancy Globesight. “While prior to the revolutions, Qatar was seen more as a mediator, its foreign policy recently has been much more proactive and in some cases partisan.” Some Western analysts and diplomats believe Qatar’s leaders have been effectively improvising their way through the new landscape, experimenting to see what they can achieve with the massive wealth generated by its natural gas reserves over the past 15 years. An estimated $17 trillion in monetisable natural gas riches still remain in the ground. Others, however, see a much more deliberate strategy. “What we are seeing here is a high-stakes poker game for the future of the Middle East,” said one Gulf-based Western diplomat on condition of anonymity. Even supporters are concerned the country may be overstepping its boundaries and getting a reputation for playing favorites.
A post from last 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:
- Bloomburg News recently 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.
- 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.