The Al-Monitor news portal has posted an article by journalist Elizabeth Dickson titled “Saudi action puts Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait on spot “ which looks at the implications for Kuwait of recent actions by Saudi Arabia directed against the Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:
March 10, 2014 On March 11, a little-noticed lawsuit will resume in the Kuwaiti courts to disband the Muslim Brotherhood’s local charity arm, the Social Reform Society. Al Eslah, as it is known, is accused of mixing aid with politics — at home as well as in projects abroad, such as in Egypt. The case itself is unlikely to achieve its objective and will likely linger in the courts for months. But it is a telling example of the increasingly tense debate in Gulf states over the Muslim Brotherhood’s place in politics.
But Riyadh’s new rules don’t just mark the end of the organization’s legal presence in the kingdom. They also raise questions about the future of the Brotherhood in smaller Gulf states such as Kuwait and Bahrain, where offshoots operate openly as registered political and social groups.
The Saudi moves put ‘pressure on other states that have Muslim Brotherhood adherents, asking them to decree that the group is a terrorist organization,’ said Theodore Karasik in an interview with Al-Monitor. Karasik is the director of research at the INEGMA think tank in Dubai. ‘Kuwait, Jordan, Syria — even in the UK and France you have adherents to this strain of thought. … There may be a real push by the southern Gulf states to create a Muslim Brotherhood-free security environment.’
In Kuwait, such pressure has put Islamists on the defensive. Kuwait’s government has called Saudi Arabia’s labeling of the group an ‘internal affair.’ Still, popular pressure, regional norms and increased security could squeeze Al Eslah as well as the group’s political wing, the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM). More fundamentally, anti-Brotherhood sentiment is raising questions of whether there is a future for its movement in the Gulf political space.
Read the rest here.
In a Featured Story, the GMBDW reported last week on the Saudi decision to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, noting that the decision did not appear to prevent two well-known leaders in the Global Muslim Brotherhood from attending a recent conference of the Saudi Muslim World League.
In January, the GMBDW reported on a series of related developments concerning Kuwait:
- The GMBDW reported that the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood had sharply criticized the Egyptian government’s decision to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
- The GMBDW reported that 30 Kuwaiti charitable organizations and non-profit societies agreed to form a coordination committee to coordinate Kuwait’s aid to Syrian refugees. The committee was be supervised by the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO), which as extensive ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and whose board of trustees includes Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi.
- The GMBDW reported that a Kuwaiti charity operated under the auspices of the Social Reform Society, the Kuwaiti branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. had sent sent aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The GMBDW reported noted that Mercy International was banned the Israeli government as part of the Union of Good, the global coalition of charities raising funds for Hamas and associated with Youssef Qaradawi.