For several decades, the Muslim Brotherhood has enjoyed safe haven in Qatar and several Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain. After the so-called “Arab Spring,” these countries — with the exception of Qatar — recognized that the aim of the MB is not simply to preach Islam, as they claim, but to attain power in their own countries. This has led the former countries to turn against the MB and its supporters.
Currently the only Gulf country that openly supports the MB is Qatar. This has led the formerly mentioned Gulf countries to turn against Qatar to the extent that they recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar.
The question to be raised is if Qatar will continue to support the MB or will it join the formerly mentioned Arab countries and abandon the MB?
In this context, it is important to indicate that the Qatar-MB relationship is predominantly a political interest rather than an ideological affiliation. The evidence that supports this view is that Qatar did not give sufficient financial support to former MB President Morsi to establish his power in Egypt. Qatar was capable of assisting with greater financial aid to support Morsi to avoid a political crisis and could have ultimately saved his presidency.
The Doha government waited to make sure he had full power and control over the country to make sure that their financial aid to Morsi would correspondingly benefit themselves. Had the relationship between Qatar and the MB been an ideological affiliation, Qatar would have given him greater support and taken additional risk in accordance to their investment.
For example, if Ayman Al-Zawahiri was capable of giving $20 billion to Morsi, to save his Islamic regime in Egypt, he would happily do so even if this meant there was a high risk in losing said money. The common ideological goals surpass all financial risks in this scenario.
Qatar’s lack of generous support to save the MB government, after Morsi came to power, supports the view that their relationship is not an ideological affiliation. Based on this observation Qatar may ultimately abandon the MB if its relation with them is going to produce a strong international backlash against the country or harm its regional and global political and economic interests.
Recent developments in the international community suggest that the pressure on Qatar will be strong enough to break their relationship with the MB.
Such pressures include the following.
First, the withdrawal of Saudi, UAE, and Bahraini ambassadors from Qatar, which could be the beginning of greater political and economic pressures.
Second, the UK starting to investigate the relationship and correlation between the MB and terrorist groups. Discussions of banning the MB in the U.K. led MB leaders to issue statements that indicated underlying threats to the U.K. government if said actions were to occur. In accordance, the MB thought of moving its headquarters to Vienna instead of London. If these investigations identified and publicized evidence that the MB supports terrorist groups or tries to create instability in other countries, Qatar will have major difficulty in continuing their overall support for the group.
Third, the U.S. considering the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group, in Saini, as a terrorist group poses an additional pressure on Qatar. The next stage is likely that the Egyptian regime will provide evidence that the MB has ties with this terrorist group. This will give the U.S. administration no other option but to put the MB on its terrorist list also.
Such international pressures are likely to make Qatar reconsider their relationship with the MB and consider the potential harm to them and their interests. This situation will likely put Qatar in a position to ultimately end its accommodating behavior with the MB and its supporters.
The relationship that is based more on interests than a shared ideology will facilitate the end to this relationship. If Qatar decides to abandon the MB they will likely do it gradually and give their leaders a chance to find another host country.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
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