US analyst cites Qatar’s ‘game of political chicken’ with Muslim Brotherhood

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In a recent article in the US-based National Interest, Visiting Fellow for Intelligence and Defense Projects at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Nawaf Obaid, urged Washinton to follow in the Arab quartet’s footsteps in pressurizing Qatar to end support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Throughout the article, Obaid depicts reasons as to why Qatar’s support for the Brotherhood should come to an end.

Initially, Obaid sets the scene by explaining Qatar’s motives for supporting the group. In his words, the support is “fueled by a desire to exercise outsized influence and a sense of its own importance within the original lineage of Islam,” and ultimately through that support “seize power in various Arab nations.”

Moreover, Obaid sheds light on the state’s close ties with the Brotherhood. He echoes that the country has hosted the brotherhood’s leader Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi since the 1960s. He also draws upon Al Jazeera posing as a platform for Sheikh Qaradawi and others to promote the movement's rigid political theocratic manifesto.”

In addition, Obaid highlighted the Brotherhood’s inability to work within established sovereign political systems. He concludes three reasons to this: “its emphasis on religious ideology over developmental economics has alienated Arab populaces who have a growing preference for secular and effective governance; its inability to keep its numerous affiliates in step has led to the perception that it is too riddled with infighting to coherently govern; and it has been unable to quell suspicions regarding its connection to extremist violence.”

Similarly, Obaid shows how the Muslim brotherhood failed to gain power in Egypt and other nations. He mentions Palestinian movement Hamas, the group’s affiliate who also failed to accomplish the aforementioned, in addition to carrying out violent acts. He also reiterates other affiliates failures in Syria and Tunisia.

However, Obaid states that while not all of the Brotherhood’s groups are linked to terrorism, those in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine have been. He doesn’t fail to mention that the Muslim Brotherhood’s parent organization is now listed as terrorist list by all members of the Arab-quartet.

He continues to reflect that in the eyes of the Quartet, Qatar is playing a “dangerous two-faced game.” This conclusion is derived from Qatar’s notions to have the Muslim Brotherhood arrive into power through “democracy” and that being the future of the Arab world. Yet Qatar has been all talk no trousers.

Obaid concludes his article stating that because the Muslim Brotherhood has continuously failed to establish a fertile governance system and its record of violence, Qatar should put an end to its support.

“Just as the United States is right to pressure other nations to cut off support for ISIS and Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and its allies are right to pressure Qatar to end its support for the Muslim Brotherhood,” he added.

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