The Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf find their scope for maneuvering greatly reduced after their failure in the bloody revolutions that swept the region over the last ten years. The Muslim Brotherhood spearheaded the so-called “Arab Spring,” and the fatwas issued by their jurists, such as al-Qaradawi and others in his orbit, aimed at inciting Muslims and appealing to their emotions, served as a powerful catalyst for these devastating revolutions. Today, three or four Arab countries are still suffering the aftermath of these attempted revolutions; the current chaos and turmoil will not give way to consensus and common solutions until the representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in these countries go back to square one. The logic that governs their behavior, although they do not admit it, is: Either we rule, or our countries go to hell.
I believe that the true colors of the Muslim Brotherhood, which enjoyed widespread popular support, were revealed by the events of the Arab Spring. It became clear to Arabs, especially the many who were deceived by the group's rhetoric, that they are a dangerous and destructive movement whose ideology only takes hold in countries prone to sedition and unrest, especially those Arab countries that showed tolerance toward this movement, as did the late Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and others. This tolerance and laxness towards the Brotherhood largely facilitated their success in seizing power. The best example of this being Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood almost led the country into a downward spiral of chaos similar to Syria and Libya, had it not been for the intervention of the military, under pressure from the millions that filled Egypt's squares and streets demanding the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood. The army was therefore forced to intervene and save Egypt from the fateful turmoil awaiting it.
Although the Gulf Brotherhood was a key financial backer that kept the movement alive, Gulf citizens were excluded from senior leadership positions. In fact, movement leaders routinely demonstrated that they did not care about issues or threats facing the Gulf, which became clear when they joined Saddam Hussein's camp in support of his invasion of Kuwait. The movement was shown as treacherous, costing it a great deal of popularity in the Gulf at the time, only to see it return with a malicious tactical claim that it was now “separated” from the mother movement, that it supported the ruling families in their countries and refused to overthrow them, contrary to what the mother movement calls for. And I have no doubt that this is a tactic - it was never a strategy - required by their failure in the so-called Arab Spring, and their siding with Saddam “the fool” before that. This shows that they will do whatever it takes to make it to power, they will fake it till they make it. Muslim Brotherhood Saudi Islamist dissidents and Syrians abroad make no attempt to hide the fact that their ultimate goal is to overthrow the state, and with it the Gulf states, in order to establish the Muslim caliphate.
The disagreement between the Muslim Brotherhood at home and those abroad confirms that this is merely a tactical move with the aim of deceiving the Gulf peoples, who are uncompromising in their loyalty to the ruling families. Otherwise, both groups are two sides of the same coin, even if they claim otherwise.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Saudi Arabian outlet al-Jazirah.