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Saudi Arabia, the US and political Islam

Ahmad al-Farraj

Published: Updated:

There is no doubt that political Islam movements, i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates like the Sururist movement, have been trying for decades to drive a wedge in relations between Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, and the Western world more particularly the US.

Any reading of the literature of these organizations, dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, shows that they specialized in demonizing the US. This position is not drawn from any religious principle, but it is just a tool to worry the countries they belong to, including the Saudi kingdom, based on the conviction that these states’ presence depends on America’s support to them. This is all because political Islam’s main goal is to attain governance and remain in power for as long as possible.

Today, these organizations feel defeated as they watch the revival of the Saudi-American alliance with its pristine glory. However, these groups continue to work through their select mediums, like the Al Jazeera television channel, to cause a rift in Saudi-American relations

Ahmad al-Farraj

Desperate attempts

We have all watched the desperate actions of these political Islam groups during the occupation of Kuwait in 1990. We all saw how the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its branches everywhere supported Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait. They stood firm against the use of friendly forces to liberate the country from the tyranny of that abhorrent occupation that created a bleeding wound in the Arab world and caused devastation that we still suffer from to this day.

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The most active affiliates in this regard were the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf. Although the region overcame this high treason, these groups struck again through the September 11 attacks. These terror attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda, another offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. The goal behind this attack was to break relations between Saudi Arabia and the US, but this plan was foiled thanks to a lot of effort and wisdom.

Political Islam groups celebrated a lot during the presidential term of Barack Obama who supported the project of enabling these organizations to rule the Arab world. This project was launched during President Bill Clinton’s term in the late 1990s through meetings between Muslim Brotherhood leaders, the most prominent of which was Khairat Al-Shater and some American politicians. This cooperation, between the group and the US, completely discredited the Brotherhood’s claim of being anti-American.

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Today, these organizations feel defeated as they watch the revival of the Saudi-American alliance with its pristine glory. However, these groups continue to work through their select mediums, like the Al Jazeera television channel and its subsidiaries known as Azmi cells, to cause a rift in Saudi-American relations. They will continue doing so as they know that such a rift is the only way to achieve their final goals. However, they are bound to fail, the same way their other attempts failed in the past.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Dr. Ahmad al-Farraj is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah daily. He holds a Masters degree in literature from the University of Indiana and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. He was the Dean of the Arabic Language Institute in King Saud University and a member of the university’s council. He tweets under @amhfarraj.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.