Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirate have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. The nations accuse Qatar of promoting terrorism, meddling in their internal affairs, and working with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors in 2014 in response to Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis designated the Brotherhood a terrorist group in 2014.
This is ironic considering Saudi Arabia played host to the Brotherhood in the late 1950s and early 1960s under Prince Faysal. He incorporated the organization into his propaganda machine to fight against Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt and Arab nationalism in general. The Brotherhood subsequently integrated itself within the ranks of university faculty, summer camps, extracurricular organizations, and the jama’at, writes Kevin Kelvington.
Egypt is the home of the Brotherhood. Hassan al-Banna found it there in 1928. He welcomed and blessed the proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In 2015, the Saudis held meetings with Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated leaders, including Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda party in Tunisia; Abdul Majeed Zindani, the leader of al-Islah party in Yemen; and Khaled Meshaal, the leader of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, according to Al Jazeera.
A member of the Muslim Brotherhood from Palestine, Abdullah Azzam, attended the King Abd al-Aziz University in Saudi Arabia and went on to be Osama bin Laden’s mentor and part of the CIA’s effort to import fanatical Wahhabi fighters by the thousands in Afghanistan. The Saudis invested heavily in the effort to oust the Soviets in the 1980s while the CIA armed and also funded the mujahideen.
Qatar is known as the “Club Med for Terrorists” where financiers of Wahhabi terror groups pay the bills. It’s a known source for financing al-Qaeda affiliated groups such as al-Nusra in Syria. The Qatar Charitable Society, later renamed to Qatar Charity, was one of Bin Laden’s main sources of funding.
“The United States says it does not have evidence that the government of Qatar is funding the terrorist group now known as the Islamic State (ISIS). But it does believe that private individuals in Qatar are helping to finance this group and others like it. And it thinks the Gulf state is not doing enough to stop this,” The Washington Institute noted in 2014.
While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.
For decades the Saudis have exported their fanatically austere and violent Wahhabi brand of Islam to poor Muslim countries. Some analysts put the figure at more than $100 billion. They certainly can’t point a finger at tiny Qatar.
The campaign to export Saudi Wahhabism resulted in “a monumental campaign to bulldoze the more moderate strains of Islam, and replace them with the theo-fascist Saudi variety. Despite being well aware of the issue, Western powers continue to coddle the Saudis or, at most, protest meekly from time to time,” writes Yousaf Butt.