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Brotherhood of Wolves II

July 16, 2013

Mursi’s brotherhood govt.’s rule has come to an end in Egypt following popular uprising by a large section of Egyptians who were fed up with his malgovernance, systematic attempts to undermine democratic institutions and consolidation of power. But what is interesting is that another country, Qatar,a vital ally of Muslim Brotherhood, is also being criticized for its biased support towards Brotherhood govt.

Back in December last year, I wrote in one of my posts : “if Brotherhood govt. in Egypt stay a long time in power, they will provide all kinds of assistance—monetary, intellectual, material— to the Islamists of other countries.”

From Mursi govt.’s brief tenure, we see it did everything to help foreign Jihadi folks to attain their objectives. In some cases they even got help from Gulf state Qatar, which played a pivotal role in financing Islamist groups to bring them up in the foreground of Arab Spring.

Qatar already earned the reputation of being Muslim Brotherhood’s financier. It was the first gulf country that came to help Brotherhood govt. in bailing out Egypt’s economy. Qatar parked $2 billion dollars into Egypt’s Central Bank as soon as Mursi assumed presidency. Later, it invested $2 billion more. It also expressed keen interest to invest into Brotherhood planned projects, causing much concern to Egyptian military and liberal quarters.

According to Al Ahram report, Egypt’s Brotherhood govt. reciprocated to Qatari assistance by agreeing on providing technical support to Syrian Islamist rebel groups and by assuring Egyptian support for Qatari candidate for the post of Arab League’s general secretary.

Moreover, Qatar based Al Jazeera television played a crucial role to clear the way for Egypt’s Islamist’s rise to power. It did everything to keep Brotherhood govt. in power. In fact, most of the reporters, anchors and directors of its Arabic channel are former members and activists of Muslim Brotherhood.

Camaraderie between Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar is not new. Brotherhood leaders and members fled to Qatar and took asylum there during Gamal Abdel Nasser’s rule. Some of them built huge fortune. One of them was Al Qaradawi. In exile, he set up his business conglomerate. In 2011, during the turbulent period of Arab Spring, he returned home and became active in politics.

None other than Daniel Greenfield, a fellow at New York based Freedom Center, has best summed up the relationship between Arab states and Islamist Terrorist groups:

The usual deal between Muslim regimes and Islamist terrorists is, a) We’ll finance and aid your campaign to take over other countries so long as b) you leave our country alone.

What lessons does it portend to Bangladesh? Bangladesh has to be extra conscious about investment proposal emanating from these Gulf States and rich individuals. These folks are in search of safe sanctuary to grow their wealth, which may be used to finance terror campaigns in other countries. In fact, Bangladesh is very much on their rudder screen. In May 2012, a Qatari delegation approached Bangladesh bank (BB) and proposed to invest $1.8 billion worth of Qatari currency in BB. Qatar based Al Jazeera was involved with a smear campaign against Professor Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. Local Islamist parties are not great fan of Mr. Yunus and banned Islamist outfit Hizbut Tahrir, which aims to create a worldwide Sharia based Islamic empire, overtly criticizes Mr. Yunus and his microcredit programs. Furthermore, its reports on Bangladesh help the cause of local Islamists. For instance, it carried malicious reports on Hefajat-e-Islam’s long march and cast doubt on official death tolls.

In the wake of growing criticism, Qatar brushes aside all allegations and maintains a position that its relationship with Brotherhood has to be seen from the perspective of its growing desire to have significant influence on regional and global matters.

In the words of Mr. Greenfield:

Qatar, like the Muslim Brotherhood, have parallel agendas. The Al-Thanis may be looking for the Brotherhood to do for it what the Wahhab-Saud alliance did for Saudi Arabia.

Recently, Qatar’s new Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in a damage control measure, is trying to undo the steps taken by his predecessors.

Whatever the position Qatar takes in this changing scenario, we have to be aware as the Arab region as a whole is a safe haven for wealthy wahabi-salafi Sheikhs who have huge appetite for Jihadi misadventure and to whom popping up and aiding jihadists across the world is just like playing video games or reckless driving on busy highways.

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