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June 29, 2017

Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood have emerged together in recent news headlines and I can safely predict that they will continue to do so in the near future.

As one of few Canadians to have met the leaders of both entities several times over the past 15 years, I have been able to follow the rise of their twin relationship.

With growing apprehension, I have also observed over the past six years as they have jointly inflicted crimes of enormous human suffering in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and my birth country of Egypt.

To understand this malevolent partnership in a global context, imagine if the tiny island state of Bahamas, population 400,000, used nearly all of its national resources to finance terror groups in Canada and the US.

Imagine even further that it was taking an active on the ground role, as well as paying to supply those offshore terror groups with arms, ammunition, medical supplies, training, political intelligence and communication.

Then imagine that the Bahamas government set up a state-of-the-art satellite TV station with a mandate to spread fear, disinformation and hate throughout North America, inciting social and civil conflict between marginalized and alienated groups of differing skin color and religion.

Imagine also that this tiny rogue state sheltered and closely collaborated with a secretive, self-proclaimed religious organization whose strategy was based on the use of violence against its political opponents.

Faced with increasing actual and potential terror threats, the respective intelligence services of both Canada and the US trace the primary source of their security problems to the Bahamas, and report the alarming findings to their governments.

The question is: What would you expect Canada and the US to do?

Moving from the Bahamas as my fictitious example of a tiny rogue state, let us examine the very real tiny rogue state of Qatar.

On June 5, 2017 Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed all diplomatic, financial, and commercial ties with Qatar due to its longtime support of terror groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

They followed this unanimous move on June 22 by presenting 13 demands that Qatar must meet before any ties will be restored.

Furthermore, they want to ensure that Qatar honors any agreement by putting a compliance system in place, because the basic content of the list is not new. Back in 2014 similar demands were made and the Emir of Qatar signed his agreement – he then reneged on every one of them.

This time, the broken ties will not be restored without ongoing monitoring and proof that Qatar will honor and carry them out.

On June 22, 2017, the Associated Press reported [excerpted here]:

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain broke ties with Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism — an accusation that President Donald Trump has echoed.

Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

They are also demanding that Qatar hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism; stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the U.S.; and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.”

As the richest per-capita country in the world, Qatar can perhaps reject all 13 demands and still survive indefinitely, but political survival and credibility are another matter entirely.

From my personal knowledge of the respective leaders of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, however, I predict they would rather commit political suicide than give up supporting their shared agenda of spreading international terrorism.

Unless, of course, the US steps in and uses its influence – hopefully along with the rest of the free world – to firmly back up the 13 demands of Qatar’s frustrated neighbors.

Perhaps this time Qatar will do the right thing. Only time will tell.

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