Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf: An attempt to steal the show
I came across this article early this morning on Twitter when the author announced its publication. It discusses concern about the Muslim Brotherhood from the perspective of Arab governments in the Gulf region.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi writes: Gulf governments find themselves in a conundrum where on one side there exist legitimate popular demands for reform and public empowerment, and on the other the threat of a radicalised movement that after decades of obscurity is finally gaining legitimacy through pragmatic tactics.
The governments of the Arab Gulf states have been sceptical of the Arab Spring. For many political observers this scepticism stemmed from the fact that most of these states enjoyed strong personal and political relations with the presidents of Egypt, Yemen and Syria.
Others contend that commercial ties and finance were behind this support while another group opined that losing the support of Arab republican regime allies could mean a gain for Iran. There may yet be another reason behind the scepticism displayed by the Arab Gulf monarchies, that of the possible resurgence of a new threat in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in their own backyard.
The Gulf states today will likely have to alter their strategies of dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood movement ‘threat’ from individual and local level strategies to possible Gulf-wide collaboration as a result of the recent developments in the region.
In the meantime, perhaps by continuing to proceed with reforms and citizen empowerment in a gradual but sustainable pace, the Gulf states can deny the Muslim Brotherhood the opportunity to claim to carry the mantle of legitimate public empowerment and reform.
There may be a risk that alienating such individuals may result in further radicalisation of their beliefs. It is precisely because Muslim Brotherhood members are vigilant about their identities that the Gulf states must be wary about handling such a delicate issue.
No doubt the Gulf governments find themselves in a conundrum where on one side there exist legitimate popular demands for reform and public empowerment, and on the other the threat of a radicalised movement that after decades of obscurity is finally gaining legitimacy through pragmatic tactics.