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Useful Reminder: Saudis and Muslim Brotherhood Do Not Get Along

There is a lot of bad blood between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi form of Islam, and those tensions are likely to become more visible as the Brotherhood continues to gain influence in the Arab world.

“The Brotherhood has done great damage to Saudi Arabia,” the late Saudi Crown Prince Nayef Bin Abdel-Aziz said after the 9/11 attacks. “All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood…. The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world.”

The “Arab Spring” has pushed Saudi Wahhabism and the Muslim Brothers further apart, says this story on the Egyptian news site Ahram Online:

The Saudi ruling family perceives the Brotherhood and its doctrine as an ideological rival to Wahhabism, which may spread and sow discord in the kingdom or threaten the monarchy. It is not surprising in this context that several reports underlined Saudi financial support for the Egyptian Salafist current in the last parliamentary elections in late 2011.

The perception of danger also has a regional dimension, as some Saudi leaders feared the rise of an alliance between Egypt, Turkey and Qatar—the only Gulf state to maintain close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood—which may reduce the dominant regional influence Saudi Arabia had exercised through its alliance with Mubarak’s Egypt and Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad.

The Saudis are already funding the Salafis in Egypt and will likely continue to promote their own view of Islam. With the Brotherhood government losing popularity in Egypt due to the country’s persistent economic troubles, the Saudis may feel that their investments in the opposition could eventually pay off.

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  • Nick Bidler

    I cannot help but think: we are probably going to see the first major redrawing of the maps since World War One, in the middle east, in our lifetimes. (Disclaimer: I am 25.) A series of theocracies, tribes-with-borders-and-capitals, tribes-without-etc. and a distinct lack of ideal-centered-states (i.e. India or the U.S.) is my bet for the new thermidor.

    I can say only this, regarding the Home Team’s response to the mess: keep Israel as a close ally, because you’re never going to be sure of any other state’s sincerity/viability for the foreseeable future.

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