Opinion: Time for Trump to join Arab states, apply pressure on Qatar

Photo:AP

Nawaf Obaid, commissioner for International Justice and Accountability, said that the US has the leverage it needs to pressure Qatar to stop supporting terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and weaken the state’s ties with Iran, stressing on the bad consequences of the continuity of such Qatari policies on the region and on the US itself, in an article published by Foreign Policy, an American news publication, on Wednesday.

Obaid discusses the fluctuation in Donald Trump’s position on the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighbors.

“Beyond its ties to that country (Iran), Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood is at least as troubling, if not more so,” he writes.

Obaid discusses cases in which the MB have caused chaos in the region and internationally, referring to the belief of their murder of Hisham Barakat and their seemingly close relationship with al-Qaeda and ISIS.

“Qatar’s social and political scene—its schools, media, financial endowments, and especially foreign policy—are all aligned to varying degrees with the Brotherhood’s ideology,” Obaid writes.

He went further explaining the policies’ similarities between the state and the group mentioning: Qatar’s pledging of $250 million to Hamas, Qatar sending billions to the Egyptian government to secure and sustain the MB’s presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, and Qatar’s funding of the Nusra Front and Ansar al-Sharia in Syria and Libya respectively.

“Qatar’s engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood goes beyond the Middle East. In recent years, it has been accused of giving more than $175 million to Brotherhood-linked groups in Denmark, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom,” said Obaid, author of Bad Faith, a book on the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab World that is yet to be published.

For the United States, too, such “revolutionary political activism” represents a profound danger. If the Brotherhood’s long-term objective really were to build a fundamentalist Islamic society free of Western influence, that would be devastating to the United States’ strategic posture and standing in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world.

“The United States has a long-established strategic relationship with Qatar. Al Udeid, a U.S. joint airbase, sits outside Doha and serves as the command center for U.S. air operations over Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. It is also the ultimate guarantor of Qatari security. In short, the United States has the tools to help put Qatar back on the right path, but only if Trump reverses his reversal and joins the Saudi-led coalition in applying pressure” the writer concluded.

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