OpinionPolitics

Qatar, a hospitable base for the Muslim Brotherhood

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

WASHINGTON – American daily newspaper The Washington Times published on Sunday an opinion piece by American author, David Reaboi, in which he affirmed that, for a half-century, “Qatar has been a tiny, desert oasis for the Muslim Brotherhood and many of the world’s most virulent Islamists.”

“In the 1960s, as Egypt’s Gamel Abdel Nasser once again banned and cracked-down on the Brotherhood, thousands of the group’s agitators, clerics, and community organizers were forced to retreat elsewhere into the Middle East, Europe, and North America.”

“Since then, Qatar has been the Brotherhood’s most hospitable base of operations. In time, Brotherhood Islamism would soon emerge as Qatar’s de-facto state ideology, as the ruling al-Thani family welcomed the Islamists with lavish funding, the highest state honors, and the establishment of new Islamist institutions that would seek to indoctrinate thousands.”

Reaboi explained how Qatar promoted the ideology of the Brotherhood via its state-owned television network Al-Jazeera.

“Since Qatar’s most prominent export—the state-owned television network Al-Jazeera—was founded in 1996, the Brotherhood has played a crucial role in programming and setting the editorial line, providing the network’s strong ideologically Islamist backing.”

“For years, the network’s most popular Arabic program was “Sharia and Life,” starring virulently anti-Semitic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s most prominent jurist. Even as it claims to be a legitimate, journalistic enterprise, Al-Jazeera is an instrument of power projection for the Qatari regime. Its mission has always been to support Qatar and the Brotherhood while attacking its enemies in the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.”

Reaboi pointed out the Brotherhood and its enablers in the Qatar regime have used Al-Jazeera to promote anti-American rhetoric.

“But the greatest problem with Al-Jazeera is how, for a generation, it has mainstreamed and normalized an Islamist grievance narrative, which has served as sort of the mother’s milk for all sorts of Islamist movements,” Reaboi quoted Middle East Broadcasting Network’s Alberto Fernandez as saying. Fernandez made these remarks during a Washington conference on Qatar’s influence operations last week.

Reaboi explained that’s the reason why Qatar’s neighbors put halting broadcasts of Al-Jazeera on top of their list of demands in 2017.

Reaboi wrote that Al-Jazeera is “remarkably aggressive in service of Qatar’s foreign policy interests, which include four key elements: (1) undermining the stability of its neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; (2) promoting Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood in vulnerable, Western open societies; (3) financially and diplomatically supporting violent terrorist groups like Hamas, al Qaeda and the Taliban; and (4) assisting the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, in evading US sanctions as it seeks to develop nuclear weapons.”

Reaboi pointed out that American policymakers began to get serious “about foreign states’ role in information operations directed at American citizens and media consumers.”

Last year, Congress passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act which requires all foreign media outlets based in the United States, including Qatar’s Al-Jaeera, “to identify themselves clearly as foreign outlets and report to the FCC every six months on their relations with their foreign principals.”

“If these politicians are actually concerned about the dangers of hostile, foreign information operations exerting undue influence on the perceptions of the American public, they would come down hard on enemy propagandists at Al Jazeera.” He concluded.

David Reaboi has spent the last decade as consultant in national security and political warfare. He is co-author of the book ‘An Explanatory Memorandum: From the Archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in America’.

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