Will Qatar abandon the Muslim Brotherhood?

Currently the only Gulf country that openly supports the Muslim Brotherhood is Qatar. This has led the formerly mentioned Gulf countries to turn against Qatar to the extent that they recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar.

Egypt's Morsi meets with Qatari PM 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Egypt's Morsi meets with Qatari PM 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
For several decades, the Muslim Brotherhood has enjoyed safe havens in Qatar and several Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain. After the so-called “Arab Spring” these countries - with the exception of Qatar - recognized that the aim of the Muslim Brotherhood is not to simply to preach Islam - as they claim - but to attain power in their own countries. This has led the former countries to turn against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.
Currently the only Gulf country that openly supports the Muslim Brotherhood is Qatar. This has led the formerly mentioned Gulf countries to turn against Qatar to the extent that they recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar.
The question to be raised is if Qatar will continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood or if it will join the formerly mentioned Arab countries and abandon the Muslim Brotherhood.
In this context, it is important to indicate that the Qatar-Muslim Brotherhood relationship is predominantly a political interest rather than an ideological affiliation. The evidence that supports this view is that Qatar did not give sufficient financial support to former Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi to establish his power in Egypt. Qatar was capable of assisting with greater financial aid to support Morsi to avoid a political crisis and could have ultimately saved his presidency. The Doha government waited to make sure he had full power and control over the country to make sure that their financial aid to Morsi would correspondingly benefit themselves. Had the relationship between Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood been an ideological affiliation, Qatar would have given him greater support and taken additional risk in accordance to their investment. For example, if Ayman Al-Zawaherri was capable of giving $20 billion to Morsi, to save his Islamic regime in Egypt, he would happily do so even if this meant there was a high risk in losing said money. The common ideological goals surpass all financial risks in this scenario.  Qatar’s lack of generous support to save the Muslim Brotherhood government, after Morsi came to power, supports the view that their relationship is not an ideological affiliation. Based on this observation Qatar may ultimately abandon the Muslim Brotherhood if its relation with them is going to produce a strong international backlash against the country or harm its regional and global political and economic interests.
Recent developments in the international community suggest that the pressure on Qatar will be strong enough to break its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Such pressures include the following:
First, the withdrawal of Saudi, UAE, and Bahraini ambassadors from Qatar, which could be the beginning of greater political and economic pressures.
Second, the UK has started to investigate the relationship and correlation between the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups. Discussions of banning the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK led Muslim Brotherhood leaders to issue statements that indicated underlying threats to the UK government if said actions were to occur. In accordance, the Muslim Brotherhood thought of moving its headquarters to Vienna instead of London. If these investigations identified and publicized evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorist groups or tries to create instability in other countries, Qatar will have major difficulty in continuing their overall support for the group.
Third, the US's consideration of the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group, in Saini, as a terrorist group poses an additional pressure on Qatar. It is likely that the Egyptian regime will provide evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has ties with this terrorist group, which will give the US administration no other option but to put the Muslim Brotherhood on its terrorist list too.
Such international pressures are likely to make Qatar reconsider their relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and consider the potential harm to them and their interests. This situation will likely put Qatar in a position to ultimately end its accommodating behavior with the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. The relationship that is based more on interests than a shared ideology will facilitate the end of this relationship. If Qatar decides to abandon the Muslim Brotherhood, it will likely do it gradually and give its leaders a chance to find another host country.

The writer is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and a one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of the terrorist organization JI with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who later became the second-in-command of al-Qaida. He is currently a senior fellow and chairman of the study of Islamic radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. www.tawfikhamid.com