Gulf-Muslim Brotherhood clandestine battle continues

Egyptian envoys fly to UAE to discuss recent arrests; Kuwaiti MP calls for investigation into potential Brotherhood sleeper cells.

January 3, 2013 22:51
2 minute read.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi speaking 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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On Wednesday, two Egyptian envoys flew to the UAE to discuss the arrest of 11 of their citizens, who are suspected of belonging to a Muslim Brotherhood cell that was involved in espionage and sedition. This follows allegations by other Gulf countries of Muslim Brotherhood activity on their soil.

According to UAE paper The National, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi sent his adviser for foreign affairs, Essam Haddad, to deliver a letter to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa.

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The 11 Egyptians arrested last month were under surveillance for some time. They are accused of espionage, holding secret meetings, sending large amounts of money to Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Cairo, and recruiting members.

The National reported that the group set up front companies in the UAE to send money illegally to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In addition, they are suspected of gathering information about UAE’s defense capabilities and transmitting it to Brotherhood representatives during secret meetings.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood denied the accusations and said that its members were wrongfully arrested.

Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman in Cairo said, “The claim that they are a cell seeking to destabilize the country is devoid of truth.”

Egypt’s ambassador to the UAE was quoted by The National saying, “We want people to be calm so that in the end it does not backfire on relations between the two countries.”

In September, the UAE arrested 60 Muslim Brotherhood members, who were accused of similar charges and plotting the overthrow of the government.

Gulf states distrust the Muslim Brotherhood, seeing them as a threat to their hold on power. After Morsi came to power in Egypt last year, they have become even more worried.

Tensions were also raised because former Egyptian presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq went to the UAE right after losing the election to Morsi.

Shafiq has since been the target of a number of investigations in Egypt accusing him of corruption.

Meanwhile, the website Gulfnews reported that Kuwait MP Abdullah Al Tamimi called on the country’s Interior Ministry to ensure that the country was not housing Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells. He said, “Kuwait must not be turned into an open field for such cells, especially that we have a large community of Egyptians.”

The Kuwait Times reported on Tuesday that Morsi denied similar claims that the Muslim Brotherhood was interfering in Kuwait’s internal affairs. Morsi responded that these rumors were spreading in Gulf countries in order to “create divisions between Arab nations.

Egypt respects the people of the Arabian Gulf countries, and I reiterate the fact that maintaining the Gulf’s security is crucial for the region’s collective security.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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