Is the Saudi Arabia-Brotherhood distance narrowing?


Is the distance between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest Islamic movement in the Middle East, diminishing? Due to the various events in the region, it seems that both sides are moving forward in the areas of cooperation with each other, realizing the issue of the Saudi regime and the overall welfare of the Muslim Ummah. 

Khaled Mishal, head of Hamas's foreign bureau, has given an important interview to Saudi TV network Al Arabiya after more than a decade. The interview is being widely discussed among political observers in the Middle East.

Disillusionment with the UAE

At the same time, Saudi Arabia's confrontation with the United Arab Emirates over the restructuring of Middle East policy by uniting with Israel has created a situation of direct conflict. Abu Dhabi has withdrawn its troops, leaving Riyadh alone before a consensual solution to the war in Yemen can be found. 

They captured Aden with local Yemeni-backed local fighters and ousted the Saudi-backed Hadi government. The UAE is directly involved in the conflict with Saudi Arabia at the OPEC Plus meeting. In retaliation, Riyadh has barred Saudi Arabia from importing goods from the UAE's EDZs. At the same time, the Abu Dhabi office has imposed restrictions on tenders for Saudi government work.

The ice is melting with the Brotherhood

While this is happening, many leaders of Hamas and the Brotherhood are being released in Saudi Arabia. Islamists who were once cornered in Saudi Arabia are being brought back to important positions. They are in contact with the central leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK. 

The Egyptian Brotherhood's propaganda network and the residences of many exiled leaders are being relocated from Turkey to the UK. King Salman's authority in the Saudi administration is taking a direct turn. The king is taking steps to heal the divisions within the royal family caused by Muhammad bin Salman's extremist policies.

 At the same time, the king himself is trying to bring back the importance of the religious establishment in Saudi Arabia and to alleviate the divisions that were being created by the rulers of the Saudi family with various influential tribes.

The monopoly power that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman created over the Saudi regime when President Trump was in power in the United States has diminished considerably.

 At that time, the Islamic scholars and religious institutions were made unimportant in the transformation of Saudi society from Islamic conservatism to Western secularist society. The Islamists were fired from the administration.

 The administration was sorted out by disqualifying senior members of the Saudi royal family from the power structure and bringing those families in charge of the junior or powerless. 

In the wake of Biden's rise to power in the United States, Netanya hu's ouster from Israeli rule, and repeated coup attempts, King Salman has sought to bridge the gap between Saudi society and state management.

MBS does not have exclusive power

In this effort, Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) has not only lost his monopoly power over the Saudi administration but has also created uncertainty over whether he will be the future king. King Salman's confidence in the MBS has been severely eroded by his offer to recognize Israel without concessions to the establishment of a Palestinian state in conjunction with the United Arab Emirates. 

King Salman bin Abdul Aziz rejected bin Salman's offer. After that, Salman did not back down from the decision even in the face of pressure from US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Kushner.

 Later, the UAE unilaterally recognized Israel and established diplomatic relations with the country. At the same time, Abu Dhabi acted as Tel Aviv's ambassador to persuade Muslim countries to recognize Israel.

Salman bin Abdul Aziz did not see anything good in Abu Dhabi's various moves to improve relations with Israel and become a leader in the Muslim world with the help of Israel without informing the Saudi king. 

In the meantime, after Joe Biden became the President of the United States, the tendency to deviate from Trump's policy has given the impression that Saudi Arabia is insecure in many ways.

 Saudi Arabia is increasingly at a distance from the religious establishment, trying to crush the Muslim Brotherhood, making it the enemy of the largest non-state power in the Middle East, snatching the wealth of dissidents from the royal family, and increasing its distance from Iran and Qatar.

Salman's five initiatives

In this situation, there is a hint that King Salman is moving forward with some specific policy steps. First, the war that Muhammad bin Salman initiated in Yemen was ended through political compromise. Pakistan is playing a mediating role in this effort and is trying to bridge the gap in direct talks with Iran.

 Second, to restore the status quo of the Saudi religious leadership, and to take steps to control the growing anti-monarchist sentiment in Saudi society. Third, Saudi Arabia's influence on public opinion and social structure in the Middle East is weakened by its anti-Muslim Brotherhood stance inside Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East. 

Attempts are being made to restore old ties with the Muslim Brotherhood to create a friendly environment. Besides, efforts have been made to assist the exiled Brotherhood leadership in resettlement in the UK and to create an environment for them to work in their homeland in phases.

Fourth, to restore relations with the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas to restore the negative image that Saudi Arabia has created of taking a stand against Palestinian interests. Fifth, to be proactive in restoring the confidence of dissenting members of the royal family and cornered families.

From the time of King Faisal, Salman was the prince in charge of the internal affairs of the Saudi royal family. As a result, he knows all the details of the royal family. On the other hand, he was the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in charge of Palestinian affairs. 

He was also responsible for maintaining relations and contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, it is thought that how King Salman is now actively carrying out his duties will enable him to play an effective role in bridging the gap between Saudi society and the state.

However, one of the major weaknesses of King Salman was his son Muhammad bin Salman. He could see the shadow of his father Abdul Aziz in his son's ability to take reckless action. 

But his father's confidence in Muhammad bin Salman does not seem to have been preserved. In this case, the king got a big shock for the brutal assassination of the famous journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his invisible Saudi mission in Istanbul. The impact of this incident is so profound that even after Salman's initiative, it is not possible to return his son Muhammad to the position of inheritance of power.

 The Biden administration has maintained direct contact with King Salman since taking office in the United States. Although he has visited the United States more than once during Trump's tenure, MBS has not been able to meet Biden directly.

 Most recently, Khalid bin Salman was sent to the United States by his father King Salman. The visit is expected to focus on the Khashoggi murder trial and the Crown Prince's legacy.

Lots of changes in 6 months

Needless to say, in the first six months of 2021, many changes have taken place in the politics of the Middle East. Egypt's ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has fallen into the existential challenge. Without an agreement with Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopia has begun work on a second phase of the Renaissance Dam on the Nile. Tunisia has raised the issue with Egypt at the UN Security Council. 

The main investors in the dam are Israel and its new ally, the United Arab Emirates. While Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and even Iran have sided with Egypt on this issue, the UAE is the only one in a different camp among the Muslim powers.

 The emirate has not only fueled the construction of a dam on the Nile in Ethiopia but is also working with Israel on an initiative to build a dam on the Nile in South Sudan. The country, led by Muhammad bin Zayed, is dreaming of expanding its influence by turning itself into an indirectly controlled satellite country of Israel. 

This dream has not only hit Saudi Arabia. It has upset Egypt as well. This is the main reason for Egypt's efforts to normalize relations with Turkey and Qatar and to maintain Egypt's open and secret ties with Iran and Syria.

Egyptians admire the decision of General Sisi among his various heinous such as coup and genocide against, Morsi and 1brutal crackdown on his supporters. That is to support Hamas, albeit indirectly, during the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza. 

Egypt has also taken the initiative to coordinate between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine. Many Cairo analysts see the Israeli-Emirati initiative to build Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam, South Sudan's Blue Dam and an alternative canal to the Suez Canal as a long-term Egyptian death warrant. 

Many do not think that it will be possible for a new 'pharaoh' to accept this warrant even if he comes to power in the country. As a result, no matter who is in power in Egypt, there is no way to avoid a hostile relationship with Israel.

Hamas and Saudi relation

There seems to be a link between the positive development of Egypt's recent relations with Hamas and similar initiatives by Saudi Arabia. A closer look at Khaled Mishal's interview on Saudi TV Al Arabiya made it clear. 

In this interview, Hamas leader Mishal said, "We and the Muslim Brotherhood were and are ideologically the same, but our movement is for the establishment of an independent Palestine." This movement of Hamas is a movement of resistance and liberation; It's not just a war prevention project. "

"In the past, Hamas has had the support of various Arab countries in its war of independence," he said. Iran is also among the supporting countries. However, our movement's independent decision-making is not abandoned in exchange for help from any country.

Regarding Iran's support, the head of the foreign bureau of Hamas's political wing confirmed that Tehran supported the Hamas movement with weapons and technology. On the other hand, they reject any attack on any Arab country, especially Saudi Arabia. 

He called on the Saudi government to restore ties with the Hamas movement. He praised Saudi efforts to reach an agreement on Mecca in 2007. He said that not Hamas, but Israel and others have tried to invalidate the Mecca agreement Law. 

How can we oppose the Mecca Accord, which played a key role in leading the Hamas movement toward establishing a national unity government?

Referring to recent events in Jerusalem and Gaza, he said that the Israeli police's attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the displacement of residents in Jerusalem forced the Palestinian resistance movement to intervene.

"In reality, no progress has been made yet," Mishal said in an interview about exchanging prisoners. He declined to say whether Hamas had any Israeli prisoners of war or the bodies of soldiers. Mishal also denied any new developments in Hamas's relations with Syria.

In an interview with Al Arabiya, Khaled Mishal called on Saudi authorities to release the detained Hamas leader and his assets in Saudi Arabia. According to a report by Al-Monitor, this part was not broadcast on Saudi television. However, many Hamas leaders have been released by Saudi authorities.

The process of developing relations between Saudi Arabia and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood has certainly come a long way. Any such sensitive issue needs time to move forward. But a lot of positive things are becoming visible now. The upcoming days will be probably the ‘new morning’ for the Brotherhood.

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