Alwaght- Saudi regime is warming to Egypt’s banned group Muslim Brotherhood as it hopes that the Islamist group could help it get rid of Yemeni crisis.
Signs of Saudi Arabia failure
Signs of Saudi Arabia’s failure in its war against Yemeni army forces and Ansarullah resistant movement have started to show up. Five months after launching a full-scale offensive on Yemen, and after heavy bombardments and massive killings of civilians, scandalous losses in Yemen have caused confusion in Riyadh’s political positions towards its today friends and former foes.
To be clear, these days Saudi Arabia is trying to get close to the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. These efforts would work against the Saudi ties with the Egyptian government led by the former army chief President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi.
Meanwhile, the question which presents itself is: why Saudi Arabia has applied a double standard policy towards Muslim Brotherhood, while it played a major role in ousting Brotherhood-Backed government in Egypt.
Another rising question is: why Riyadh has recalibrated its policy toward President el-Sisi’s government, trying to weaken his government, while Al Saud spared no effort to help el-Sisi crush Muslim Brotherhood group in the past.
Riyadh’s efforts to press Muslim Brotherhood regionally
Muslim Brotherhood rise to power in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia during 2011 popular across some Arabic countries, sounded alarm bells in Saudi Arabia, and its allies including Jordan, UAE and Kuwait, making them to embark on countering the Islamist group, and to do their best to block the Muslim Brotherhood plans across the region. The Saudi anti-Muslim Brotherhood efforts have continued until they developed into a plot which led to ouster of Mohamed Morsi only a year after he was elected as Egypt’s president.
Saudi Arabia blocked Muslim Brotherhood group’s attempts to maintain power in Egypt’s political scene, as it removed Mohamed Morsi using the army’s force and annihilated the group in Egypt. To get rid of Muslim Brotherhood permanently, and to guarantee that they would not return to power in Egypt again, Riyadh has strongly supported President el-Sisi as Egypt’s commander-in-chief in his harsh dealing with the group.
Labeling Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group
In the meantime, Muslim Brotherhood was added to terrorist groups list in some Arab countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as its leaders were pursued in Egypt legally, and thousands of its members were arrested and tried with Saudi support and encouragement.
The court has issued tough verdicts against its top figures, most remarkable of which were death sentences for ousted president Mohamed Morsi and 90 other influential Brotherhood members on June 16, 2015, not to mention the long-time jail sentences for other ordinary members of the group.
Saudi Arabia reviews policy on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood
However, after rough crackdowns and strong measures against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt by the Saudi regime and the Egyptian army, there were recently series of events which motivated Riyadh to fully change or modify, at least temporarily and tactically, its approaches towards the group.
One of the major motives that made Saudi Arabia to shift its policy in favor of Muslim brotherhood is the Syrian government and army’s strong confrontation of the terrorist groups and plots mostly designed by the Saudi regime and the West against Damascus.
Actually, Saudi officials realized that their actions and calculations to overthrow the Syrian president have been unsuccessful, so decided to change their policy against Muslim Brotherhood in a bid to exploit the Syrian branch of the group against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is the reason behind Saudi Arabia’s attempts to get close to Qatar and Turkey which are still supporting Muslim Brotherhood in the region. All these struggles are made in order to profit from the group as an instrument to reach the final objective of downfall of the Syrian government.
Riyadh, Doha and Ankara fail to topple down the Syrian government
The triple struggles of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar to remove President Bashar al-Assad has met with scandalous failure, and Muslim Brotherhood’s military branch in Syria, known as Free Syrian Army which was well equipped by Saudi Arabia, failed to topple Syrian government after five years.
Saudi Arabia trapped in Yemen marsh
Another motive moving Saudi regime to get close to Muslim Brotherhood is its unsuccessful aggression on Yemen. It is a dangerous situation Riyadh has fallen into due to its miscalculations and faulty aims. The Saudis are now seeing themselves helpless and isolated in their campaign against Yemen, especially after the refusal of Egypt as the biggest Arab country to deploy ground forces to aid Saudi defeated forces.
Riyadh mistrustful attempts to get close to Muslim Brotherhood Policy
Amid the mentioned events Saudi Arabia has recently begun a set of suspicious efforts to modify its approach towards Muslim Brotherhood group and get close to it, a move that harms ties with Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s government. Riyadh hopes that proximity to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood strengthen Yemeni branch of the group to confront and contain Yemeni army and resistant Ansarullah group which are resisting Saudi unabated atrocious attacks, most victims of which are civilians.
Saudi hopes for Muslim Brotherhood’s assistance as its forces have suffered big losses from Yemeni army and Ansarullah movement, while persistent airstrikes of the Saudi-led coalition have proved resultless after five months.
Saudi Arabia fails to attract Muslim Brotherhood assistance
Saudi plans for the Muslim Brotherhood seems to be successful, and it is expected that the group will turn down calls to join Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s support for Muslim Brotherhood could anger the Egyptian government and their ties could be undermined. On the other hand, many other Arab countries like the UAE and Kuwait would disparage Riyadh if it seriously intends to help Muslim Brotherhood group which is majorly present in almost all of Arab countries.
Saudi Arabia has lost its friends
It is true to claim that the kingdom currently faces two issues. First, due to adopting fluctuating policies, Riyadh lacks friends, and second, it has been defeated in Yemen. So, if it really holds the idea of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, the kingdom’s troubles would be added to, because it will lose its traditional Arab allies which mostly are hostile towards Muslim Brotherhood.
Saudi fantasies in Yemen
Meanwhile, reports suggest that Saudi Arabia is struggling continuously to mend and improve ties with the Muslim Brotherhood to make gains and finish the war in Yemen in its favor.
Following new approach of proximity to Muslim Brotherhood group, the Saudi Arabia has recently hosted figures from the group which included Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisian En-Nahda Islamist movement, Humam Saeed, top member of the group in Jordan, and Abdel Majid al-Zabadani, a leader in Brotherhood –affiliated al-Islah party in Yemen.
Moreover, some months ago, the Saudi king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met with Khaled Mashal, the leader of the Palestinian organization Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Considering the Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen and its crimes and killings of the civilians, it is unlikely that Muslim Brotherhood renew ties with the kingdom, and the group will not help out Saudis to pull out of Yemen war troubles as well as other problems the Saudi regime is dealing with.
Costs of Muslim Brotherhood’s possible support to Saudi Arabia
In case Muslim Brotherhood stands beside the Saudi Arabia and improves ties, it would certainly lose ground and position in the Muslim world, because since it was founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928, the group has taken supportive and noble stances toward the Palestinian issue as well as other nations regionally.
Nevertheless, during Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt, former president Mohamed Morsi took an extremist approach towards the Syrian government which was busy fighting the terrorist groups in the country.
Muslim Brotherhood, after all of the Saudi-backed crackdowns on the group in Egypt, seems to ve vigilant enough not to slip into Saudi Arabia’s set-ups.