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Shifting Mideast Sands Reveal New Alliances

Saudi-Egypt axis emerging to challenge the Iran-led Shia group.

by
Jonathan Spyer

Bio

March 14, 2014 - 12:07 am
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A number of events in recent weeks cast light on the current intersecting lines of conflict in the Middle East. They reflect a region in flux, in which new bonds are being formed, and old ones torn asunder.

But amid the confusion, a new topography is emerging.

This was the month in which a long-existent split in the Sunni Arab world turned into a gaping fissure. On March 5th, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced that they were withdrawing their ambassadors from the Emirate of Qatar.

This decision was clearly a response to Qatar’s continued support and sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. This movement is regarded as a subversive threat by the three Gulf states. They are worried by the Brotherhood’s capacity for internal subversion.

Qatar, by contrast, affords generous subsidies to its tiny citizen body, and has little to fear from potential internal unrest.  It continues to support the Brotherhood and to domicile key leaders of the Egyptian branch of the movement. The latter is now engaged in an insurgency against the Egyptian authorities.

Saudi patience was at an end. The removal of the ambassadors reflects this.

On March 7th, Saudi Arabia made the additional move of declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.  A Saudi researcher and former general, Dr. Anwar Eshki, was quoted on the Now Lebanon website as asserting that the decision was made with particular focus on the Egyptian Brotherhood, which is involved in “terrorist” activity.

In the same week, an Egyptian court banned all activities by the Hamas organization in Egypt, and referred to the movement as a “terrorist organization.”

The proximity of these announcements reflects the very close emergent alliance between Saudi Arabia and the de facto Sisi regime in Egypt, which is likely to become de jure following presidential elections later this year.

This alliance is the core component of an emergent dispensation in the Sunni Arab world which also includes UAE, Bahrain and Jordan, as well as the fragile West Bank Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

This alliance is set to emerge as the strongest element among the Sunni Arabs.

It is opposed both to the Iran-led, mainly Shia “resistance” bloc, and to what is left of the Qatar/Muslim Brotherhood alliance that just a short year ago was proclaiming itself the wave of the future in the Middle East.

The Hamas authority in Gaza has no buy into the new Saudi-Sisi bloc.  Formerly aligned with Iran, it put its bets on the Qatar/Muslim Brotherhood axis.

But this putative bloc was fatally damaged by the Sisi coup in Egypt of July 3rd, 2013, and by the departure of the Muslim Brotherhood-related Nahda party in Tunisia.

Hamas appears to be trying to find its way back to the Iranians.  Gaza’s “foreign minister” Mahmoud al Zahar and Iran’s parliament spokesman Ali Larijani both made statements this week suggesting that relations had returned to normal between Teheran and Hamas.

It is not clear what this actually means.  But Iranian funding to Hamas in Gaza was slashed following the latter’s failure to offer support to the Iranian client regime in Damascus. It is unlikely that Iran has either forgotten or forgiven.  Al-Zahar, in any case, is among those Hamas officials most closely supportive of Iran and his statements should not be taken as representing the movement as a whole.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Imagine: the Democrat who was almost elected our
President gave Al Jazeera a foothold in American
Media. Al Gore, darling of the Left.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
NOT BEING ABLE TO SPELL R E S P E C T MUST BE A FREUDIAN SLIP
Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood and lost Egypt as well as Saudi Arabia. Obama supported the protesters in Ukraine and lost Crimea.
Early in his administration, Obama supported Zelaya and lost Hondoras.
Obama lost Lebanon to Syria and some Philippine shoals to China. Obama should also be credited with having America lose respect throughout the world. Dare I say it: If Dems win another election, we're all lost.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"On March 7th, Saudi Arabia made the additional move of declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. A Saudi researcher and former general, Dr. Anwar Eshki, was quoted on the Now Lebanon website as asserting that the decision was made with particular focus on the Egyptian Brotherhood, which is involved in “terrorist” activity."

How can this be? Surly the Saudis, and the Egyptians, must somehow have gotten the wrong impression of the Muslim Brotherhood as both Barack Obama and John McCain think they are just about the greatest thing there ever could be.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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Do I understand this correctly? Qatar is doing to the others what the others routinely do to us (Israel). It makes one think "may they all win".
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks you Dr. Spyer, very informative article!
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like the idea of them sorting out their own problems and we just need to sit back and observe. It is time for us to exit active participation in the area. However it doesn't take long for somebody to not play fair or act up, so we still need a Naval presence with some really heavy Marine accompaniment.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that Israel is going to be part of the regional solution, making deals with Saudi and the anti-Brotherhood government in Egypt. This may end up being a very, very positive outcome. Cheers -
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Living in Israel, I wouldn't bet on it. Hating us is still what keeps them all alive, every last one of them.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I think we should have saved our money and withdrawn long ago rather than trying to do for others what they should be doing for themselves.

You can always take some action, but trying to manage outcomes can be very expensive and self-defeating. The problem is caused by too many people with an unacknowledged Marxist point of view which contains a strong libido for control.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment

The Muslim Brotherhood was supported by Saudi Arabia for decades as long as they did their bidding to maintain Saudi power. Now that Saudi's funding of certain terrorist organizations come back to haunt them, Saudi's leadership paints them as subversives.
Saudi Arabia funds terrorism on a global scale; Hamas, attacks in Mumbai, the attacks in NYC on 9/11, Wahhabi fundamentalist schools supporting overthrow of democracy and replacing it with Sharia law, Saudi Arabia funds terrorism and terrorist acts to deliberately destabilize democracy.
The USA made critical error aligning itself with Saudi Arabia and supporting their regime in 1972 with Petro dollar system. This action has wrought global terror, wars, collapse of the US dollar, economic ruin for America.
Are we supposed to applaud Saudi Actions?, at what point does American leadership account for its actions, and lack of common sense with foreign policy?
Saudi Arabia is a terrorist regime, possible the single greatest threat to global security and democracy at this time. The continued ignorance regarding Saudi terrorist policies and funding places the world in serious jeopardy.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Discounting Israel, the ARE NO good guys in the Mid-East, only those ranked on a scale from very bad to not so bad. Can we ever accept that fact? With our new position of becoming independent of the Mid-East for petroleum, maybe we can watch the continuing events there from a distance.

I, for one, am sick to death of sending our military to fight there with no expectation of actually winning the battle. "Winning the hearts and minds" of Mid-Eastern Islamic groups is a totally no-win situation and any American lives lost there is the consequences of our new belief that everybody is good and wonderful and our current inability to see evil when it is obvious.

I would like us to push even harder for petroleum independence so we can exert influence on the international market for oil. As long as millions and billions of dollars are flowing into the Mid-East, nothing will change and we should not sacrifice even one American life in our zeal to change what is and will be on-going there forever.

The Islamic faith is saturated with hatred which is obvious from a reading of their precious documents. If anyone thinks differently from you, kill them and rape their wives and daughters. That passes for "religion" there and we must look at the on-going mess through clear eyes, not rose-colored glasses.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think it ironic that Saudi Arabia, home to Wahabbi Islam considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, you have to use the proper definition of a terrorist organization, which is an organization trying to topple a government that is either Moslem or which Moslems do not currently wish to topple.

Besides, you make the common mistake of assuming there is something wrong with killing Jews.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, goody!

If it wasn't for the islam-first Obama Brigade, we could be encouraging big fights between the various Middle-Eastern religious nutters. Maybe it isn't too late after all?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wasn't Qatar the place where the FCMABBHO Administration had plans to hold "peace" talks with the Taliban?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Imagine: the Democrat who was almost elected our
President gave Al Jazeera a foothold in American
Media. Al Gore, darling of the Left.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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