Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are apparently on their way to resolving their dispute with Qatar over its backing for the Muslim Brotherhood. A foreign ministers’ meeting was convened in Riyadh on Thursday, leading to a statement issued later in the evening. [...]
Qatar’s Emir Tamim doesn’t have so much a Brotherhood problem as father issues. That’s the more likely explanation of a new television project that Qatar is involved in, people familiar with the project say. Tamim has set in motion a project to set up a channel, whose name could be Al-Arabi or Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, based out of London. [...]
An article of interest from Issue 944 of Gulf States Newsletter, April 2013 (note: Cowper-Coles is now with HSBC) regarding the debate over the appointment of the British ambassador in Riyadh to head the British government’s controversial inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood (author unknown, according to GSN format):
At a 1 March evidence session for the UK Foreign Affairs Committee’s hearing into London’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain (GSN 939/1, 934/16), MP for Penrith and the Border Rory Stewart asked former ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir Tom Phillips whether “it is a problem… that such a very large number of our senior diplomats and soldiers go on to take jobs where they are employed by members of the Gulf royal families, or work with businesses with significant interests in the Middle East? Does that get in the way of our being able to achieve objective criticism of these governments?” [...]
The decision of the British government this week to launch an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood is a major victory for Saudi Arabia, which has been arguing since the 9/11 attacks that it is the Brotherhood’s brand of “political Islam” that is the source of jihadist violence and extremism, not Saudi Wahhabism. Privately, British officials said there had been months of Saudi pressure, complementing Saudi anger over the West’s shift on Iran since November. The UK ambassador to Riyadh no less has been chosen lead the probe. [...]
Before the street, there was the screen — and the stage. In Syria and Egypt pre-2011, citizens used soap operas, plays and songs to voice political commentary — slipping criticism in between lines and lyrics. Then, the Arab Spring began, collapsing this natural order and impaling the region’s most powerful and traditional motors of media production in Egypt and Syria. [...]
The decision of the British government this week to launch an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood is a major victory for Saudi Arabia, which has been arguing since the 9/11 attacks that it is the Brotherhood’s brand of “political Islam” that is the source of jihadist violence and extremism, not Saudi Wahhabism. “What I think is important about the Muslim Brotherhood is that we understand what this organisation is, what it stands for, what its beliefs are in terms of the path of extremism and violent extremism, what its connections are with other groups, what its presence is here in the United Kingdom,” Cameron said. Privately, officials said there had been months of Saudi pressure, complementing Saudi anger over the West’s shift on Iran since November. [...]
During the First World War the British government used a highly effective and innovative series of propaganda posters in which Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener pointed at the viewer declaring “Your country needs you” or variations on that phrase. Almost a year after declaring that there was no personal ambition in his decision to oust the elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, General Abdelfattah al-Sisi has finally declared he will run for the presidency in a propaganda declaration that heavily played on the theme that “Egypt needs you”. [...]
CAIRO – Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is assured of winning Egypt’s forthcoming presidential vote but at the cost of reviving the era of strongman rule as he faces a dilapidated economy and rising militancy.
Analysts say Field Marshal Sisi, who on Wednesday announced he was quitting the army to run for president, was certain to continue the crackdown on Islamists that started when he overthrew elected president Mohamed Morsi in July. [...]
Andrew Hammond is a journalist and writer who has worked for BBC Arabic radio, Cairo Times and Reuters, where he ran the Saudi bureau for three years. He authored The Islamic Utopia: The Illusion of Reform in Saudi Arabia, Popular Culture in the Arab World and What the Arabs Think of America. His work in the Middle East has taken him from Saddam's Iraq and the dungeons of Egyptian state security in Lazoghly, to the hajj in Mecca and revolution on the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco and Bahrain.
Now a Middle East Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.