circulating their contents in any form, or using slogans of these groups and currents [of thought], or any symbols which point to support or sympathy with them.
Anger over Qatar’s Support for the Muslim Brotherhood
At the same time and in an exceptional move, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, saying Doha had violated an agreement not to
interfere in each other‟s internal affairs. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are incensed over Qatar‟s
support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
They are also offended by Qatar‟s adoption of Shei
kh Yusuf Qaradawi, the notorious president of
the World Muslim „Ulema Association, an influential Egyptian cleric and staunch critic of both
the Egyptian and Saudi regimes. Qatar has given Qaradawi asylum and a free rein on its influential satellite channel Al Jazeera. Qatar has also granted asylum to a former Israeli Arab Member of Knesset who is wanted in Israel
for subversive activities, „Azmi Beshara, and appointed him to the very significant positions of
adviser to the ruling emir and director-general of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (also known as the Doha Institute).
A Turning Point for Saudi Policy
Saudi Arabia‟s decisions to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and downgrade
diplomatic ties with Qatar to protest its support for the Brotherhood mark an important turning
point in the kingdom‟s approach to international terrorism. The Saudi government had been the main financial backer of Afghanistan‟s Taliban since at least 1996. It has also channeled funds to
Hamas and other groups that have committed terrorist acts in Israel and other parts of the Middle East.
Moreover, the Saudi monarchy has funded schools and “charities” throughout the Islamic world
that have been centers of anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Israeli indoctrination.
The schools, for example, not only indoctrinate students in a virulent and extreme form of Islam, but also teach them to hate Western secular values. They are also taught that the United States is (along with Israel) the fulcrum of infidel power in the world and the enemy of Islam. Graduates of these schools are often recruited by al-Qaeda and other
To contain negative influences and counter the threat to the regime‟s stability stemming from the “Arab Spring,” Saudi Arab
ia has initiated economic and social reforms. It has also started to take action against the global
‟s funding sources, primarily wealthy citizens in the kingdom itself,
and has further increased intelligence cooperation with the United States after the latter criticized
the kingdom‟s meager efforts in this regard.
In the past, Saudi Arabia appeared reluctant to launch a comprehensive counterterror strategy.
It enlisted in the fight against terrorism only under intense U.S. pressure following the September 11 attack. Even then, its cooperation has been minimal and grudging. For example, Riyadh has
resisted Washington‟s requests to use its bases in Saudi Arabia for military operations against al
-Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan. Although, after September 11, the Saudis mobilized against al-Qaeda and its support base at home, they seemed unwilling to confront the deeper sources of political, ideological, and financial support for extremism and terrorism within the kingdom.