Does the Muslim Brotherhood Export Revolution?

06 January 2013 | 18:14 Code : 1911221 Interview General category
Excerpts of an interview with Dr. Davood Aghaei, university professor and Middle East analyst
Does the Muslim Brotherhood Export Revolution?


There were reports last week of the arrest of a group of Muslim Brotherhood members in the UAE. What kind of activity does this group have in the Emirates?

Based on reports published by the UAE sources, this group is comprised of more than ten leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who are active in the Emirates. It has been announced that this network was involved in activities such as gathering secret military information from this country. This network has also held numerous secret meetings about methods of regime change in the UAE and other Arab countries including the Persian Gulf littoral states. 

What kind of relationship did the UAE have with Egypt during the Hosni Mubarak era? Following the revolution in Egypt, Mohammad Morsi visited Riyadh, which was a sign of Egypt's closeness to Saudi Arabia. Does the UAE, which has the same political position with Saudi Arabia with regard to many regional issues, have good political relations with Egypt today?

During the signing of the Camp David Accord by Egypt's president, this country was expelled by the Arab League. 

These were the differences which were discussed, perhaps in the early 1980s, between Arab countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. But since the taboo of having relations with Israel was gradually broken, the regional atmosphere changed and the Arab countries, especially the Persian Gulf littoral states, instead of concentrating on the main enemy, Israel, focused their hostilities on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Relations between the Arab countries and Egypt, following its return to the Arab League, have been good, particularly after Hosni Mubarak and the coming to power of the Muslim Brotherhood and groups of Salafis in Egypt. At this time, in order to solidify the foundations of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, Saudi Arabia showed its support by giving financial and multilateral aids to this movement, a measure which could have been considered as a confrontational approach towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Of course, the UAE does not involve itself in such political issues, but the fact is that all three countries of Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are influential in the Arab League. Therefore, if we accept that Saudi Arabia is considered as an important country and the godfather of the Cooperation Council, the UAE, despite its differences of opinion with Saudi Arabia over some issues, will certainly cooperate with it on many issues including its relations with Egypt. 

There have recently been some arrests made in the UAE of the opponents of the government or defenders of political reforms. What is the level of public satisfaction with regard to the political policies of the UAE government? Does the Arab Spring have any bases in this country?

Considering the fact that the UAE is considered as the center of regional international trade, the presence of people with different nationalities including from the US and Europe in this country, either for investment or tourism, have naturally had and will have cultural impacts. Thus, such a trend has enhanced people's level of awareness, for they are in direct contact with European and American citizens whose countries have an institutionalized democratic process, and people in the UAE are in search of such examples. 

There is this concern in all Arab countries, where freedom of expression is more or less ignored in their political structures, that sooner or later the wave of the Islamic Awakening or the Arab Spring would also hit them. Thus, any movement in this regard would worry the leaders of these countries and they would attempt to nip these movements in the bud. Positions and threats against political activities in the UAE are taken along the same line.

In the past month, there were reports of nuclear cooperation between the UAE and Russia. This is while the UAE had begun the construction of its first atomic reactor with the help of the US, France, South Korea, Japan, and Britain. What is the reason behind the UAE's inclination towards nuclear activities during the past year? Is there an arms race going on between the Arabs of the region? 

Two issues must be studied in this regard:

1. These countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and even Qatar and Egypt, are somehow encouraged by the western countries to enter nuclear activities so that they can invest in them. 

2. The other point is that these countries, under the shadow of Iranophobia, use any excuse to exert pressure on Iran. Their reason is that if they attempt to take a step forward in nuclear activities, they would be able to use the same nuclear threat against Iran as Iran is using against the countries of the region. On the other hand, they intend to somehow show their reaction to Iran's nuclear activities in the region and create concerns for Iran. 

tags: uae arab nuclear saudi arabia muslim brotherhood