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Yesterday, the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan called on all GCC countries to work together to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from undermining governments in the region.
He made the call during a joint press conference with the Ukrainian foreign minister.
Sheikh Abdullah said that some members of the Islamist group were using their “prestige and capabilities to violate the sovereignty, laws and rules of other states.”
He added that the GCC needed “to communicate to see if there were individuals or organizations who were using these countries”. The issue of Muslim Brotherhood’s growing power in the GCC has long been a subject of debate.
The Dubai Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan was quite vocal in his criticism of the Brotherhood and accused them of plotting regime change in the GCC on his Twitter account.
He even got into a war of words with some Brotherhood leaders.
Despite this, many people did not take the issue seriously since it was done through the social media and no official comment came from any GCC government until now. Sheikh Abdullah’s recent statements prove that the UAE, a GCC country, views the issue seriously and as a threat to the country’s stability.
This means other GCC countries should also look into it and study the matter carefully, especially at the upcoming GCC summit in December.
The issue of Brotherhood’s increasing influence in the region has the potential to further divide many Islamist groups in the GCC vying for power.
This in turn brings conflict and can threaten the security of some GCC states, especially with the competing ideologies brought about by these groups.
If we look closer, the problems of clashing ideologies do not really come from the GCC citizens themselves.
In fact during previous conflicts, such as the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq war, the GCC countries had steered clear of ideological warfare but have always remained true to the customs and laws of the Muslim faith.
However, with the arrival of migrant workers from different parts of the Arab world during Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era as well as during the persecution by Hafez Al Assad during Hama attack, all these new ideologies have taken root in many GCC countries.
With the advent of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, some groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, are looking to gain more power and influence by dabbling in politics.
What Sheikh Abdullah has said is alarming and the GCC countries should immediately examine and discuss this vital issue for them to present a united front and plan a strategy against those who seek to destablise the region with their own agendas.
The GCC needs to be vigilant about protecting not only the stability and security of their respective countries but their sovereignty as well, which is now under immense threat from external forces.