The losers in the Turkish – Qatari reconciliation with Egypt

In light of this new reality, the Muslim Brotherhood has become a thing of the past.
Wednesday 02/06/2021
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (back-C) meets with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani at the foreign ministry in Cairo, on May 25, 2021.  (AFP)
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (back-C) meets with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani at the foreign ministry in Cairo, on May 25, 2021. (AFP)

Since July 2013, the day millions of Egyptians took to the streets in response to the army’s call, and even weeks before that, the regime that the Egyptian people and their army established on the ruins of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been portrayed by Turkish, Qatari and Brotherhood sources, as dictatorial and Abdelfattah al-Sisi depicted as the leader of a military coup whose authors were ungrateful to late President Mohamed Morsi, who had made Sisi a close aide and appointed him minister of defence.

For eight years, the coffers of Qatar and Turkey were wide open to the Muslim Brotherhood and to any other enemy of Egypt and its president. They could help themselves as they wished, launching satellite channels and radio stations, as well as newspapers, news agencies and news websites.

They were free to establish corporations and money-transfer offices that financed Mujahideen cells and purchased tonnes of bombs, cannons and explosive devices. These they smuggled into Egypt to kill Egyptian officers, soldiers and policemen in revenge against Sisi and in an attempt to undermine internal security and fuel popular resentment as steps towards overthrowing the government.

At that time, Qatar and Turkey not only applauded the guerrilla campaign waged by the Muslim Brotherhood in Sinai, but infiltrated Libya with weapons, money, experts and mercenaries to besiege Egypt, in preparation for restoring power to the heirs of Brotherhood founder Imam Hassan al-Banna.

Matters reached a point where Istanbul and Doha had become operation rooms for the Muslim Brotherhood, masterminding overt and covert activities against the Sisi government. They also hosted personalities directly involved in terrorist crimes in Egypt and named on terrorism lists.

In eight years, Turkish and Qatari media spared no accusations via every possible outlet against Sisi personally and his government .

Every day, the Muslim Brotherhood, from its bases in Istanbul and Doha, disseminated news of the successes of their armed cells and the defeats of the Egyptian army, all heralding the approaching victory.

Then, suddenly Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan woke up to the fact that the Egyptian government was not born out of a treacherous coup against the legitimately-elected and Brotherhood-affiliated government and that Sisi is not a dictator and an outlaw by international and humanitarian standards. Moreover, he realised that the relationship with him is necessary for the common good of the two peoples and for the security and stability of the region.

At the same time, the relationship between Egypt and Qatar, which is a permanent ally of Turkey, witnessed a great de-escalation, followed by the resumption of diplomatic links between the two countries.  Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, emir of  Qatar, called the Egyptian president, congratulating him on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan.

Then Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani announced that “Egypt is one of the major countries in the region and plays a leading role in regional issues,” stressing that President Abdelfattah al-Sisi “represents the elected legitimacy in Egypt.”

So the stories broadcast by Al-Jazeera channel from Doha and the TV satellite channels Watan, Al-Shourouq and Mekameleen from Istanbul against Egypt and its government since June 30, 2013 were not honest, fair or accurate. The innocent lives that were lost, the houses that were destroyed, the interests that were ruined and the money wasted on activities in Sinai, Cairo and other Egyptian cities over the past eight years, were they the price paid for foolishness, dishonest policies and decisions and doomed dreams?

Such turnarounds are not unusual in political history. Governments switch their attitudes and policies according to their changing interests.

We are not interested here in the details of the Turkish-Qatari reconciliation with Sisi’s Egypt and its results, so much as searching for the real losers in such reconciliations.

Those who let themselves be used completely as tools for governments in their self-serving battles, often find themselves, when the battles are over and the need for them disappears, out of the game with little to show for it

At this juncture of the new regional relations, there are two losers. The first is the Muslim Brotherhood, with its political, military and economic ideology and organisational structure and the second is Obama’s America which placed its bets on the Muslim Brotherhood and supported them without limits.

Today, the Muslim Brotherhood is right to worry about its fate, in anticipation of its expulsion from the two countries, in conformity with the conditions put by the Egyptian government. Finding alternative havens, when they are on Interpol wanted lists, will be extremely difficult.

In light of this new reality, the Muslim Brotherhood has become a thing of the past.

After losing the warm Turkish and Qatari embrace, Biden’s America has shed its “Obamaism,” which was supposed to continue betting on Islamic extremism. It is now correcting the past mistakes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Biden.

The senior Egyptian Brotherhood leaders committed mistakes towards their movement, towards themselves and their families when they imprudently became more Turkish than Erdogan and more Qatari than Tamim, driven by the illusion that the Turkish-Qatari enmity towards Egypt is principled, rooted in ideology and resilient.  They were excessive in their hostility towards their own country and left no room for reconciliation between themselves and their people. They have lost their two havens. Neither have they gained permanent residence in the comfort of their Turkish and Qatari host countries, under new American sponsorship, nor can they return home safely.