Gulf Rift Threatens Region’s Stability
The dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors has now entered its fourth week, causing an uptick in tension throughout the Middle East. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with Marcelle Wahba, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, about the reasons behind Qatar’s isolation as well as why Qatar has elected to pursue a controversial foreign policy approach.
The Cipher Brief: Historically, what has been Qatar’s connection to the Muslim Brotherhood?
Marcelle Wahba: Qatar is a conservative Sunni Wahhabi state ruled by the Al Thani family. Since its independence in 1971, Qatar has maintained connections with a broad range of Islamists. Ties to the Muslim Brotherhood increased in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, when the Qataris provided extensive financial and political support in hopes that the Brotherhood would become the new regional power replacing autocratic regimes in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.
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Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba is president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.