April 17, 2019
In an interview with @AlRiyadh daily, Dr. Walid Phares discusses the “deep and old influence the Muslim Brotherhood has in the US from campuses to foreign policy, and how #Qatar harvested decades of Ikhwan academic and media build up in America.”
The influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US is old and wide. It started decades ago, as of the late sixties when waves of Ikhwan cadres and members settled in the US and started activities on campuses and later had an impact on media and foreign policy circles.
The MB impact on Middle East studies generated their long-term influence within the educational system and as a result, graduates spread across the foreign policy and media establishments and formed a large pool of supporters to the ideas of the Ikhwan and by ripple effect, a political protection to the Brotherhood.
The “Ikhwan lobby” is not just about money, it is about decades of hard work on behalf of a highly ideological and organized movement. It started to have an influence over US policies in the region even before Qatar moved in. However, as Doha started to expand its international program to support the Islamist movements in the region and worldwide, from the mid-1990s, the pre-existing Ikhwan network in the US presented a great opportunity to Qatar, which harvested decades of patient work by the Brotherhood.
The influence of the joint lobby effort by Qatar and the Ikhwan yielded tremendous influence on US foreign policy particularly since the end of the Cold War. It peaked during the Arab Spring. However, a majority of Arab societies rose against the Ikhwan in the region, including in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and the Gulf. Now the Brotherhood politically are a small minority, but they are empowered by Qatar and Turkey.
In the US, ironically they appear as if they represent the majority of Arab and Muslim Americans, but the reality is that the majority does not back them across America.