In Kuwait, the Muslim Brotherhood is vocally pro-American.
In Iraq, the Brotherhood’s political party has steadfastly supported the American-backed political process and still forms part of the governing coalition.
And in Yemen, the Brotherhood-linked party is cooperating with some of America’s closest Arab allies in a war against a faction backed by Iran.
President Trump’s proposal to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization raises the difficult question of just whom he intends to target. The original Islamist organization, founded in Egypt in 1928, has spun off or inspired thousands of independent social or political groups around the world, and they are far from monolithic.
They include mainstream associations and advocacy groups in Europe and North America, as well as recognized political parties in United States allies from Morocco to Indonesia. Although most of the Brotherhood-linked parties are sharply critical of United States foreign policy, at least a few — like those in Kuwait, Iraq and Yemen — have sometimes also supported American goals.
The push to sanction the Brotherhood has come from one set of American allies: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who see the Brotherhood and its calls for elections as a threat to their stability.
Ibrahim Munir, 82, the Muslim Brotherhood’s acting leader, in his office in London. The Brotherhood is not an organization as much as it is an idea, Mr. Munir argued.
But the same step risks alienating another set of partners, including Turkey, Qatar and Jordan, which have either aligned themselves with the Brotherhood or integrated Brotherhood spinoffs into their political systems. [Continue reading…]