The UAE’s War on the Muslim Brotherhood

Source: Egyptian Institute for Studies

Author(s): Muhammad Abdalsattar

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In November 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) declared the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) – including its local affiliate- as a terrorist group (El-Gamal, 2014). The relationship between the UAE and MB (or its Emirati branch: al-Islah) dates back to the 1970s, developing from almost friendly to increasingly tensional and aggressive, especially with the occurrence of the Arab Uprisings in 2010-2011. Designating the MB as a terrorist organization was only a legal- move in a series of moves and strategies of “total war” fought in almost all spheres (political, ideological, economic and etc.) to eliminate the MB’s (or Islamism’s) influence, if not existence, not only locally or regionally, but even internationally.

The UAE’s economic power seems to be the essence of its power in general. That is seen in the fact that it occupies top positions in some global economic rankings more than other power types (i.e. military and soft powers). According to the World Bank, the UAE, despite its smallness, has the fourth biggest GDP in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in 2017, with around $382.575 billion (compared to $851549, $686738, $454.013 of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, respectively) (“data,” n. d). Moreover, in a report of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UAE was declared to be the world’s top aid donor compared to its wealth in 2016 as it was in the preceding two years (“UAE ranked,” 2017). While we do not see the UAE in the 2017 military ranking (Woody, 2018) or 2018 soft power ranking (Mcclory, 2018). Due to this, we will proceed with the economic aspect of the above-mentioned war by the UAE on the MB.

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