November 20, 2020


Saudi alliance with Yemen's Islah on the brink over Muslim Brotherhood tensions (Middle East Allies, 20 November 2020)

The unlikely alliance between Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Islah party has come under strain like never before, as fresh moves by Riyadh targeting the Muslim Brotherhood have left its Yemeni affiliate fearful of its status.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have long opposed the Brotherhood, labelling the Islamist group a terrorist organisation in 2014.

Yet the Saudis have for decades found a partner in Islah, whose status as a client of Riyadh only grew following the 2015 Saudi-led intervention into Yemen's war.

As Saudi Arabia provided weapons to Islah fighters battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, and even deployed its troops alongside Islahis, Riyadh refrained from hostile speech and moves against the Brotherhood.

That changed last week, when Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Scholars issued a statement calling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, which sent Islah officials in the kingdom scrambling. [...]

In response to the Saudi statement, Islah leaders like Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman criticised the kingdom, accusing it and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of suppressing freedoms.

Karman tweeted on 10 November: "To the council of senior hypocrites for bin Salman and his shoe polishers: The Muslim Brotherhood members in Saudi Arabia are struggling for the sake of freedom and bin Salman's regime suppresses freedoms of all sides, either Muslim Brotherhood or others.

"Bin Salman's prisons are full of those who say 'No' and those who are expected to say 'No'," she added. "Saudi Arabia is the mother and father of terrorism."

Posted by at November 20, 2020 12:00 AM