The Muslim Brotherhood Has Collaborated with Iran for Decades, and Now Might Be Helping It Dodge Sanctions

Sept. 25 2020

Although the superiority of Shiism is at the heart of the Islamic Republic’s official ideology, and the ayatollahs have done much to contribute to the Sunni-Shiite divide, they have never shied away from cooperating with Sunni terrorist groups when their interests align. In fact, the founders of Iranian Islamism were inspired by the writings of Sayid Qutb, an early leader of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. Reza Parchizadeh explains the long history of cooperation between the Brotherhood—the parent organization of Hamas—and the Islamic revolutionaries who now rule Iran:

The Muslim Brotherhood . . . taught the Shiite Islamists how to be soldiers. During the 1960s and 1970s, many Iranian Islamists were trained in guerrilla camps in Egypt and Syria under the auspices of Brotherhood-sympathetic army officers. They then relocated to Lebanon to establish the radical Shiite Amal movement, the precursor of Hizballah, to galvanize the Lebanese population against Israel and the West. Along with the exiled PLO, the Muslim Brotherhood and Amal pushed Lebanon toward civil war. Those same battle-hardened guerrillas would later topple the pro-Western regime of the Shah in Iran.

That relationship, Parchizadeh adds, continues into the present, and may explain some of Tehran’s success at evading U.S. sanctions:

The Iranian regime has been using financial institutions in Turkey and Qatar, where the Muslim Brotherhood has a heavy presence [and the active support of the respective regimes] for money-laundering and sanctions-busting purposes. Recently, [Iran] strongly objected to the U.S. designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

When it comes to countering the U.S. and her regional partners, the same principle stands for all Islamists. . . . [T]he Iranian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood are still firmly in cahoots to sabotage all attempts at regional peace, which would spell doom for the appeal of their violent ways. To salvage their common cause in the short term and keep them both alive in the long term, the Muslim Brotherhood is likely a key actor in the skirting of sanctions on the Islamist regime in Iran, a possibility that should be intensely investigated.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iran sanctions, Lebanon, Muslim Brotherhood


Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship