Report into Muslim Brotherhood delayed by Whitehall 'wrangling'
Categories: Latest News
Monday August 18 2014
The Financial Times today reveals that the report following from the Government’s inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood has been put on hold as officials try to mitigate the effect the findings may have on those Arab states seen widely to have influenced the call for an inquiry in the first place.
The choice of the UK’s former ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins, raised early fears that the Government inquiry was a move intended to appease the Saudis. Saudi Arabia has banned the Muslim Brotherhood following the move by Egypt to denounce the movement that brought the deposed former president, Mohammed Morsi, to power in a free and fair election, as a ‘terrorist organisation’.
As Rosemary Hollis, former Middle East programme director at Chatham House put it, “For the rulers of Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood represents their most potent rival for influence among Sunni Muslims across the region.”
The FT today reveals the discomfit of Foreign Office officials at the report’s conclusions and its likely impact. One official told the paper, “Sir John will say that the Brotherhood is not a terrorist organisation. The Saudis and Emiratis will then be very upset with us.”
“According to Whitehall sources, Sir John has found that the group does not pose a significant terror threat in the UK. His findings were due to be published by the end of last month, but government officials indicated that ministers were still finalising how they would present the conclusions”, according to the paper.
Astute observers previously warned of the ramifications of unquestioningly doing the bidding of non-democratic regimes in the Middle East. Former Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, denounced the government’s inquiry as ‘cack-handed’ and Hollis wisely counselled that “If it [Sir John’s report] concludes that the Brotherhood’s values and philosophy are not a problem, the Saudis will no longer be appeased, and the whole exercise will look like a farce.”