Qatar has often been criticized for its close links to the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. During the visit of US-President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia, the Arab states and particularly the Gulf States appeared united. However, as soon as the official visit was over, the differences between the countries appeared again.
A video accessible to the public showed alleged quotations of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani praising the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Notwithstanding, Qatar’s government officially declared in front of the press that no one has the right to accuse the country of terrorism. According to the statement, other countries have bred terrorism themselves by adopting an extreme version of Islam. Hence, they should not accuse Qatar only because others declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and do not tolerate the type of resistance exercised by Hamas and Hezbollah. This message clearly refers to Saudi Arabia which thereby fuels the existing rivalry between the two countries. Later, the government of Qatar backpedaled and said that the server of the state news agency had been hacked and that the video was a fake. However, the media debate about the video in the Gulf States reveals the frictions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia based on Qatar’s relations to the Muslim Brotherhood and the country’s role during the Arab Spring. Qatar had supported the uprisings through Al-Jazeera in order to increase its political options in the Arab world. Thereby, it also supported movements that questioned the legitimacy of theocratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia. Recently, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have blocked the broadcaster which suggests that the disputes will continue.