Declassified e-mails from former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have exposed a suspicious relationship between the Obama administration and the Muslim Brotherhood. This revelation has sent shockwaves across the Middle East, where many have accused Washington of instigating the Arab Spring revolts that swept several countries in the region in 2011.
Clinton’s Emails Reveal Meddling and Bribes in Middle Eastern Politics
The declassification of Clinton’s emails was ordered by US President Donald Trump as part of federal investigations into her use of a private server for government emails.
In one of the e-mails, Clinton requested the Gulf state of Qatar to finance the Arab Spring revolts through an account dedicated to the Clinton Foundation. In 2016, the foundation confirmed that it had accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar in 2011 while Clinton was still secretary of state without informing the State Department.
Another e-mail showed that Qatar helped the Muslim Brotherhood to establish a media channel with investments amounting to $100 million after the Islamist group complained that its media organizations were weak and unable to compete with other media outlets.
E-mails: Clinton Apparently Worked with Al Jazeera to Topple Egyptian Leader Mubarak
Other e-mails revealed that the former US chief diplomat had coordinated with the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera channel regarding Washington’s hardline position on former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during the 2011 protests.
Mubarak was swept from power after mass street protests against his 30-year rule. The Obama administration expressed support to the protests against the Mubarak regime.
“My dear Judith: I congratulate President Obama for his principled stance on Egypt. I hope that he will continue in this direction in these critical days ahead. We renew once again our interest in conducting an appropriate interview with him. Frankly, there is no alternative. Sincerely,” read an e-mail dated January 29, 2011 sent by Al Jazeera to US under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public affairs Judith McHale. This e-mail was sent on the same day Obama sent a message of support to the Egyptian demonstrators against Mubarak’s regime.
The Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
One year after Mubarak’s overthrow, the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous state. The Islamist group was strongly supported by Qatar, a wealthy Gulf state, which channeled billions of dollars to cement the group’s rule in Egypt. The Brotherhood, however, has irked thousands in Egypt and triggered mass protests against its rule, forcing the military to remove Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, from power in 2012.
One of the declassified e-mails showed that Clinton had visited Al Jazeera channel in May 2010 and met with its director back then, Waddah Khanfar. Clinton also met with members of the channel’s board of directors, where they agreed to arrange a visit for a delegation from the TV network to Washington, which happened in mid-May 2010. These discussions were also crowned with a meeting with the former Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani.
The Importance of Qatar
Egypt, along with its Gulf allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, accuse Qatar of supporting terrorist groups and instigating chaos in the region. In 2017, the four countries severed diplomatic relations with Doha and imposed an economic blockade on the Gulf state.
Qatar has been a safe haven for hundreds of Brotherhood members, who have fled a crackdown launched by the Egyptian authorities to quell violence that erupted after the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood group from power. The Gulf state’s mouthpiece Al Jazeera is also blocked in most Arab countries, which accuse Qatar of using the TV channel to instigate violence and chaos in the region.
Following the Arab Spring revolts, several Arab countries descended into violence such as Syria, Libya and Yemen, amid severe – and ongoing – humanitarian crises in these countries. Now Clinton’s declassified e-mails show that Washington had a hand to some extent in the turmoil that ravaged the region and caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history.