Monday, March 10, 2014
Saudi Arabia Declares Several Fighter Groups As Terrorists Including Muslim Brotherhood
Friday announcement appeared to enforce the findings of royal decree last month, in which Riyadh promised to punish those who fight in conflicts outside the Kingdom, or join or support extremist groups. a list published by the official Saudi Press Agency enlists as terrorist organizations Muslim Brotherhood, the Al-Nusra front- al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate as well as the branches of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Iraq, Saudi Hezbullah and Yemen's Shiite Hawthis. The interior ministry said it will prosecute anyone backing these groups 'financially or morally' or who express sympathies for or promote them. Saudi Arabia also forbade its citizens from fighting in conflict zones. giving Saudis fighting abroad a 15-day ultimatum to return home or face imprisonment. The decree on Friday represents as escalation against the Brotherhood of ousted Islamist Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi, with Riyadh fearful the group has tried to build a support inside the Kingdom since the Arab Spring revolutions. The Brotherhood's Sunni Islamist doctrines challenge the Saudi principle of dynastic rule. There is also concern in Riyadh over te potential domestic security risks of Saudi extremists fighting in Syria. The Saudi interior ministry estimates around 1,200 Saudis have gone to fight in Syria, heightening worries that fighters could become radicalized and then return to Saudi Arabia and turn their weapons on the monarchy. Riyadh, however strongly supports some rebel opposition groups with weapons and aids, in their battle to overthrow Syrian president Bashar -Al Assad. Saudi Arabia's move against the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to heap pressure on Qatar, whose backing of the group and other organizations in the region has caused a row with fellow Gulf Monarchies. It comes two days after, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates called their ambassadors back from Qatar. The three said Doha has not stuck by the accord not to interfere in each others' internal affairs.