Al-Sheikh’s attack on the current Al-Sheikh, and the series of lectures that followed aimed at stripping it, indicates an official tendency to tighten the screws on the organization that has a significant presence in Saudi Arabia, which may pose a future threat at home, especially in light of the stormy regional transformations and the increasing size of threats surrounding the Kingdom, with Regional powers such as Turkey seek to exploit the loopholes and access them.
The regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent years has shown ambitions for expansion in the Arab region, obsessed with the idea of reviving the Ottoman caliphate in a new guise. The Turkish president has set his sights on withdrawing Saudi Arabia’s leadership over the Islamic world, and he finds support from Qatar, which the Kingdom, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have boycotted since 2017 due to its controversial political orientations and its support for extremist groups.
The Turkish regime and Qatar succeeded in wooing the most prominent symbols of the Syrian movement, propagandists and sheikhs, and these people played a major role in the Syrian crisis in the service of the Turkish-Qatari agenda, so they announced the mobilization against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in 2012.
In light of the incitement of the sheikhs and advocates of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sarruvian movement, thousands of hard-line fighters flocked to Syria through Turkish territory and extremist organizations were formed, and today they have turned into military arms to serve the Turkish project, starting from Syria through Libya to the Caucasus.
It is not unlikely that the Syrian movement, pushed by Turkey and Qatar, would incite against the Saudi state, although it is afraid to do so, especially in public, because it is aware that any step in this framework will cost it dearly.
From shade to public
The Surari current appeared in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within what was known as the Islamic awakening after 1979, and its lineage goes back to the Syrian preacher, Muhammad bin Surur Zain al-Abidin, who succeeded in drawing a new equation based on the marriage between the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was one of its elements for ten years Before he split from it, and between the Salafist approach that dominated the societal space in the Kingdom, which had no political interests.
The ideas of this preacher were very popular in the eighties of the last century, and he had many supporters inside the Kingdom, especially among the youth, and he studied with a group of names that later shone in the space of advocacy work in the Kingdom and abroad.
This trend initially refused to announce itself and preferred to hide, and its leader, Muhammad Surur, wrote in the magazine Al-Sunna No. 27 of 1993 an article under the title “Al-Sururiyya” in which he denied that there was a group bearing this name and that he would one day be responsible for it. The strange thing about the matter is that some of my old comrades from the first group – they invented this name, then bitter enemies transmitted it from them.
The Turkish and Qatari media are promoting that the option of normalization with Israel would not have taken place without the approval of the “elder sister”
With the growing influence of the movement inside Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Sorour appeared again in an interview with the journalist Azzam Al-Tamimi on the Al-Hiwar channel, which was broadcast on the twenty-fourth of March 2008, acknowledging the existence of the movement, saying, “This trend was the beginning of its emergence in Saudi Arabia, and its affiliates are not of one nationality.” Adding that this current is a “fact” and it is a “self-based organization.”
Over the past years, the Syrian movement has succeeded in penetrating the joints of the Saudi state and has acquired a large number of Islamic centers and associations as well as satellite channels, and this trend has taken charitable work as a gateway to spread, taking advantage of the indulgence of the state.
The relationship between the current and the Brotherhood that emerged from it was characterized by ebb and flow, as they met in the positions of the most important issues in the Kingdom and the region, and their hard-line vision, while there was intense competition between them over the Saudi societal space, even though the current took precedence.
A shift in the official position
With the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and the ascension of King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the throne in 2015 and the rise of young princes to the centers of government, led by Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who was appointed to the position of Crown Prince, changes began within the Kingdom that affected the social, political, religious, and economic aspects, which were later translated in Vision 2030.
The young crown prince does not hide his enthusiasm for a quantum leap in the kingdom, and realizes that extremist currents would constitute an obstacle to any modernization or development. Prince Muhammad declared during a dialogue session at the Forum for the Future Investment Initiative on October 24, 2017, the war on militancy, saying, “We will eliminate extremism very soon,” noting that “destructive ideas” began to seep into Saudi Arabia in 1979 within the framework of “ A religious awakening coincided with the rise of the Islamic regime in Iran.
During the forum in which he announced the “NEOM” project, bin Salman added, “We will only return to what we were, to moderate moderate Islam that is open to the world and to all religions and all traditions and peoples.”
During that forum, the Saudi crown prince avoided naming the names by their names, but in an interview he had with the American newspaper “Times” during his visit to the United States in March 2018, Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke clearly about the organizations concerned, shedding light on the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian movement that He said about him that he is “the highest degree of the Muslim Brotherhood,” and added that “the Surrians are criminals under our laws, and they will be tried whenever there is sufficient evidence against them.”
Foreign reports circulate the presence of a number of symbols of this trend today in prisons inside the Kingdom, such as the preachers Salman Al-Awda, Awad Al-Qarni, and Safar Al-Hawali, while Riyadh did not confirm or deny the validity of these news.
Many believe that the tweet of the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Da`wah and Guidance, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh, and his warning of the danger of the Syrians penetrating the joints of the countries, and the subsequent lectures to shed light on this trend, are not out of thin air, especially with the mounting challenges and the absence of any deterrent to the Turkish regime that does not hide its hostility For Riyadh, and his obsession with withdrawing the Islamic leadership from it and transferring its center to Istanbul.
The Turkish regime tried hard to invest in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, in October of 2018, to undermine Riyadh, but it succeeded in absorbing these blows, to restore the ball with the support of Doha by trying to find an alternative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (based in Riyadh) But this move also did not work.
Today, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime seeks to employ the Gulf-Israeli normalization path, whose train with the UAE and Bahrain was launched under US sponsorship last September, to question the extent of the Kingdom’s ability or intention to defend Islamic sanctities in Jerusalem.
Riyadh avoided expressing any official position on the issue of normalization with Israel, although it emphasized the centrality of the Palestinian issue and the need to solve it in accordance with the Arab initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, which is based on the declaration of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Turkey and Qatar and their media arms sought to market that Saudi silence is a “blessing” for normalization in an attempt to tickle the feelings of the Arab masses rejecting this path, although it is ironic that Turkey has close relations with Israel, while it is no secret that Qatar itself maintains direct contacts with Tal. Aviv Even its aid to the Islamic Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, passes through the latter.
Since the UAE and Israel announced the normalization of relations last August, it has been observed that the Qatari and Turkish media have focused on Saudi Arabia, and considered that the option of normalization would not have taken place without the approval of the “elder sister.” In what appeared to be an attempt to charge the Saudis who oppose any approach towards peace with Israel.
A rare Saudi public opinion poll published last month by the “Washington Institute for Near East Policy” indicated that the vast majority of Saudi citizens do not support the normalization agreement.
Many fear that Turkey will employ the Brotherhood, especially the Sururites, to destabilize Saudi Arabia, even if some of their symbols show support for the path of modernization as a matter of piety.
The Saudi crown prince’s threats targeting the Sahrawi movement in Saudi Arabia, including Al-Surari, influenced the positions of well-known preachers and sheikhs. They rushed to show their support for Bin Salman, and blessed his new actions and trends, which they expressed in tweets to them on their official Twitter pages.
It is noteworthy in this context that well-known Saudi preachers blessed the Saudi crown prince’s recent trip to the United States of America, and showered him with their warm invitations, the most prominent of whom is the preacher Ayed Al-Qarni, who tweeted on his Twitter account, “The success of the journey of His Highness the Crown Prince is a success for the whole country, God bless Abu Salman The Crown Prince, descendant of glory, the Lion of Najd, may God increase his success and prosperity.
He also blessed the well-known Saudi preacher, Muhammad Al-Arifi, the efforts of the crown prince, and called upon him by saying, “I ask God to benefit from the efforts of His Highness the Crown Prince, Prince Muhammad bin Salman, and make him blessed wherever he is, may God support him with your success.”
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