By LT. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, January 4, 2021

Mordechai Kedar writes of the early history of the Muslim Brotherhood, pointing out that a major reason for its establishment was to counter western influence. “Whereas the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic thinking is revolutionary, Saudi religious thinking serves and entrenches the existing political order. Because there is no way to bridge between these mindsets, they are always in sharp tension,” despite the fact that they are both Sunni. Their “hatred explains why Brotherhood groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad turn to Shiite Iran to aid them in their struggle against Riyadh and its allies. Tehran is well aware of the rift in Sunni Islam and is glad to help these groups, thereby strengthening the coalition against their common nemesis, Saudi Arabia. That is why Iran gives refuge to leaders of al-Qaeda, which also had its origins in the Muslim Brotherhood.”

AUTHOR: Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence specializing in Syria, Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups, and Israeli Arabs, and is an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.

This article was published January 4, 2021 by the Besa Center as Perspectives Paper No. 1,867, and is archived at