A very interesting op-ed by Tariq Ramadan, which might be interpreted as a message from a prominent member of the international Muslim Brotherhood trend against Salafism, which here is depicted largely as a tool of the conservative oil-rich Gulf states and potential allies of the West.
The United States as well as the European countries have no problem in dealing with the type of Islamism promoted by the literalist Salafism found in some Muslim countries: these regimes might oppose democracy and pluralism, but they do not hinder the western economic and geostrategic interests in the region and internationally. They even rely on western support to survive: this useful dependency is enough for the West to justify an objective alliance — with or without democracy.
The US administration and other European countries are fully aware that Salafist organisations, based in Saudi Arabia, in Qatar or elsewhere in the Middle East, are pouring millions into ‘liberated countries’ and especially recently in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt (a RAND report has mentioned an impressive figure: $80 million (Dh294 million) invested before the elections for Egypt alone). Why, one wonders, do the western countries lend direct and indirect support to Islamist ideologies that are so obviously at odds with their own? After almost a century of active presence in the Middle East, and especially after the First World War, successive American administrations and their European counterparts have better understood how they can manage and take advantage of their relationships with both — the oil-rich states and the Salafist ideology they produce and propagate.
It's funny that Ramadan seems worried about a West-Salafi alliance that might divide Muslims, when he has been advocate of West-MB engagement.