The Failure of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab World
by Nawaf Obaid
January 2020, 339pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7396-6
$85, £66, 74€, A117
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7397-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The Muslim Brotherhood has an extensive history of political violence and is the ideological source for Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS), Hamas, and many other terrorist organizations.

This book is an indispensable resource for anyone looking to understand the Muslim Brotherhood; Qatar's role in promoting the group; and the ideological, social, and religious factors that have led to its ultimate failure.

The book begins by looking at the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in 1928 in Egypt. It then traces its ideology and expansion via the various affiliate organizations in the Arab world as well as its international presence up to the present day. Throughout this historical analysis, evidence is presented linking the MB again and again to political violence and a lack of a coherent policy.

The book weaves into this history the influence of Qatari support, a clarification of the division between true Salafism and the MB’s radical ideology, an explanation of how Jamal Khashoggi was a living metaphor for this misunderstanding, and the role the MB has played in various revolutionary movements throughout the Middle East.

The book concludes with a current geopolitical outlook on the MB itself and the Arab world in which it resides. The book is extensively sourced with first-hand primary source quotes from numerous exclusive personal interviews conducted by the author, with both experts on the subject and officials in the region.


  • Provides a detailed account of the Muslim Brotherhood's history and its affiliates in every relevant country
  • Fully documents Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the nature of the current boycott against it led by Saudi Arabia
  • Gives a novel perspective on the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology via a chapter-long discussion of Salafism
  • Offers a candid, personal look at Jamal Khashoggi's struggle with his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Saudi Arabia and shows how this serves as a metaphor for the MB and its members
Nawaf Obaid is an author and academic and a former Saudi Arabian government advisor. He coauthored National Security in Saudi Arabia: Threats, Responses, and Challenges with Anthony Cordesman. His articles and editorials have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and Foreign Policy, and from 2012 to 2018 he was a visiting fellow and adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School.


"Recommended. All levels."—Choice, January 1, 2021

“This book documents excellently the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to gain and retain power in the Middle East. By assessing the experiences of the Muslim Brotherhood or its offshoots in each of the relevant countries in the Middle East, the book provides not only information on the failure but more importantly a historical analysis of the basis of the failure. One leaves the book clearly understanding that the Muslim Brotherhood never had a clear vision and detailed plan of state-building since its ideology of the Muslim Umma excludes the concept of nation-state.”—Dr. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Former Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund, and Former Member, Shura Council (Consultative Council), Saudi Arabia

"Nawaf Obaid is one of the wisest Arab foreign policy analysts around. In this book he offers a searching analysis of the political and religious battles that have been shaking the Middle East—-and also explains their roots. This book is a must for anyone who’s serious about decoding the Muslim Brotherhood and the violent sandstorms that surround it. Scholars are lucky to have analysts like Obaid who can think, write and explain." —David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post

"Drawing on substantial research and years of public service, Nawaf Obaid has produced a serious, substantive guide for understanding the phenomenon of radical political Islam in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. The issue is not Islam, as he indicates, but the use of Islam for malign political objectives. The book is important for academics and policy makers alike." —Daniel Kurtzer, Professor of Middle East Policy Studies, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University and Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel

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