A century has passed since the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has cast a shadow over international and Arab policies given the support and investment it has received from world Powers to employ it to serve its interests and aspirations, particularly in the Arab arena, which prolonged the life of the terrorist group and made it infiltrate many communities.
But after this time, the group may have begun to lose its organizational distinction, currently living its most difficult period because of internal conflicts over leadership, conflicts that collide with the principles that Hassan al-Banna set for the oldest Islamic group, according to a report from The Economist magazine.
The report says that today the group’s leaders in Istanbul and London are exchanging insults, accusing each other of corruption, and even worse, they are accusing each other of working for foreign spy agencies.
Commenting on this, Osama Jawish, a former member of the group who lives in Britain, says: “Instead of sacrificing themselves, they sacrifice the movement.”
Since its inception, disagreements within the Muslim Brotherhood over strategy and tactics have intensified in 2013.
Disagreements arose after the “old guard” gave priority to the brotherhood’s survival and defended a pragmatic approach dealing with the Egyptian state, while others preferred a more confrontational stance, calling for violence.
A new dispute arose between members of the old guard over who should lead the Brotherhood. On the one hand, there is Ibrahim Munir, who succeeded Mahmoud Ezzat as the group’s acting guide after the latter’s arrest in Egypt last year.
On the other hand, there is Mahmoud Hussein, the group’s former secretary-general, who suspended Munir in October, along with five other prominent members, due to corruption allegations.
After rejecting the decision to suspend his work, Mahmoud Hussein and the five members issued a statement dismissing Munir from his position.
While Munir, who lives in London, oversees the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and has good relations with foreign governments, Hussein, who lives in Istanbul, controls the group’s website, in addition to the group’s bank accounts, and also controls the group’s Istanbul-based Watan TV.
Hussein faces criticism for overthrowing his opponents, as well as for stopping financial payments to the families of detainees affiliated with the group. Azzam al-Tamimi, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, says that “Mahmoud Hussein deals with the Brotherhood as his own.”
The unusual public controversy, involving smear campaigns by both sides, led to the Muslim Brotherhood being thrown into turmoil, at a time when the group is dealing severe blows in several Arab countries.
The elections in Morocco removed them from the government, while Kais Saied removed them from parliament and power in Tunisia, and they also lost power in Sudan.
In addition to all that, the two most prominent States supporting the group were Qatar and Turkey, which provided refuge for the Brotherhood in exile, and each of them supported the group as a means of demonstrating influence.
They are currently in a different situation. Priorities change with time. Although Qatar continues to support the Muslim Brotherhood, the World Cup bill has exhausted it, and today it is a witness to the group’s failure and disagreements, and it cannot squander its money in support of them for nothing.
Turkey, which is suffering from a deterioration in its economy and many internal problems as well as the international isolation caused by its policy of supporting the Brotherhood, it is trying to get rid of them and expel them from the Turkish lands, and all in compliance with the desire of some countries, foremost of which is Egypt, which stipulated the cessation of Turkish support for the Brotherhood and their expulsion in exchange for normalization Relations between the two countries.
“The global movement no longer exists,” Tamimi says.
The Brotherhood has recovered under waves of repression in the past, but it is not clear how that will happen now, as its leaders have a habit of settling internal disagreements.
While members are divided over who to follow, many are disappointed, and younger members complain about the lack of new faces at the top of the organization.
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