memri
October 27, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9613

Tunisian Journalist: The Muslim Brotherhood Is Living Through A 'Fratricidal War'

October 27, 2021
Egypt, North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 9613

On October 19, 2021, Tunisian journalist Imed Bahri wrote an article, titled "The War Rages Among The Muslim Brotherhood," analyzing the power struggle inside the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Bahri wrote that there are three camps inside the Muslim Brotherhood: one headed by the current Guide Ibrahim Munir, one headed by former Muslim Brotherhood Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein, and another that represents the younger generation.

According to Bahri, this internal rift weakened the Muslim Brotherhood and its "dream to rule the Arab-Muslim world" has "collapsed."


Muslim Brotherhood Guide Ibrahim Munir (Source: Kapitalis.com)

Following is Bahri's article:[1]

The MB Is "Weakened And Strongly Divided"

"The curse is falling on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The secret society, which is functioning like a sect from which nothing usually filters, is living a fratricidal war before the eyes and ears of the world. [Recently,] a group of dissidents wrote in a statement that it had decided to dismiss Ibrahim Munir, the current Guide of the MB. This attempt [against Munir] was aborted but there was collateral damage. The Gamaa, as MB members call it, is a 93-year-old movement, turning 100 years old in 2028, which is aging both literally and figuratively. [As a consequence,] the Gamaa, which wrecked the Arab world, is now being ravaged.

"In a rare video address aired by Mekameleen TV [a MB TV channel, which is broadcast on the Qatari Es'hail 2 satellite and is based in Istanbul, Turkey], Ibrahim Munir, leader of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and current Guide of the movement, admitted that the MB is going through a difficult phase.

"[In the video,] without naming the dissident group led by the ousted former MB Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein,[2] Ibrahim Munir, looking tired and speaking with difficulty, stated: 'There is a problem [inside the movement], it has been contained and no one can lead the Gamaa where he wants, since [the Gamaa] serves God and not individuals.'


Mahmoud Hussein (Source: Aawsat.com)

"Munir, who lives in London (the MB's world capital), is supported by another MB pillar also based in the British capital: the devilish Azzam Tamimi. On the MB [London-based] Al-Hiwar TV channel (founded by Tamimi), [Tamimi] declared that the Gamaa was going through a temporary crisis. The [Al-Hiwar] channel [also] aired an interview with Munir, whose appearances are rare, for more than an hour on Friday, October 15, in which he tried to minimize the seriousness of the crisis, pretending that the misunderstandings [inside the movement] were over...


Azzam Tamimi (Source: Twitter)

"[It is worth noting that] these two MB TV channels, the London-based Al-Hiwar and the Istanbul-based Mekameleen, are trying to center their attention on the bitter campaign against Tunisian President Kais Saied, by demonizing him and working for his dismissal in order to save the brother of their sect and number 2 of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been relegated to the rank of spectator in Tunis after having been the strong man of Tunisia for 10 years.


Rached Ghannouchi (Source: Twitter)

"[Returning back to the main topic,] what Ibrahim Munir and the MB chief propagandist Azzam Tamimi do not talk about, and carefully hide, is the reason for the fratricidal war. The other things that they hide are that the Gamaa came out of this [internal] war very weakened and strongly divided and that this war is far from being over.

"Indeed, a third protagonist has come into play and intends to seize power: the Gamaa's young generation. After a year of war between Ibrahim Munir and Mahmoud Hussein, now the game will be played [also] by the MB youth, which is as power-hungry as [the movement's] elders."

The Elements That Caused "A Precarious Stability" Inside The MB

"After [former Egyptian President] Mohamed Morsi [who died in 2019] was removed from power in July 3, 2013, there was a wave of large-scale arrests [in Egypt] within the ranks of the MB. [As a consequence, the MB] was amputated of its main leaders, which greatly weakened [the movement]. However, some of [the leaders] managed to go into exile in Turkey and Qatar, including [then] MB Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein, who settled in Istanbul.


Mohammed Morsi (Source: Twitter)

"Another element that caused a precarious stability within the Gamaa [after Morsi's ousting] was that Mahmoud Ezzat, known as the iron man and considered as the MB's brain since the mid-1990s, replaced Mohammed Badie as Guide of the MB, after he was arrested [by Egyptian authorities on August 20 2013][3]... [As a consequence,] in 2013, Ezzat went underground... and become the most hunted man in Egypt... Ezzat's escape lasted more than seven years and ended on August 28, 2020, when the Egyptian police arrested him in an apartment in Nasr City,[4] in the inner suburbs of Cairo...


Mohammed Badie (Source: Dailynewsegypt.com)


Mahmoud Ezzat (Source: Egypttoday.com)

"[Ezzat's arrest] was a crucial moment that marked the second descent into hell for the MB (the first started with Morsi's ousting in 2013). Hence, with the iron man [i.e., Ezzat] in prison, the war of succession [inside the MB] begun.

"[It is worth noting that, since Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ousted Morsi and took power] in 2013, the 'bay'aa' pledging allegiance, i.e., to the person in the position of Guide] is no longer possible [inside the MB]. The last Guide who could do 'bay'aa' was Mohammed Badie... Hence, the new Guide is officially referred to as 'temporary guide' or 'acting guide.' This was the case for Mahmoud Ezzat and then now for Ibrahim Munir.

"So after Ezzat's arrest, Munir took over the MB, as he benefited from the right of seniority – at the time he was 83 years old, and he was already a leader of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, [when Munir became the acting Guide] things got worse, because he lives in London and the internal leaders ('qiyadat addakhil') [in Egypt], including the refugees in Turkey led by Mahmoud Hussein (73 years in 2020), did not want it. They wanted one of their own but since everyone knows that the one who holds the money decides and dictates the law, they could not satisfy their hunger.

"The Damage Was Done"

"Indeed, Youssef Nada, MB financial strategist, owner of the Al-Taqwa bank and a member of the old guard [he is now 90 years old and lives in Lugano, Switzerland], Ibrahim El-Zayat, who is MB ambassador in Germany and MB treasurer in Europe, and Azzam Tamimi, who takes care of the media, propaganda and has at his disposal colossal financial means... supported Ibrahim Munir.

"Anger [among MB members] in Istanbul. At the head of dissent there is Mahmoud Hussein. Right after his appointment, Munir dissolved (not a freeze like the one of the Tunisian Assembly that the Islamists reproach to [the Tunisian President] Kais Saied, but an outright dissolution)[5] some of the bodies of the Gamaa, including the Shura. Thus, Mahmoud Hussein and his clique were left without any official function. They then began plotting to undertake an internal coup in order to get rid of the bulky octogenarian Munir and take his place.

"Meanwhile, Turkey started negotiations to normalize its relations with Egypt, which demanded the end of the hostile actions from Turkey, including the constant attacks by Islamist TV channels broadcasting from Istanbul. As a consequence, the Turkish authorities ordered these TV channels to tone down on the Al-Sisi regime. Mahmoud Hussein and his gang were furious, since they felt abandoned by [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and, in revenge, approached the Turkish Islamist party Saadet Parti[6] at odds with Erdoğan and his AKP party.

"Erdoğan, who had been spying on [Mahmoud Hussein and his loyals], knew everything about their planned coup against Ibrahim Munir and about their financial moves, and alerted Munir last summer. Hence, Munir decided to bring them before the disciplinary commission of the Gamaa. He accused them of publishing false press releases in the name of Mohammed Badie and Mahmoud Ezzat ([who are] in prison), and of embezzling Gamaa's funds. In particular, Mahmoud Hussein and his son were accused of investing in real estate and buying luxury cars [with the MB's money] and using their Istanbul-based propaganda organ to demonize him. In addition, of course, [Munir] accused them of an attempted coup.

"[In fact,] ever since the summer, the war of the MB has known no respite and the unforgivable took place when Mahmoud Hussein and his clique published a communiqué [asking for] Munir's dismissal! [This is something] unheard of for a secret society, in which its members swear loyalty and fidelity ('asamâ wa taâ' [religious obedience]) to the leader in taking the oath on their first day as members of the MB.

"Of course, Munir, supported by the pillars of the Gamaa, [managed] to keep his position, but he is very weakened. Never before has a MB Guide seen his authority so contested and his person challenged, especially in public. The image of the whole Gamaa is tarnished and that's why Munir and Tamimi attempted to downplay [the whole matter] but no one is a fool and the damage was done.

The MB's Youth Wants To "Confiscate Power" From The Old Guard

"[Furthermore,] there is a new front: the MB's youth, who wants to confiscate power from the gerontocracy [i.e., the old guard], because Ibrahim Munir is 84 years old, Mahmoud Husseïn is 74 years old, and the influential Youssef Nada is 91 years old and still continues to pull the strings [of the movement] with the help of his large fortune. Moreover, Nada told to Mekameleen TV channel that what is happening within the Gamaa is a fitna (internal strife), and that – in times of fitna – he prefers to remain silent and not talk to the media. On Friday, October 15, 2021, in order to try to calm things down with the [MB] youth, temper their ardor and [get them] to support his camp, Ibrahim Munir appointed the young journalist Souhaib Abd El-Maqsoud (30 years old), as the [new] spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood.[7]


Souhaib Abd El-Maqsoud (Source: Youm7.com)

'The Dream Of The Muslim Brotherhood To Rule The Arab-Muslim World Has Collapsed'

"While the MB has lost its power in the Arab countries ([though] they still believe they can retain their last stronghold in Tunisia) [its members] are fighting among themselves, in full view of everyone. Will the Brotherhood celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2028 or will it be an empty shell at that time? Will it be, as it has always been, a tool used by Western countries to weaken the Arab countries that they want to weaken? Or will it rise from the ashes? It's a complete mystery. The only certain thing is that the dream of the MB to rule the Arab-Muslim world has collapsed."

 

[1] Kapitalis.com/tunisie/2021/10/19/la-guerre-fait-rage-chez-les-freres-musulmans-video/, October 19, 2021.

[2] Egypttoday.com/Article/1/91998/Muslim-Brotherhood-suffers-internal-rifts-dismiss-Secretary-General-Mahmoud-Hussein, September 16, 2020.

[3] Dailynewsegypt.com/2021/07/11/court-upholds-life-imprisonment-for-muslim-brotherhood-chief-over-border-storming/, July 11, 2021.

[4] Egypttoday.com/Article/1/100661/Muslim-Brotherhood-leader-Mahmoud-Ezzat-sentenced-to-life-imprisonment-in, April 8, 2021.

[6] After Turkey's Fazilet Parti (FP) was banned in 2001, its membership split into the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), led by Erdoğan, and the Saadet Parti (SP), led at that time by Recai Kutan. While both parties are connected to the ideas and philosophy of former Turkish prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, the AKP comprised the FP's reformist wing, while the SP, which was and remains a small party in Turkey, comprised the FP's hardline wing.

[7] English.ahram.org.eg/News/434197.aspx, October 11, 2021.

Share this Report:

MEMRI
2021 End-Of-Year Campaign