The Muslim Brotherhood is trying to return to the Middle East region after losing in many countries including Egypt. According to the information, the international organization of the Brotherhood has decided to be the gateway to return through North Africa, specifically Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco where the political wings of A number of parties, but will the international movement of the Brotherhood succeed in returning to the Middle East after the political equation has changed regionally and internationally.
By – Ahmed Atta:
the Muslim Brotherhood’s Other Face of Political Islam
In Tunisia, all Islamic movements are alike and we can barely distinguish one from the other. This differs from the situation in more eastern regions where the disagreements and conflicts between Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis are highly problematic. Tunisia’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood al-Nahda Movement has been successful in containing the Salafi influence, which it has exploited to serve its own agenda and rise to power, using this to disseminate Islamism in society
How did this happen? Ever since the Salafi movement emerged in Tunisia, the part-to-whole relationship was dominant between them. The Salafi movement emerged as a wing within the Islamic Current Movement, al-Nahda movement’s old name. Since its establishment in the early 1970s, the Islamic movement in Tunisia included a wide spectrum of sects which believed that Islam is “religion and state”, and worked towards “securing change” in the society. The Islamic movement in Tunisia was a combination of the traditional Muslim Brotherhood in terms of its doctrine and politics – including the thoughts of its founder about Hakmiya (God’s rule) and Jahliya (pre-Islam), and small Salafi groups influenced by the Salafi expansion in Egypt and the Gulf region in the late 1970 led by Sheikh Nasser al-Albani, and the Egyptian Sharia Society. There was also an Islamic left wing group led by Salahuddin al-Jurshi, Hamida al-Naifar and some Sufis, and later, following the Khomeini revolution in Iran, came a Shia tendency within the group, known as “the Imam trend”. In the 1980s, the Salafi tendency within the Muslim Brotherhood slowly began to take a different trend, and so the winds of the Saudi Sahwa movement (Awakening movements) and its thoughts began to sweep across Tunisia and other Maghreb countries, and become popular there.
Ever since the emergence of the violent jihadist Salafi wave in Tunisia, beginning in 2002 with the synagogue bombing in the Jazirat Jarab area, the al-Nahda movement looked at violence from a narrow perspective confined to its relationship with the regime. It was interpreting bombing and violence as a reaction to the lack of religious freedom and religious education in the country. Throughout the first decade of the new millennium, al-Nahda closely observed the violent Salafi expansion in Tunisia, viewing it as a second Islamic awakening.
Even after it returned to the country in 2011, the al-Nahda movement interpreted the Salafi violence by the same token. Al-Nahda believed that “the absence of moderate Islamic movements, namely the Muslim Brotherhood, has opened the door to a much larger pool of hardline jihadists”. On that basis, al-Nahda presented itself to the public in Tunisia and the world as a party capable of defeating terrorism. However, years previously, US research communities, in particular the RAND Corporation, paid attention to such interpretation and encouraged the US administration to empower moderate Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, helping it rise to power in a bid to counteract the rise of Islamic hardliners. Until very recently there had been a conception that “radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution”, an idea that had the strong support of the US administration and Western research centres.
Having come to power, al-Nahda opened the way for radical Salafi movements to enter the political arena. It also encouraged the Salafis to engage in politics as it believed their impact would ensure al-Nahda a grass-roots base and abundant votes in the elections. During that period, al-Nahda was successful in polarizing the Salafi vocational trend that had no interest in politics, though it sometimes expressed its views and stances. This trend was represented by a number of sheikh and orators, such as Sheikh Bashir Bin Hassan, Jihad al-Marzouqi and Mokhtar al-Jibali, who adopted traditional Salafi discourse.
Polarisation was carried out by offering platforms in mosques, and by allowing the Salafis to establish educational and Islamic societies to teach the Holy Koran and Islamic jurisprudence. Thus the al-Nahda movement’s policy proved successful, through its clear lobbying for this direction. Salafi sheikhs often used their moral authority to address the issues secular powers raised against al-Nahda, especially with the rise of political polarisation.
At this time, several religious fatwas were issued by the Salafi tendency necessitating engagement in politics to support al-Nahda as the “standard bearer of Islam in the fight against the secular infidel trend.”
During al-Nahda rule, the traditional Salafis were supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and dedicated their platforms, popularity and mosques to promote its message. However, they maintained their historic loyalty to the Salafi spiritual leaders in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. But it was striking that after 2013 and the radical changes in Egypt, which saw the Muslim Brotherhood’s fall from power and the Salafist al-Nour Party’s support of the army when ousting President Morsi, the Salafi tendency began to further entrench itself behind the Muslim Brotherhood.
Recently, there have been radical changes in the positions of traditional Salafi sheikhs, particularly al-Bashir Bin Hassan who became fiercely loyal to al-Nahda and never misses a chance to attack Salafi spiritual leaders in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. He is a also a strong supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policies as well as of Qatar, especially after he joined the International Association of Muslim Scholars, one of Qatar’s foreign policy arms.
The approach of Sheikh Bin Hassan reveals the policy which the al-Nahda movement has adopted in recent years for containing the Salafi trend, mainly with young people, whereby the Muslim Brotherhood’s rhetoric prevails in Salafi discourse to the extent that it is no longer possible to distinguish the Brotherhood from the Salafis.
Muslim Brotherhood in Algeria
Muslim Brotherhood says Algeria postponed its Arab spring
The Algerian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood warned on Monday that a popular revolution was imminent if the ruling elites did not introduce real reform in the country
Referring to the ‘Arab Spring’ protests that have rocked the region since January 2011, Bouguerra Soltani, president of Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) – the Brotherhood’s branch in the north African country – said there was still a threat of an uprising.
“The sooner change comes the better in order to save people from danger. The government can still benefit and learn from what happened in the region and find positives in it,” he said.
“Algeria has postponed its spring, but it hasn’t cancelled it,” he added.
Soltani said that it was not too late for the government to introduce real reforms and added that the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence last month provided an historic opportunity for reviewing the constitution.
Why Algeria’s Protests Are Different This Time
Protests are part of Algerian political culture. Thousands of small protests erupt every year and are generally settled by government concessions. The last two weeks of protests in Algeria are different. Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded into the streets, calling for ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika not to run for a fifth term. Algeria’s decisionmakers are now debating how to respond to people’s demands.
WHY ARE PEOPLE PROTESTING?
A1: The main demand of the protestors is for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika not to run for a fifth term. Bouteflika has been largely incapacitated since a stroke in 2013 and has not spoken in public since. He campaigned for a fourth term and won reelection in 2014 without giving a single campaign speech. Protestors argue that the president is merely a front for powerful elites who are using his legitimacy to advance their own economic and political interests. Most Algerians have become accustomed to an opaque political system, but many have come to feel it is an insult to reelect a president who is so ill.
HOW ARE ALGERIA’S POWERBROKERS RESPONDING?
A coalition of military leaders, the president’s office, and powerful businessmen constitute Algeria’s powerbrokers. They have a hard choice ahead of them: to confront the protestors or to make concessions. Each runs the risk of energizing the crowds in the streets.
Pushing forward with Bouteflika’s candidacy despite these protests risks sparking larger and more sustained demonstrations that could accelerate defections from the government, the resignation of top officials, public sector strikes, and more demands to dismantle Algeria’s opaque system of decisionmaking and distribution of resources. It opens a host of unknowns, which is inherently destabilizing for a system that has prioritized and valued stability and predictability above all else. Larger and sustained protests increase the risk of violence between police and protestors, and once violence starts, it will be difficult to contain.
Postponing the April 18 elections could persuade protestors that Algeria’s political-economic model is crumbling and that they should push for bold reforms. That would mean calls to fight corruption, reform economic laws that stifle opportunity, and establish greater transparency and accountability. While postponement would allow powerbrokers to negotiate a replacement candidate with whom they can work, the environment that candidate will be confronted with may be even more insistent on transforming the way Algeria works, threatening the powerbrokers’ grip on power.
WILL THE MILITARY INTERVENE?
Algeria’s military is one of the country’s most powerful political forces. The military sees itself as the protector of the nation and guarantor of stability. In early 1992, it was the military that nullified election results that Islamists were poised to win, declared a state of emergency, and created a military-led ruling council. In the ensuing violence, which lasted a decade, between 100,000 and 200,000 Algerians were killed.
Although the military appears united at the moment, a decade of purges of the officer corps, the forced retirement of powerful commanders, and the promotion of officers loyal to Bouteflika may have created unseen fissures.
Direct intervention in politics, similar to the Egyptian military’s 2013 ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood, is unlikely unless Algeria’s security environment deteriorates dramatically. Instead, the military will seek to remain heavily involved in decisionmaking behind the scenes, including choosing Bouteflika’s successor. The decisions of the army, the chief of staff, and senior commanders will be the single most important factor determining whether Bouteflika actually runs, whether elections are held in April or postponed, and ultimately the direction of the country in the weeks and months ahead.
WHAT POSITION SHOULD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TAKE?
: The United States has a very limited ability to influence decisionmaking in Algeria. While the United States and Algeria cooperate on counterterrorism, the United States does not have deep ties to Algerian powerbrokers or much economic leverage to employ. For their part, Algerians are fiercely independent and resent external interference in their affairs. U.S. pronouncements are more likely to undermine U.S. objectives than advance them.
The United States should be concerned that sustained political uncertainty could distract Algeria’s military from its counterterrorism and border security mission. Algeria shares long borders with Libya and Mali, two divided countries that have active al Qaeda and Islamic State group cells. Furthermore, Algeria is an important energy supplier to Europe. While oil and gas exports are secure and largely isolated from areas of protest, political machinations at the top could further politicize the energy sector, creating uncertainty for oil and gas customers and Algeria’s commercial partners. Greater instability could also create opportunities for Russia and China, two countries with deep ties in Algeria, to expand their influence and presence.
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT NEXT?
Algeria’s protests are historic, but they are unlikely to bring the system down in the short term. Algeria’s leadership is likely to sacrifice Bouteflika’s fifth term in hopes of preserving the system that keeps them in power. Even so, efforts to preserve the system will be messy and uncertain. Once the decision on April’s elections is made, it will not mark the end of Algeria’s political conflict but merely its transition to a new phase.
The Muslim Brotherhood In Morocco
The Movement for Unity and Reform (MUR),affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Morocco, was founded in 1996. It was joined by various Islamic movements founded from the 1970s on. The parliamentary wing of the movement is called the Justice and Development Party t is a moderate Islamic movement involved mostly in education and social work (the da’wah). It espouses democracy and pluralism, and is politically integrated into the institutions of the royalist reg.
Moroccan parliamentary elections were held on November 25, about five months after the constitution was amended to give more power to the government and the parliament, and passed by a majority of votes in a referendum. The PJD won the most parliament seats (107 of 395), considerably more than other parties (the old Al-Istiqlal party, which had led Morocco to independence, came in a distant second with 60 seats).
On November 29, 2011, King Muhammed VI appointed PJD Secretary General Abdullah bin Kiran as prime minister. Interviewed by Al-Hayat on November 23, 2011, he said that his party did not expect to share power with the king. According to bin Kiran, the King of Morocco was the head of state and of the constitution, making him responsible for the army and the religion.
There is also a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated radical Islamist group called Justice and Charity Group, more Sufi in character It was established in 1987 and went through many incarnations under different names. The group rejects the king’s authority, strives to establish an Islamic republic and boycotts the party system, subjected to the king. The royalist regime does not recognize the group.
The group is headed by Abdul Salam Yassine, who has spent many years in prison. In 1982 he was arrested on charges of incitement against the king, and was put under house arrest until 2000 The group is currently outlawed in Morocco and many of its members have been arrested. After the recent regional uprisings, the group demanded that the Moroccan regime implement reform as well. Its activists demonstrated against the regime and were arrested for supporting the protest demonstrations.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its Struggle for Legitimacy in post‑Qaddafi Libya
Seven years have passed since the fall of Muammar al‑Qaddafi, who ruled Libya alongside various alliances for 42 years. Following his overthrow, initiated by local forces and supported by Western military force in 2011, the country has experienced years of turmoil. The future is uncertain; Libya seems to be at a critical crossroads with various groups competing for power and claiming legitimacy.
• Political authority in Libya is divided between rival parliaments in Tripoli and Tobruk and dispersed between different militias exerting control in parts of the country.
• This climate of uncertainty and division forms the context for this paper, which explores one way in which the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood (LMB) tried to establish itself as a legitimate political actor after 2011.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya: A Global Movement Trying to Adapt to Local Circumstances
• After decades underground, the LMB arrived on the political stage through popular elections. Due to the intolerance of the Qaddafi regime, the LMB had marginal experience interacting with the masses compared to its counterparts elsewhere.
• From today’s view, the movement seems to have failed to achieve its objective of taking power in the country. It is indisputable that many observers as well as MB members themselves were disappointed by the election results in 2012 and 2014, which revealed the LMB had relatively little support from the Libyan people.• By tracing and explaining the history of the LMB’s most salient organisational developments, this paper examines the ways in which the LMB tried to establish itself as a legitimate political actor with regard to its Islamic credentials in the Libyan political sphere after 2011. The fact that Libya is a majority Sunni country with a conservative society did not translate, somewhat paradoxically, into a conservative Sunni movement, such as the MB, faring as well as many had anticipated, derailing the impression that the whole region was “going Islamist” after 2011.
• The LMB today is still haunted by ghosts of the past, such as the decade-long demonisation of the Qaddafi regime, its exiled organisational structure and, connected to that, its impotence in developing a strong social base. The LMB was quick to blame these factors – exacerbated by their opponents’ fearmongering of a purported Islamist takeover – as responsible for the Justice and Construction Party’s (JCP) poor showing in the 2012 election, glossing over self-inflicted wounds, such as the Islamists’ inability to unite or to convince major parts of the population of their political programme
• Despite the aforementioned points, the LMB in 2018 established itself as a solid political force that has to be reckoned with in the future. This is mainly due to its shrewd manoeuvring and pragmatic choice of alliances.
• Despite its lacklustre electoral performance, which supposedly vindicates the proponents of post‑Islamism, it is premature to equate the Brotherhood’s electoral setbacks with the end of political Islam in Libya. However, political Islam needs to redefine itself conceptually to stay relevant and the LMB must adapt to a political environment that has been sliding, gradually but steadily, into a battleground for militias in which political institutions constitute simply another means for certain stakeholders to enrich themselves.
• Overall, the LMB exhibits a zero-sum approach to politics rather than bridging divides and pursuing compromises. Of course, like other political forces in Libya the LMB is hostage to military developments in the country, having to operate in a colossally demanding environment: a country painfully fragmented with political forces incapable of controlling the battleground. As a
result, the LMB is one of many political forces that was reduced to negligible importance and to struggling with the other political forces for relevance and recognition
• Overall, the LMB exhibited a more hawkish and less compromiseoriented policy approach than its Tunisian counterpart and, while aiming to grow in importance in the Libyan political sphere, cooperated with some of the more radical Islamist groups. Recently, however, it moderated some of its stances by verbally backing the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). From a social perspective, it remains to be seen if the LMB will succeed in building up a social network resembling what it created in Egypt over the last decades; in the long-term this could strengthen its presence in the country and help it to mobilise and excel politically.
• Libya is no exception in a region of authoritarian systems that drastically weakened political culture and nurtured a zero-sum approach to politics. Therefore, the LMB must also be seen as an outgrowth of Libya’s conditions before 2011; the political forces to its left and right would probably be judged similarly harshly in a comparison along the same lines. This does not necessarily suggest the failings of political Islam as much as the tragedy of a region unable to translate its own revolutions into a better, more confident future, leading to the spreading public conviction that Libya would be better off without political parties
– Home land security report 2015
– Wilson Center for Political Studies