If you were to stop someone on the (Israeli) street and ask them what the Muslim Brotherhood is they would most likely tell you two facts, the first is that Hamas is the Palestinian chapter of the Brotherhood and secondly that their candidate Mohammed Morsi is now the President of Egypt.
But there is a lot more to know than just these 2 facts.
As reported today in the Times of Israel earlier today, it has now become clear that the Muslim Brotherhood are also a part of the Free Syrian Army where they are forming battalions to fight against the Assad regime (I’ll be looking at this more later).
The Muslim Brotherhood can be found all over the world, their presence goes beyond the Middle East and their ideology is one of hatred, they were the very first to espouse the Islamist ideology and every Islamist terrorist movement in the world today to can trace their roots back to this revolutionary movement, particularly to their most famous theologians Hassan al Banna and Sayyid Qutb.
From Tunisia to Morrocco through Egypt and into Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait the Muslim Brotherhood parties have become the dominant political force. Were democratic elections held across the region they would undoubtedly be running each and every Arab country. Ironically, though they have rejected the tenets of Pan Arabism the Brotherhood are an inch away from achieving what Nasser could only dream of, uniting the Arab world under one flag.
With the slogan “Islam is the Solution” the Muslim Brotherhood and an ideology that calls for attaining power in order to impose Shariah law. After some disastrous attempts at violence in the 1940s and early 50s their leadership decided to abandon violence in favour of a more subtle approach. Since then they have been working at the grass roots level by financing community centres, schools and generally exploited the gaps left by weak Middle Eastern governments in order to win the trust of the people. Now in the beginning of the 21st century it looks like they are closer than they have ever been to achieving power, in the case of Egypt they already have.
Let me be clear, the wave of revolutions that have swept through the Arab world were not started by the Brotherhood, but they were the only ones organised enough to take advantage of it. In the midst of war in Syria they waited until the Assad regime looked at it’s weakest and now have jumped into the resistance, be sure that when the dust settles it will be the Brotherhood who are pushing for the political power, if they aren’t already.
There is some good news regarding their relationship with one another, it appears that even each domestic chapter grows stronger they grow more and more fragmented. Tonight’s massacre of Egyptian soldiers is a perfect example of this
By attacking Egyptian soldiers, particularly in such a bloody fashion Hamas (assuming it is Hamas) has drawn a line between themselves and the movement when it’s at it’s most powerful. In effect they have dared Morsi to retaliate against them at the very point at which they should be reaping the rewards of his ascendancy.
The Brotherhood are certainly on their way up though the good news is it will be a while before the countries bordering Israel are able to form genuine alliances based on a shared ideology, let’s hope it remains that way.