Multiple Terror Attacks, Extensive Ties To ISIS Fail To Dissuade Brotherhood Loyalists
(New York, N.Y.) – The Muslim Brotherhood is celebrating the nine-year anniversary of the Arab Spring this year. Despite coordinating and executing terror attacks against fellow Egyptians, support for the Brotherhood has remained resilient across Egyptian society. This is in large part due to its investments the Brotherhood has made over decades to develop a robust infrastructure and social support networks that have ingratiated millions of Egyptians to its leadership.
It was this infrastructure and social support that helped propel the Brotherhood to political power during the Arab Spring of 2011. In the midst of shifting political landscapes in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, several Brotherhood chapters formed political parties and performed well in their respective countries’ elections. None performed better than the Egyptian Freedom and Justice Party, which ran senior Brotherhood official Mohammed Morsi as its candidate for president, and the Tunisian Ennahdha, which won the first elections after former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster.
Morsi served as president of Egypt between June 2012 and July 2013, though his government alienated much of the population due to perceptions that it governed poorly and overreached, including through the group’s attempts to rush through changes to the Egyptian constitution. In July 2013, after months of mass protests against the Brotherhood-led government, the Egyptian military overthrew Morsi and seized power, calling for new presidential and parliamentary elections and arresting Morsi and hundreds of Brotherhood officials and members on various charges. Egypt outlawed the group later in 2013, designating it a terrorist organization.
Egypt’s military-run government, led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has sought to uproot the Brotherhood entirely. And since its ouster from power, the Brotherhood has been implicated in multiple terrorist attacks carried out against Egyptian forces. For example, the Brotherhood has been blamed, in conjunction with Hamas, for a June 2015 car bomb that killed Egyptian Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat. The following month, security forces raided a Cairo apartment in which they believed the Brotherhood was planning terrorist attacks. Nine Brotherhood members, including a former parliamentarian, died in the raid. The Brotherhood, in turn, called the incident a “turning point” and called for a country-wide revolt.
The Brotherhood’s ties to ISIS have also been a point of contention. While the Brotherhood and ISIS have traded accusations amid disagreements on tactics and strategy, elements within each group have found common ground and readily cooperate logistically and in other ways. ISIS has also capitalized on Egyptian violence to lure younger Egyptians to its cause. As violence mounts in Egypt, some Brotherhood members are turning to jihadist groups to exact revenge against the government and the army. According to former Brotherhood activist Mustafa el-Nemr, more than 100,000 families have reason to seek retaliation against Sisi.
To read CEP’s Muslim Brotherhood resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s Hamas resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s The Muslim Brotherhood’s Influence on Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Iran resource, please click here.