Away from the watchful eyes of the world media and under the guise of attending a conference in Mauritania, prominent members of the international Muslim Brotherhood will meet openly on Friday, December 22, 2017, for the first time since the downfall of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s failed president from the Brotherhood’s party.
Even though the terror organization Hamas allegedly separated from the Brotherhood, it will be represented at the three-day meeting by group’s top official in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, a well-known member of Hamas’ politburo.
Turkey will also send representatives from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (the AKP).
Other Muslim Brotherhood political parties and organizations will attend from Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mali, Senegal and other locations in Africa.
The ostensible conference the Brotherhood members will attend is the annual rally for the Reform and Development Party in Mauritania, or Tewassoul, the Brotherhood affiliate in the African nation.
Speaking to Albawabh News, Tarik Al-Bashabishi, a former member of the Brotherhood, commented on the unusual meeting, saying the fact that the Brotherhood is gathering in Mauritania means they are not able to hold such a meeting in any of their home countries.
The Brotherhood doesn’t dare hold meetings in Qatar right now because of Qatar’s crisis with the Arab countries, Bashabishi added. Turkey is also not an option, as the Brotherhood wishes to remain out of the spotlight. He noted that Mauritania is a thus good option for the Brotherhood, as it is far from the eyes of the international media and offers a place where high-level members of the Brotherhood can freely move about and discuss how to get the Brotherhood out of its current crisis.
He expected the first thing on their agenda will be the crisis caused by U.S. President Donald Trump when he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Bashabishi said this current issue is perfect for the Brotherhood to cynically leverage for popular support to rejuvenate the organization.
He also predicted the Brotherhood would call on their branches internationally to re-engage in the political life of their countries, reversing the failed strategy of withdrawing from politics implemented in Egypt after Morsi’s fall from power.
The effect of that policy, which has kept the Brotherhood out of the public eye, has only been to create political distance between “the street” and the Brotherhood, thus significantly lessening the organization’s popularity, he said.
Palestinian scholar Ibrahim A-Dahoun remarked that re-engaging in politics is a way of repositioning Brotherhood organizations in individual countries. The decrease of popularity of the Brotherhood is a function of the fact that the public views the organization as concerned only for itself. This strategy will make it seem as if its focus is on national identity.
A-Dahoun also said that even though the Brotherhood (under world pressure) erased the paragraph in their manifesto stating that Hamas was the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, it doesn’t mean that Hamas is not a part of the Brotherhood anymore. Rather, he said, it still maintains its “Muslim Brotherhood identity.”
The only difference is that Hamas is no longer taking orders from the international Brotherhood organization on the Jerusalem issue.
Khalid a-Zafarani, another former Brotherhood member who spoke to Albawabh News, said the fact the meeting was ostensibly called to discuss the Palestinian issue is a farce. He maintained that it is actually a meeting of the international Brotherhood organization to put together recommendations as to how to rescue the Brotherhood from its current crisis.
Samech Eid, another former Brotherhood member, said this international meeting was ordered by the Egyptian Brotherhood (considered the leader of the international organization) because they needed a place to meet away from Western eyes. He said it is obvious the organization is coordinating its efforts in its branches in different countries as to how to use the Jerusalem issue to further the goals of the organization.
He also predicted that in the near future, the Brotherhood will build its presence in North Africa far from the eyes of the world, taking advantage of the poverty and unemployment there to build support. They will further use their “humanitarian” work in these African countries to improve their image on the international scene.