By creating an Egyptian counterpart to the Free Syrian Army, the Muslim Brotherhood is implying that it can split the military’s ranks and wage a civil war to reinstall Morsi as President. The statement did not explicitly mention violence, but the implication is clear.
This huge development comes after the Egyptian government ordered the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Badie, and began a criminal investigation into Morsi. The government also froze the assets of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders and supporters, again including Morsi.
On Sunday, the Brotherhood declared that it opposes any political role for the military “now or in the future,” probably eliminating any chances for a compromise. At the same time, the Brotherhood continues to emphasize that its protestors are “unarmed.”
The Brotherhood leadership’s aggressiveness has sparked the creation of a small new splinter group called “Brotherhood Without Violence” by about 500 youth members of the group. It uses the traditional Brotherhood logo, but changes the swords surrounding the Koran to olive branches and a dove with the national flag on its wing. The group wants Badie and the Guidance Bureau to be replaced.
If the Muslim Brotherhood does indeed form a formidable “Free Egyptian Army,” it can attract jihadists through its worldwide networks. Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri says “the Islamic Nation should offer victims and sacrifices to achieve what it wants and restore power from the corrupt authority governing Egypt.”
The Free Egyptian Army may also get political support from Qatar and Turkey, whose Prime Minister still considers Morsi to be the Egyptian President.
The Brotherhood may lose further popular support, but their ranks will be joined by Islamists that preferred non-violent participation in democracies as a legitimate method of implementing Sharia.
The “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood has only begun to fight.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.