How can we reconcile with those who cannot come to terms with themselves?
This is a question for those who call for reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, when they themselves cannot accommodate their mistakes and unite their visions on how to come to terms with themselves before seeking reconciliation with the Egyptians who rejected them.
Ali Bakr wrote an important review on the escalation and aggravation of the conflict within the Muslim Brotherhood. I convey part of his article. Ali Bakr said:
“The conflict within the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been significantly aggravated recently, especially after the numerous failed mediations to resolve the crisis, on top of which is came the one led by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, historical heavyweight and intellectual figure in the organisation.”
The extreme crisis within the group has raised many questions about the sides of the conflict within the ranks of the group, and the weight of each party. It also raises questions as to their ability to confront each other at this juncture of group’s era, which is unprecedented throughout its long history, especially after the fall of its regime in the 30 June uprising.
Parties of the conflict
The parties involved in the internal conflict within the Brotherhood can be listed as follows:
The first front is the committee formed in February 2014 to manage the Brotherhood’s affairs, headed by Brotherhood figure and member of the Guidance Bureau Mohamed Kamal. The committee was formed to run and manage the group’s affairs, replacing the Guidance Bureau, of which the majority of members were arrested following 30 June 2013. This committee also includes the Brotherhood’s management bureau abroad, which was formed in March 2015 headed by member of the Brotherhood’s Shura Council Ahmed Abdel Rahman.
The second includes a number of members of the Guidance Bureau, notably the deputy supreme guide and the current Acting Supreme Guide Mahmoud Ezzat, Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein, and Secretary-General of the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood Ibrahim Mounier. This front can be considered the “senior front” or the Brotherhood’s generation of elders.
The conflict between the two fronts can be briefed in two major causes. The first reason is how the group’s leadership dealt with the Egyptian state after the 30 June uprising. The older camp believes there is no choice but to adopt peaceful solutions to preserve the history and future of the group and avoid the risk of disintegration and collapse.
On the other hand, the younger front believes it is necessary to adopt violence against the state and that they cannot forgo violent confrontation with the state in order to preserve the group’s existence on the political scene. This choice, in their opinion, reinforces the group’s position and makes it an active player in any future negotiations between the state and the group.
The second reason is the administrative disagreement regarding the decision-making mechanisms within the group.
The tools of conflict between the parties
The danger of the current conflict between the two camps within the Muslim Brotherhood lies in the tools of conflict owned by each side. If these tools were pushed to their logical conclusion, they would push the group to collapse.
These include the following:
The first front—which represents the majority of the younger generation, known as the “revolutionary generation”—is heavily influenced by political variables in the last 10 years in general, and the post-25 January Revolution period in particular. This generation still maintains the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the street, and in turn the vitality of the group. This camp controls most of the administrative offices in the Egyptian governorates. Most of the supporters of this party are young people who have the ability to organise protests and mobilise across the country with ease.
As for the second camp, they possess a number of important tools that can preserve the group: a historical background, finances, and foreign relations.
Moataz Bellah Abdel-Fattah is an Egyptian professor of political science. He previously served as an adviser to the prime minister of Egypt, and professor of political science at both Cairo University and Central Michigan University.