Technorati Profile

Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Withdraws from the Opposition National Salvation Front

April 5, 2009

Yesterday, news broke that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood withdrew from the National Salvation Front, a London based amalgamation of Syria opposition groups headed by former Vice President Abd al-Halim Khadam.  Asharq al-Awsat reports here and al-Jazeera covers it here.  Below is an excerpt from the Asharq al-Awsat story:

أعلن الإخوان المسلمون في سوريا انسحابهم من «جبهة الخلاص الوطني» المعارضة التي كانت من أبرز مكوناتها إلى جانب نائب الرئيس السوري السابق عبد الحليم خدام، رداً على ما وصفته بـ«حملة الافتراءات والاتهامات» التي تشنها أطراف في الجبهة عليهم بعد إعلانهم تعليق أنشطتهم المعارضة، في حين رد خدام قائلا في حديث لـ«الشرق الأوسط» إن الإخوان كانوا يشكلون «ثقلا» على الجبهة، وإنهم يجرون حاليا حوارا مع النظام السوري عبر لجنة أمنية شكلت خصيصا لهذا الأمر.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood announced their withdrawal from the opposition National Salvation Front, in which alongside former Syrian Vice President Abd al-Halim Khadam it was one of the most prominent elements, in response to what it described as a campaign of fabrications and accusations that factions in the Front attacked them with after their [the Brotherhood's] annoucement suspending opposition activities.  Meanwhile Khadam responded to Asharq al-Awsat that the Brotherhood had formed a “weight” on the Front and that they were undertaking dialogue with the Syrian regime through a security committee created for this purpose.

Needless to say the weak Syrian opposition will only be hurt by this fissure.  My knowledge of the current popularity of the Brotherhood is limited, but unlike the other opposition groups and leaders, excepting Khadam, they at least have name recognition throughout Syria.  Moreover,  they also have greater credibility amongst Syria’s Sunni majority than Khadam. 

Earlier this year the Brotherhood suspended its opposition activities in what looks like a sort of thaw between itself and the regime.  According to Ali Sadr ad-Din al-Bayanouni, the leader in exile of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the Brotherhood wants to focus its “efforts” and “thinking” on Gaza and the resistance, though he alleges that the organization’s opposition to the Syrian regime continues.  For his part, Khadam alleges that negotiations between the Brotherhood and high level Syrian security officials are ongoing though he is not optimistic they will work to the Brotherhood’s advantage. 

Co-opting the Muslim Brotherhood would be quite a coup for the Syrian regime.  They are still regarded as the foremost of the opposition groups, so if al-Assad manages to neutralize the organization it would be a significant show of strength.  Long term, as al-Assad continues to marginalize the Ba’th party and allows additional state controlled party politics under the guise of “democracy”, the Muslim Brotherhood could be a useful pawn, if properly tamed.

Bookmark and Share

{ 2 trackbacks }

Topics about Politics » Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Withdraws from the Opposition National Salvation Front
04.06.09 at 03:46
More on the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Withdrawal from National Salvation Front
04.06.09 at 19:36

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>