Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to Elect New Supreme Leader

The Brotherhood participated effectively in the uprising against the regime, but observers question its real objectives

The Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria has begun meetings to choose the Supreme Guide and the new leadership for the next four years.

 

No information has been leaked about the content of the meetings yet, and the Brotherhood is expected to announce the name of the Supreme Guide and the new leaders after they conclude.

 

The Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria elected Mohammad Riad Shaqfeh in 2010 a Supreme Guide, succeeding Ali Sadreddin al-Bayanouni, who announced his retirement at the end of his third term. During the same elections, Farouk Tayfur was elected Sahqfeh's deputy; both led military actions against the regime in the early 80s.

 

One year ago, the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria announced the formation of a political party. The decision prompted a range of reactions; some observers supported the move, while others were dismissive and skeptical towards the intentions of the Brotherhood, especially since the group was last associated with the bloody armed conflict in Syria in 1982 which led to the death of tens of thousands of Syrians.

 

The Brotherhood, which is considered the engine of the Syrian National Council and the Syrian National Coalition, declared that its party will not be an Islamic party, nor a platform for the Brotherhood, but a democratic party that believes in a transition of power.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria has been banned since the Baath Party came to power in 1964,as the Syrian regime considered it to be the main threat to its existence and continuity. This fear theory became obvious when the former Syrian President, Hafez al-Assad, issued the decree No. (49) which legalized the execution of all those who belong to this group, prompting the military wing of the Brotherhood, which was known as the Fighting Vanguard, to confront the regime militarily in 1982 in the city of Hama. The extremists in the group called on people to declare jihad against the "infidel" regime, while the regime reacted by shelling the city in a scenario similar to the current one but smaller. Nearly 25.000 people from the city were killed in the clashes.

 

The activities of the Brotherhood have since stopped inside Syria and its leaders continued their work abroad, calling for the establishment of an Islamic state.

 

In 1985, the Brotherhood decided to abandon the armed struggle, and entered into failed negotiations with the regime, hoping to lift the state of emergency and to suspend the constitution, promote freedom and conduct free elections. In 2004, the Brotherhood radically changed its traditional policy, and developed a sophisticated political, economic and social vision, rejecting ethnic and religious discrimination and calling for national unity, equality and citizenship. The Brotherhood confirmed its commitment to multilateralism, the handover of power, the creation of a civil state and the ballot box. The Brotherhood's new concept of the state is not much different from the concept of the modern state which secularists of the Syrian opposition want.

 

The group participated effectively in the uprising against the regime, but questions remain about the nature of this participation, with some observers questioning its real objectives, and accusing it of storing weapons for the period after the fall of the regime, not to fight it.

 

Translatd and edited by The Syrian Observer

 

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