Syria's Muslim Brotherhood Rises from the Ashes

(Reuters-Daily Star-Lebanon) Khaled Yacoub Oweis - At the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar Assad, there is little dispute about who calls the shots. From annihilation 30 years ago when they challenged the iron-fisted rule of Hafez Assad, the Muslim Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the revolt against his son Bashar. The Syrian Brotherhood is a branch of the Sunni Muslim movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s. It portrays itself as espousing a moderate, Turkish-style Islamist agenda and unveiled a manifesto last month that did not mention the word Islam. With backing from Ankara, and following the political ascendancy of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the group is poised to be at the top of any new governing system in Syria. Extending the loose Brotherhood umbrella to Syria will raise pressure on the U.S.-backed Hashemite monarchy in Jordan, where the local Brotherhood has been sidelined. The Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say. Fawaz al-Tello, a veteran opposition figure and former political prisoner who fled Syria four months ago, said the Brotherhood has "gained control of the SNC's aid division and the military bureau, its only important components." Brotherhood leader Mulhem Droubi said the Brotherhood began supporting armed resistance in earnest a month ago. He said there is no dispute now about the need for armed resistance, alongside street protests against Assad.

2012-05-07 00:00:00

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