A formerly classified document by the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) unsealed new secrets about the Muslim Brotherhood's
radical schemes, showing the group's plots to recruit its followers through
penetrating into educational systems, syndicates and student unions.
The CIA prepared "Building Bases of Support" document in 1986, warning against the growing influence of Islamic extremists, whose number was estimated by the CIA at 30,000 from around 24 fanatic groups of different ideological backgrounds. Most of these elements were involved in perpetrating acts of terror.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the most important fundamentalist Islamic organization in the Arab World. It is the largest opposition group in Egypt and has challenged the ruling regimes of Syria and Sudan.
It also plays an important role in the internal politics of Jordan and has members in a number of other Arab states. The popularity of the Brotherhood, which seeks a return to Islamic values and adherence to Islamic law, has increased as the latest Islamic resurgence has gained strength.
Despite occasional journalistic claims that a monolithic Muslim Brotherhood exists under the leadership of a shadowy Supreme Guide, we believe that Brotherhood organizations in the various Arab states are distinct groups that formulate their own policies.
There is evidence of cooperation on some issues and the giving of mutual aid when necessary.
In Recent years, Brotherhood leaders in Egypt and Sudan have adopted an increasingly moderate stance toward the governments of those countries.
The Brotherhood in Egypt has reacted positively to conciliatory overturns from president Mubarak, while the organization in Sudan has been effectively co-opted by the Nimeiri regime.
The organization operates in Jordan and most other Arab states with tacit permission of the government.
The Brotherhood, nevertheless, retains the potential to become a seriously destabilizing force in the region.
The individual organizations could adopt confrontational postures if the host governments implement or persist in policies that bring to power younger, more aggressive members of the organization also could lead to a more militant stance toward these governments.
Brotherhood has been successful in building a fundamentalist network through
the recruitment of educators, students, journalists, other professionals and
businessmen,” said the document, adding that “increased factionalism is the
Brotherhood’s most serious potential problem”.
The document underlined the key influential role played by scholar Yousuf Al Qaradawi in directing the illicit group’s tactics, warning against his future schemes and subversive machinations. The Egyptian Al Qaradawi now resides in Qatar.
growing economic problems will heighten the appeal of the Brotherhood's vision
of a just Islamic society. Declining revenues from oil, tourism and remittances
are depressing the already low standard of living.
Returning overseas workers are swelling the ranks of educated Egyptians becoming frustrated by the lack of employment opportunities.
Despite cooperation with the government, the stand of the Brotherhood against the Camp David accords, the Agency for International Development and Western culture penetration of Egypt makes it a potential anti-growing religious conservation, will tend to make Egypt less sympathetic to US goals in the Middle East.
Brotherhood, however, is likely to strengthen Islamic extremists who are even
less accommodating to the United States.