Writer and analyst John Rosenthal has published a useful summary of the cooperation between the Obama Administration and the Syrian opposition focusing on the role of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:
While the Obama administration’s burgeoning contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt continue to cause controversy, the administration’s policy of growing cooperation with the Syrian opposition continues to enjoy almost unanimous support. This is remarkable, since by virtue of that policy the administration is openly allied with none other than the Muslim Brotherhood: that is, openly, but with perhaps just enough misdirection for the alliance to escape the notice of the broader public. The Syrian opposition organization that the United States and other Western powers have been officially supporting is, of course, the Syrian National Council (SNC). At a meeting in Istanbul on April 1, the so-called Friends of Syria, including the United States, recognized the SNC as ‘a legitimate representative of all Syrians.’ Although the use of the indefinite article suggests there were reservations on the part of some participants, U.S. State Department statements both before and after the Istanbul meeting leave no doubt that the Obama administration treats the SNC as its principal Syrian interlocutor. The SNC is also the presumptive recipient or at least conduit of the aid that the Obama administration has pledged to the Syrian opposition. While in Istanbul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with representatives of the SNC, and she afterwards promised that ‘there will be more assistance of all kinds for the Syrian National Council.’ Advertisement But who is the Syrian National Council? Although the chairman and most recognizable face of the council is the secular Paris-based political scientist Burhan Ghalioun, it is openly acknowledged that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is a major force within the council. In fact, there is strong evidence that it is the major force. When several members of the council resigned in mid-March, they cited the overwhelming influence of the Brotherhood as a reason for their decision. ‘The Brotherhood took the whole council,’ departing council member Walid al-Bunni told the New York Times. ‘We became like extras.’”
Read the rest here.
Unfortunately, the article neglects the role of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood in the SNC. Previous posts have noted that the SNC includes at least two known members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood- Louay Safi, a leader in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Najib Ghadbian, a board member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). Also neglected is the relationship between the SNC and Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi.
In 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported on moves by the U.S. Government to reach closer relations with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
For a comprehensive account of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 2006, go here.
For a comprehensive account of Islamist activities in Syria in 2006, go here.