Muslim Brotherhood In Yemen Part Of "Cross-Ideological Inter-Party Coalition"


A newspaper in Yemen has reported on a “cross-ideological inter-party coalition” in that country which includes Socialists, Nasserites and the local Muslim Brotherhood. The report focuses on the the third of such coalition over the last decade known as the Joint Meetings Party (JMP):

This cross-ideological bloc of Islamists, Socialists and Nasserites has altered the orthodox regime-opposition relations not only in Yemen but also in the entire region. The performance of the JMP during the last few years, particularly during the presidential elections of 2006, has led observers of the region to identify it as a strong national bloc that is forging a formidable unified opposition. But what holds Islamists and Leftists together in a conservative tribal country like Yemen? How can such strange bedfellows maintain their bond, despite the Islamist-Socialist history of enmity and the concerted effort of the ruling party to break such a relation? Author Mohamed Qahtan, head of the Political Office of the Islah Party, insightfully answered this question in an earlier interview. “Under the banner of the JMP, we in the opposition have agreed to share together the weight of national concerns, coordinate our moves and subordinate ideological agendas to what we all have in common,” said Qahtan. “In the JMP, we all agree, for instance, that money and absolute authority should not be allowed to sleep together in the same bed without being monitored.”

The Islah Party represents the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen (many such parties in the Gulf States are known as Islah which means “reform”). A 2006 Yemeni election guide describes the origins of the JMP:

The Joint Meeting Parties is a coalition formed in 2002 between the Islamist Islah party, the Yemeni Socialist Party, and three other minor parties (the Nasserist Unionist party, the Al-Haq party, and the Popular Forces Union party) to compete together against the ruling GPC. This unusual coalition between the Islamists and the Socialists has become stronger during the campaign after struggling in the beginning to establish a common program and to define a candidate. It was still uncertain during the campaign if the Islah party was still allied to the Saleh”s GPC, with whom it had collaborated in the 1994 civil war against the Yemeni Socialist Party.

While the author of the Yemeni newspaper article feels that the coalition is a sign of a healthy “increasing flexible pragmatism” in the Yemeni opposition, a news portal operated by the ruling party accuses the Islah part of practicing “political extortion” of the JMP by seeking to control one of the the largest government building in the capital to be used as a party headquarters and to expand its trade activities and investment projects.

Global Muslim Brotherhood organizations often make common cause with far-left political groups and previous posts have detailed the status of such an alliance in the U.K. where the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), a U.K. Brotherhood group, has long been in coalition with antiwar groups. In the U.S, the Brotherhood group known as the Muslim American Society has cooperated for many years with Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, also known as International A.N.S.W.E.R, a U.S. far-left antiwar group.

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