US media is reporting that on a visit to Turkey, leaders of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has said there is no need for Western military intervention in their country. According to a Wall Street Journal report:
ISTANBUL—Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood said Friday that they support Western military intervention in Libya, but see no need for similar action in their own country. Libyan President Moammar “Gadhafi was killing his own people. There was no other option” than to impose a no-fly zone and act to protect civilians, the movement’s political chief, Mohamed Tayfur, said in an interview. In Syria, by contrast, “this is an internal problem. We believe it can be solved as brothers and that it would be easy to solve this problem internally,” Mr. Tayfur said. Mr. Tayfur and the movement’s general secretary, Riad Al-Shaqfa, were just the latest Arab Islamist leaders to make the trek to Turkey since uprisings began to roil the region earlier this year. Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda Islamist movement, visited earlier this month. “We don’t consider the Iranian model at all. For us, and for other Arab countries, Turkey is the model. We want transparent elections, just as you have here, in which people can choose whomever they want. Turkish model is the most suitable,” Mr. Tayfur said at a news conference earlier Friday. Mr. Al-Shaqfa said the two men had come to meet with Turkish nongovernment organizations and to get their message out to the media. He said they wouldn’t be meeting any Turkish government officials during their visit. The two men said repeatedly that they didn’t believe Syrian President Bashir Assad would carry through with promised reforms and predicted that protests would continue. Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed since the secular Baathist Party seized power in 1962, and membership has been a capital offense since 1980. Mr. Tayfur said he and Mr. Al-Shaqfa were based mainly in Yemen. Analysts say the group’s current strength within Syria is hard to gauge. It led an armed insurgency within Syria until 1982, when it seized control of the town of Hama. Thousands died in the government military assault that followed. Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood since ended calls for armed attacks on the regimes. President Assad comes from Syria’s minority Alawite sect, a Shia branch of Islam, while about three quarters of Syria’s population of 22 million are Sunni Muslims. Syria’s government is “showing [the uprising]as if it was a sectarian conflict,” but it isn’t, Mr. Tayfur said at the news conference.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) has recently published an almost hundred page report titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” which provides extensive background on the years leading up to the flotilla. The JCPA report abstract states:
The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.
Previous posts have discussed a visit to a Turkish celebration by the head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and a large group of important Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders who attended the recent funeral of Turkish Islamist Necmettin Erbakan.
In 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported on moves by the U.S. Government to reach closer relations with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Closer relations between the Syrian Brotherhood and the Syrian regime would seem to work against U.S. hopes to use the Brotherhood as a means top pressure that regime.
For a comprehensive account of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, go here.
For a comprehensive account of Islamist activities in Syria, go here.