Egyptian media is reporting on the formation of a Egyptian opposition group based in Turkey. According to an Al-Ahram online report, the spokeswoman for the Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC) claims that “Muslim Brothers comprise less than 20 per cent“ of the group’s members:
August 14, 2014 Only days before the one-year anniversary of the break-up of the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins, a new opposition group has announced its formation from its base in Turkey.
The Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC) held its first press conference on Friday in Istanbul. The group claims it is ‘resisting the 3 July military coup’ and battling for the ‘bread, freedom, social justice and dignity’ that was the rallying cry of the 25 January Revolution.
Speaking in the Turkish capital, the ERC said it is ‘an entity for Egyptian forces and individuals abroad … who maintain the principles of the 25 January Revolution, are faithful to constitutional legitimacy, seek a civil state and oppose all forms of corruption, tyranny and the military coup and its consequences.’
The ERC listed its goals as ‘uniting all revolutionary forces and youth, mobilising international support, realising the 25 January Revolution’s aims, dismantling corrupt institutions and establishing equal citizenship, justice, freedom and human dignity.’
The group called on foreign states to support the council against Egypt’s ‘military-backed government.’
The ERC appeared on the scene a week ahead of the first anniversary of the dispersal of Islamist protest camps in Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares. Its avowed aims are almost identical to those of the National Coalition to Support Legitimacy (NCSL), the group of Brotherhood sympathisers that has been leading calls for Morsi to be reinstated as president.
‘The ERC is not a replacement for the NCSL,’ ERC spokesperson Maha Azzam told Qatari-based Al-Jazeera Mubasher. The NCSL operates in Egypt, while the ERC will address the international community. According to Azzam, Muslim Brothers comprise less than 20 per cent of the ERC’s members.
She said the group may take the lead in trying to refer members of the current regime to the International Criminal Court.
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The GMBDW doubts, given the background of the ERC spokeswoman, that her definition of who or who is not tied to the Muslim Brotherhood can be trusted.
ERC spokeswoman Maha Azzam, an associate fellow at the UK Chatham House, was part of a June 2006 panel event sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and titled “Engagement or Quarantine: How to Deal with the Islamist Advance.” The description of Ms. Azzam’s presentation says that she argued “as Islamism becomes more entrenched, it brings with it stronger barriers against violence.” Also participating in the Carnegie event were:
- Radwan Masmoudi, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, a group close to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the US State Department that has long argued for bringing Islamists to power.
- Najib Ghadbian, University of Arkansas, known to be an advocate for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
- Mark Perry, Conflicts Forum, a group whose advisory board includes Azzam Tamimi, a UK Muslim Brotherhood leader and Hamas spokesman, and Ismail Patel, head of the UK pro-Hamas Friends of Al-Aqsa,