Thursday, April 25, 2013

FT: 'Muslim Brotherhood plans return to Syria' treated with suspicion!'

"... Speaking at the Brotherhood’s offices in Istanbul, a Syrian revolution flag wrapped around his neck, Mr Shaqfa denounced what he said was a campaign against the group backed by “outside” forces. He countered widespread accusations that his organisation, which has existed only in exile since a bloody 1980s crackdown by Mr Assad’s father Hafez, has been trying to control the fractious Syrian opposition....“Those who attack us have no influence on the ground – they are media personalities and are trying through their attacks to create influence for themselves,” he said.
The Brotherhood is not thought to have significant support on the ground, where membership in the organisation has been a capital offence under the Assad regime.
It is difficult to gauge the extent to which it will be able to reassert itself, especially at a time when armed groups and not political parties hold sway. Many of the rebel groups are puritanical Salafis, espousing a stricter interpretation of Islam than the Brotherhood.
Perhaps in an attempt to pave the way for a more official political comeback, the Brotherhood now has armed rebels affiliated with it. Dozens of small brigades calling themselves shields of the revolution emerged over the past year and are supported by the organisation....
Although the Brotherhood is believed to be backed by Qatar and Turkey, Mr Shaqfa insisted that all the help it has given on the ground, including the humanitarian support it has provided, comes from exiled members, many of them working in the Gulf..."

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