April 11, 2024
Sisi’s Egypt Strikes Balance Over Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan Relations
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Sisi’s Egypt Strikes Balance Over Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan Relations

by John Rossomando

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s government has not shifted its
antipathy toward the Muslim Brotherhood despite its realpolitik outreach to
the Sudanese dictatorship of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The Egyptian leadership is making an strategic mistake by supporting the
Muslim brotherhood wing in Sudan. This fanatic sect is an international
organization which is designated as a terrorist group in many Arab and
Western Countries and one of the MB’s major targets gaining the power again
in Egypt

“al-Burhan needs Egypt for survival against the militias of the Rapid Support
Forces. The latter sneak attack against Egyptian air forces in Sudan and then
releasing didn’t improve their stance with Egypt which views them as agents
of chaos,” Egyptian journalist Hany Ghoraba said. “There are millions of
Sudanese refugees already in Egypt and the current turbulent situation in
Sudan only helps increasing their numbers and troubles in the southern
border. Egypt’s border with Libya and Gaza are already hotspots and hence
stabilizing Sudan is high on Egypt’s priorities. Al- Burhan and the Sudanese
army remain the only safe bet for Egypt now.”

Ghoraba notes that Egypt’s steady hand keeps al-Burhan’s government that
has been embroiled in a battle with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), since the
civil war broke out last year.

Adel Ibrahim, observer general of Sudan’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood,
told the Middle East Monitor last year he would stand with al-Burhan because
“Sudan and its people will pay the price of this war from the blood, security
and safety of its people, as well as from the sovereignty, unity and collapsed
economy.”

Ibrahim continued, “This war imposed on the armed forces was planned slyly
with malice and cunning from external and regional parties and internal
agents to tear apart the country’s unity, dismantle its army, and turn Sudan
into a failed state. We have always warned of these external interferences that
do not want good for Sudan.”

For al-Burhan’s part, he has denied supporting the Brotherhood or any other
Islamist group.

Al-Burhan’s cultivation of close ties with Iran has also raised eyebrows. His
forces have imported Iranian Mojaher 6 suicide drones that have been
deployed against RSF forces. Sudan severed ties with Iran in 2016 due to
concerns it was promulgating Shiism in order to gain a political foothold in the
country but restored those ties last fall. The renewed ties with Iran has raised
concern that Iran could turn Sudan into a client state.

Things are not getting any better for the Muslim Brotherhood inside Egypt.
An Egyptian judge handed down death sentences against Egypt’s top Muslim
Brotherhood leadership including former Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie,
Freedom and Justice Party Mohamed El Beltagy; Osama Yassin, a minister
under President Mohamed Morsi; pro-Morsi preacher Safwat Hegazy,; the
former Member of Parliament Amr Zaki; and bureau members Essam Abdel
Majed and Muhamad Abdel Maqsoud on Monday. Such executions serve to
dilute the quality of the Brotherhood’s leadership to ensure it never
challenges al- Sisi’s power again.

They were charged in connection to the July 2013 Muslim Brotherhood
uprising in Rabaa al-Adiwya Square. Hundreds died in clashes between the
military and armed Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The Brotherhood’s
supporters also torched countless Coptic Churches. The Brotherhood has
become significantly weakened and does not pose the same threat it did even
five years ago due to the winnowing of the group’s leadership.

Hostility toward the Brotherhood at home continues even though al-Sisi and
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have worked to bury the hatchet in
recent months. Erdogan’s Turkey carried out intelligence operations in Egypt
in support of Brotherhood- linked terrorist groups following Morsi’s fall in
July 2013. It also became host to exiled Brotherhood leaders and propaganda
outlets that promoted hostility to Sisi’s government. Erdogan also called Sisi a
“killer” and a “dictator.”

Egypt also considers the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian affiliate Hamas a
terrorist organization, which partly explains its unwillingness to open the
Rafah gate to allow Gazan refugees to escape Israel’s bombardment. It worries
that Hamas could revitalize the Muslim Brotherhood’s subversive activities.
Hamas trained Brotherhood-linked terrorists who carried out a terror
campaign in Egypt after Morsi’s ouster. The Brotherhood carried out attacks
under various monickers including: The Revolutionary Punishment
Movement and Hassm,Egyptian Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfik claimed in January that his
government had thwarted the Brotherhood’s alleged efforts to create 129
terrorist cells.

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