Surviving Repression: How Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Has Carried On

Source: Carnegie

Author(s): Barbara Zollner

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Since the military overthrow in July 2013 of Egypt’s then president Mohamed Morsi, the regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has engaged in the systematic repression of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a member. It has done so by implementing policies commonly regarded as effective means of “decapitating” hierarchical organizations, particularly those with a significant capacity to mobilize grassroots support and generate public sympathy.

The Sisi regime took office in June 2014. Like the interim government that was under Sisi’s control following Morsi’s removal, it has adopted two leading approaches in suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood. First, it has targeted lines of command within the Brotherhood to destroy the leadership’s control over the organization. Second, to isolate the Brotherhood, it has constructed a narrative attempting to link it to violent Islamism. However, after nearly five years of such tactics, and despite numerous statements that the Muslim Brotherhood was at its end, the regime has failed to prevail. On the contrary, the Brotherhood has proven to be highly resilient, and there have even been signs of internal renewal, underlining that the regime’s policies may be futile and counterproductive. If this continues, it could eat away at Sisi’s legitimacy and even the stability of his regime.

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