Muslim Brotherhood facing crisis across the Middle East

The Muslim Brotherhood is facing a crisis across the Middle East after the group’s Moroccan affiliate suffered defeat at the ballot box, compounding setbacks in Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.

Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (PJD) was swept from government at federal elections last week, losing 113 of the 125 seats it won in the national assembly at the 2016 elections.

The PJD’s fall follows that of its Tunisian counterparts Ennahda, which lost much of its power after the country’s president suspended parliament in July, and the 2013 military coup against Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government.

Meanwhile, The National reported on Thursday that Turkey is considering to extradite at least 20 fugitives to Egypt as the two countries make progress in talks to repair relations.

According to the same report, "Egyptian security sources told The National that Turkey had agreed in principle to extradite nearly two dozen people suspected of roles in terrorist attacks, including the 2015 assassination of the country’s chief prosecutor."

The report claims:

sources said Cairo, in return, was willing to consider curtailing some activities by US-based exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016."

These may include his Cairo-based Turkish language TV station, publishing house and a private Arabic-learning centre for Turkish students, they said.

DW also added that the key international ally Turkey is reevaluating its sympathetic stance towards the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of shifting regional dynamics.

Turkey has sought to reset ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of the Muslim Brotherhood’s fiercest critics, as Ankara seeks to end its isolation in the Middle East and bolster an ailing economy.

"It appears (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's) first choice was to sacrifice the Muslim Brotherhood to pursue appeasement with Cairo and Riyadh,” DW cited journalist Maged Atef as saying in analysis for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Turkish authorities recently launched a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated media organisations operating in the country, restricting political content including criticisms of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

However, Gillian Kennedy, a lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Southampton, told DW that it would be “almost impossible” to destroy the group’s networks entirely.   

"It's a strong ideology with deep cultural roots across the region,” she said.

Other experts similarly insisted it was premature to predict the Muslim Brotherhood’s demise, with the group having overcome similar crises in the past.

"Islamists have a tremendous ability to reinvent and re-energise themselves,” Mohamed Daadaoui, a political science professor at Oklahoma City University, told DW. “They may be in a moment of weakness right now - especially in Morocco, vis-a-vis the state - but they are not gone. And they are tremendously resilient."  

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