Who runs the Brotherhood?

The answer to the question of “who runs the Brotherhood?” is not easily attained after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsy in July, the closure of all the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood and the burning of its headquarters in Mokattam.
We tried to search for an answer using information about coordination within the Brotherhood abroad, especially regarding members of the Guidance Bureau who fled Egypt so that they could manage their affairs from afar.
We also looked at the role imprisoned Brotherhood leaders play from behind bars, such as Khairat al-Shater, the deputy guide, and Mohamed Badie, the supreme guide. They refused any dialogue with the government until they secured the release of all prisoners in the group’s third and fourth ranks.
Our report answers several questions about Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein's trip to Umrah, Gomaa Amin simultaneous trip to London, the disappearance of Mahmoud Ezzat and Mahmoud Ghazlan and the roles of Mohamed Ali Bishr and Amr Derag in leading the organization on the ground.
The question arises of who leads the organization? Is it the young, the students or the fugitive leaders?
All of these questions were directed at Yasser Hamza, member of the Legal Committee of the Freedom and Justice Party. The most important question in our interview with him was: who leads the Brotherhood?
Q. What do you make of the current political scene?
A. Turbulent due to Beblawy’s poor performance. His government has not achieved anything promised, neither freedom nor social justice. Student riots and thuggery have been prevailing since the ouster of  President Mohamed Morsy on 3 July. 
This makes Beblawy’s government a dormant Brotherhood cell. The political scene today is not only dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Other political currents have joined together to face the wrong decisions the current government made that did not achieve the ambitions of the people. As a result, demonstrations have broken out in the streets and universities.
Q. Do you not attribute [Beblawy's government's poor performance] to the turbulence?
A. The current government depends on the interior and defense ministries. In other words, it chose a security solution against expression of opinion. It has also misused power by issuing the protest law despite the fact that protests have been peaceful.
Obtaining permission from the Interior Ministry to organize a demonstration was something seen at the time of the British occupation in 1914. You cannot issue such a law after the climate of freedom that was made ​​possible by the 25 January revolution.
Q. Did the Brotherhood resort to using university students because it has failed?
A. First, there were more demonstrations under Morsy in 2012. Independent students swept all elections. Students were united, such as the students of Strong Egypt, 6 April and others. How are they now?
Second, students have always been at the forefront of demonstrations since the British occupation. If the Brotherhood students dominate the scene, this does not mean they are strong. It means the other forces are weak. Political parties live within the confines of the military establishment and only seek their personal interests.
Q. Universities have turned into battlefields because of the Brotherhood. What do you say to that?
A. This is because the administrations do not hold political dialogue with the students. Demonstrations broke out in universities because of the government laws and security measures. The government is creating hostile groups other than the Brotherhood. Look at the Doctors Syndicate.  
Q. How can we get out of this crisis?
A. With dialogue between all forces. Dialogue does not mean that the government is weak. Political forces had criticized Morsy for not holding dialogue although he had invited them several times and they refused to attend. The current government ignores the opposition.
Q. Who stirs the students into action?
A. The first, second and third rank leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who are in prison. Also, their state of discontent and the support of other streams. It is not the international organization of the Brotherhood as the government claims. 
Secrets of the Brotherhood Leadership
Badie, Shater, Bishr and Derag were the four remaining leaders of the Brotherhood who managed its functions and communicated with political forces abroad and representatives of international bodies. They monopolized decisions within the group as well as the broader international organization.
The supreme guide and his deputy managed affairs from behind bars, sending instructions through visiting families and Brotherhood members to the crowds demonstrating in the streets so as to put pressure on the regime.
Meanwhile, Bishr and Derag managed affairs from outside prison. They are known for their rationality and wisdom, which qualifies them for negotiations with the current government.
Bishr has the upper hand in the Alliance to Support Legitimacy. He was dismissed from the Guidance Bureau by the “hawks” of the Brotherhood in January 2013 when he was nominated to be minister of local development. He was replaced by Mohamed Saad Elewa.
In fact, Bishr never truly belonged to the “inner circle” that dominated decisions within the Guidance Bureau. Hisham Qandil made him minister to cut his relations with the bureau and leave the floor to Shater.
As for Amr Derag, he was a member of the Brotherhood’s Political Committee from 2002 to 2006. In the wake of the revolution, he was a founding member of the Freedom and Justice Party and was later elected for the party’s executive committee. He was then appointed secretary general in Giza. He was an ardent follower of Khairat al-Shater and many Brotherhood members believed he would be his successor.
In 2012, he was elected secretary general of the Constituent Assembly and was also elected to be a member of the Executive Office of the Freedom and Justice Party after Morsy became president. In 2013, he was appointed as minister of planning and international cooperation in Hisham Qandil’s government.
The four never stopped communicating. Bishr asked Shater’s daughter to tell her father that he needed more power, which Shater did not mind if it would get him out of prison and negotiate with the regime. But the regime refused to negotiate with him.
Bishr and Derag continue to contact circles abroad, but they have no control over demonstrations in the streets.
Bishr met with Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh after the disbandment of the Muslim Brotherhood to ask him to incorporate the group’s youth in his Strong Egypt Party which Aboul Fotouh agreed to.
Those four have the ability to break through the current impasse and end the state of political tension that has been crippling the country since the announcement of the roadmap on 3 July. 
The role of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad in leading the organization and the the visits of Amin and Hussein to London and Doha
The role of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad became clear when Gomaa Amin and Mahmoud Hussein, members of the Guidance Bureau, traveled to London and Doha before the ouster of Mohamed Morsy. They had to lead the organization through the so-called National Alliance to Support Legitimacy.
What was their role? Was the travel prearranged? Where did the other members of the bureau go?
We will attempt to answer all these questions in the following report:
Mahmoud Hussein, secretary of the organization, went to perform Umrah on 22 June 2011 and stayed with his daughter in Jeddah. Fearing he would be arrested, the group asked him to head to Qatar when he finished and not to Egypt.
The group asked him to leave because it felt that Saudi Arabia was not safe and that the authorities there might hand him over to Egypt, especially since Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to praise Morsy’s ouster.
Apparently, Hussein was not going for the Umrah but was fleeing Egypt, as the group felt Morsy was going to be deposed.
Hussein was responsible for coordination within the group in Egypt and abroad, which is why the group did not want him arrested. They did not want to lose communication among its various branches, especially after popular forces took to the streets to protest against the Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, security services did not know where Ghazlan and Ezzat were. This confirms that Hussein did not go for the Umrah. Add to this that he issued a statement to international embassies in Qatar, saying that what happened in Egypt was not a revolution but a military coup.
Hussein is the guardian of the organization against external threats, such as pressure for reconciliation or apology.
Perhaps his sharp response to Sultan, who issued an apology for the Brotherhood's impact on politics, that Sultan was speaking for himself was evidence of Hussein’s leadership of the group from Doha, a role he was focusing on.
Gomaa Amin went to London for treatment of a chronic disease in his bones two day before Morsy was deposed. This also proves that the group was anticipating problems and did not want the whole ship to sink.
Amin managed Brotherhood affairs from London in coordination with the secretary of the international organization, Ibrahim Mounir. They focused on opening a media office to replace the Egypt 25 and the Al-Jazeera channels that the authorities had closed in Egypt.
The key player of that office was Abdallah al-Haddad, the brother of Jihad al-Haddad. His role was to improve the image of the group and show that it was the victim of a military coup.
The same role was played abroad by Yehia Hamid, Morsy’s investment minister. He went to Turkey, while Gamal Heshmat and Ashraf Badr Eddin went to Doha. Perhaps Heshmat decided to retire from politics when his house was burnt in Beheira.
Another key player abroad is Ibrahim al-Zayat, the secretary general of Islamic organizations in Germany. His role abroad was also to convince the world that what happened was a military coup and persuade the world to take a stance against the regime.
The leaders of the group frequently traveled to Turkey and Qatar without security services stopping them.
Three thousand students flew to Turkey and Qatar to relay assignments from leaders abroad to the second and third ranks of the organization in Cairo. They also used “What’s App” and “Viber” during their mission.
From indulgence to reclusion: The headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood from downtown to Mokattam
The environment shapes human qualities and traits. So do places. They have signs that one can decipher. Tracing the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt may reveal unknown aspects about the controversial group, not only in Egypt, but in the Arab world and Islamic countries as well.
The group was born in the quiet city of Ismailia in the east. Its founder, Hassan al-Banna, then moved to Cairo to look for a headquarters there. He frequently moved the headquarters from place to place, yet the common characteristic of all the locations was that the headquarters was always a small apartment in crowded, heavily populated places, consistent with the ascetic and eschatological character of the group.
Perhaps the most famous of those premises was the downtown flat in Tawfikia Square, which was confiscated and then returned to the group by judicial order after the 25 January revolution to become their website office, Ikhwan Online.
In 1943, the headquarters moved to New Helmeya. It was more luxurious. It was a two-story building next to the Khedivial high school. It had an office for the supreme guide, offices for the secretaries, a guest room and a special office dedicated to being as a liaison with the Islamic world.
It was also close to Banna’s residence. He delivered his weekly sermon “The Tuesday Lesson” after the evening prayers outside the headquarters, as there was not enough space to accommodate all his followers.
Banna bought the place with Brotherhood members' donations, which he collected in just one day. It served as headquarters for nine years before it was burned after the assassination attempt on President Nasser in Mansheya in 1954. 
The police were allegedly responsible for burning it and turning it into the al-Darb al-Ahmar police station.
In 2011, Saif al-Islam al-Banna presented his father’s deed for the premises and tried to obtain a court order to vacate it, similar to the headquarters of Tawfikia.
After the Brotherhood members were released from prison under President Sadat, they were allowed to preach again. With this, Sadat was attempting to counter the Nasserist socialist forces that were pervasive in society at the time. 
The group again established headquarters in several places, the most famous of which was a flat in Gisr al-Suez east of Cairo.
In 1994, and under former President Hosni Mubarak, the headquarters moved to two flats in Manial al-​Roda, Old Cairo. It is an area close to the center of Cairo and areas populated by the marginalized and the poor, such as Abul Saud, Ain al-Sira, the Citadel, Al-Basateen and Dar al-Salam.
This helped the group penetrate the lower classes and continue their preaching and political activities.
Manial has for many years been a shrine for politicians seeking the support of the Brotherhood in elections. Ayman Nour went there and met with former Supreme Guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef to seek his support in the presidential elections of 2005.
The headquarters of Mokattam were opened a few months after the 25 January 2011 revolution. For the first time, the group chose its premises that was not in a crowded area. In other words, the Brotherhood shifted from the noisy, poverty striken neighborhoods of Cairo to reclusion on the outskirts near the elite and the rich. It was no longer a small flat. This time, it was a large, luxurious building in the highest geographical location of Cairo.
Perhaps it was a warning that the Brotherhood is becoming an elitist group and an authoritarian political entity, having worked for decades at the bottom of society.
From the nadir to the zenith, the group has in one year destroyed the image it has been cultivating for 80 years with its political inaptitude and failure to build bridges of trust with the community.  
After 30 June, the Mokattam headquarters were burned in clashes that spilled the blood of Egyptians. Moreover, the court banned the Muslim Brotherhood and all its affiliates and facilities and forbade it from receiving funds or financial support. 
Now, the group has a media office in London. And so, from the heart of Cairo to the outskirts and then abroad, an exciting journey tells the story of the group from Banna to Badie.
University students, the key to the Brotherhood’s battle against the regime
A decentralized decision-making process is an accurate description of what is happening within the Alliance to Support Legitimacy. The Brotherhood has lost control over the young people of the alliance. The group leaders are now engaged in political negotiations with the regime and abroad, leaving the field entirely for the young.
The third generation is the main engine and actor now. Those young people insisted on demonstrating in commemoration of the 6th of October War when the group’s radical leaders forbade them to. This broke the centralized decision-making process of the Brotherhood.
The relationship between the Brotherhood leaders and the third generation is now limited to reporting movement plans and a revision here and there. And the Brotherhood students are no longer the backbone of the demonstrations. Others became active as well, such as the “Students against the Coup” movement.
The third generation of the group was not exposed to a security crackdown like the first and the second generations. It enjoyed a certain degree of freedom in cyberspace through websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The third generation does not intend on spending the rest of its life in prison like the first and the second generations. It is more inclined to revolutionary solutions rather than negotiations. It is victory or death to them.
This was evident in the movements that generation has launched, such as Sabaa al-Sobh, Batel and the Revolutionary Command Council. All these included young people who do not belong to the Brotherhood but sympathize with it. 
They do not believe in democracy or a government in exile. They believe only protests will overthrow the military and bring back legitimacy, not agreements behind closed doors between the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime.
They are working on an internal mutiny within the group because they believe the leaders have wasted the Brotherhood “dream” by excluding them from the decision-making process.

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