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Egyptian Court Bans Brotherhood Amid Government Decapitation Campaign

Last week the Egyptian government extended an asset freeze [1] against the leadership of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood, including against the assets of the group’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie and his two deputies Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumi. The moves came amid an arrest sweep that Washington Institute fellow Eric Trager described as [2] part of Cairo’s campaign to continue “its decapitation of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The Brotherhood, noted Trager, is particularly vulnerable to decapitation due to its “infamously hierarchical, nationwide chain-of-command,” and moves against the leadership “will further erode the Brotherhood’s ability to mobilize coherently against the military’s July 3 ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.”

And then this week things got worse: [3]

An Egyptian court on Monday banned the Muslim Brotherhood from carrying out any activities in the country and ordered the seizure of the group’s funds, widening a campaign to debilitate the Islamist movement of deposed President Mohamed Mursi. “The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it,” said the presiding judge Mohammed al-Sayed.

The ban, again, may be particularly effective [4] against a group like the Brotherhood, which is ideologically and structurally designed to Islamize Egypt via a hierarchical vanguard.

Critics of Sisi’s moves have sought to emphasize not just the need for democratic plurality – a somewhat strained emphasis [5] in the context of the Brotherhood’s role in Egypt – but also that the Brotherhood’s cell structure will allow it to splinter and go underground. American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Michael Rubin yesterday defended the ban [6] against the latter argument, arguing for a regional policy “to roll back the Muslim Brotherhood and see its defeat not only in Egypt, but also in Gaza, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and Turkey.”

[Photo: Mohamedhph / Wiki Commons [7]]