From Vienna to Tripoli, the Muslim Brotherhood’s impression is felt on each side of the Mediterranean

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has lately undertaken a quantity of legislative initiatives that focus on Islamist teams and actions, that are energetic throughout the nation, and embody a ban on the “use of symbols” related to the Muslim Brotherhood, alongside these of Islamist terrorist organizations such because the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

The move caps off months of investigations which have vigorously pursued the Brotherhood and different Islamist teams within the wake of final November’s lethal terrorist assault within the coronary heart of Vienna, an act that was perpetrated by an Islamic State sympathizer.

Late final yr, Austrian authorities carried out a sequence of raids focusing on people and organizations linked to the Brotherhood and to Hamas, with Austria’s prosecutors describing the group as a “globally active, radical Islamist, extremely anti-Semitic organization” that’s trying to “set up an Islamic state on the basis of Sharia Law in all countries on Earth.”

With issues concerning the Brotherhood’s function within the radicalization of people from Muslim minority teams throughout Europe rising steadily, different EU governments are following Austria’s lead. And whereas European governments are coming to establish the Muslim Brotherhood to be an insupportable risk to social cohesion and secular values, the group’s function within the Libyan political disaster helps illustrate its anti-democratic tendencies.

Brothers on skinny ice throughout the EU

While Vienna has had the Muslim Brotherhood in its sights for years, political leaders in Paris are beginning to undertake the same line after years of high-profile jihadist assaults dedicated by people radicalized inside France and Europe, together with the beheading of a schoolteacher, Samuel Paty, exterior Paris and a knife assault at a Catholic church in Nice, each of which occurred final yr.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has promulgated a “charter of principles” drafted by main representatives of the French Muslim neighborhood and laying out tips for the alignment of Islamic spiritual practices and France’s secular republican values.

A subset of Muslim organizations in France has pushed again aggressively in opposition to the contents of that constitution, with opposition spearheaded by the Turkish diaspora organizations Millî Görüş and the Coordination Committee of Turkish Muslims of France – each of that are carefully related with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authorities and Turkey’s ruling AK Party.

The AK Party is a direct ideological descendant of a community of 20th-century Islamist actions that had been largely outlined by the Muslim Brotherhood. Under Erdogan’s rule, Turkey has served as a key patron of the group in Libya, Europe, and different components of the Middle East.

Militia fighters loyal to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) pose for an image within the city of Tarhouna, 65 kilometers southeast of the capital, Tripoli. The Muslim Brotherhood has wielded important affect over GNA since its inception. EPA-EFE//STR

For his half, Macron has singled out the Muslim Brotherhood, alongside Wahhabism and Salafism, as a key driver of radicalization in French society. Across Europe, the place leaders recurrently discover themselves at odds with the Turkish authorities over democratic norms and Western values, the Brotherhood and different ideologically aligned Islamist teams thus supply a manner for Turkey to affect Muslim communities contained in the EU and to generate strain on Erdogan’s European antagonists.

On the opposite aspect of the Mediterranean in Libya, the Brotherhood, likewise, gives Ankara a vector for sustaining its affect within the nation and weighing on its political future, together with through the continued deployment of Turkey-backed fighters within the nation regardless of calls for from each the transitional authorities and the worldwide neighborhood to withdraw.

Incentives to disrupt the switch of energy

The collapse of the UN-sponsored Libyan Political Dialogue Forum forward of Libya’s upcoming elections in December has reopened the query of whether or not the nation’s interim authorities, led by businessman-turned-politician Abdulhamid Dbeibah, will in the end honor its worldwide commitments to step apart on the finish of this yr.

The European Union has already deployed threats of financial sanctions to dissuade actors inside Libya from interfering with the electoral calendar, however the political dynamics behind the present deadlock have introduced renewed consideration to the affect of the Muslim Brotherhood within the North African nation.

While the formation of a unified interim authorities earlier this yr marked one of the optimistic developments for Libya because the nation cut up into rival western and japanese administrations in 2014, lots of the similar vested pursuits who acquiesced to the brand new political association now stand accused of making an attempt to derail the following steps of the transition to democratic rule. Those pursuits embody the Muslim Brotherhood, which loved important clout in Tripoli after the autumn of Muammar Gaddafi, particularly after its triumphant returns in Libya’s 2012 parliamentary elections. 

Whereas the motion exercised a substantial amount of affect over Fayez al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), the transition to a unified transitional authorities is seen as a setback for the Brotherhood, despite the fact that Dbiebah was affiliated with the group within the years after Libya’s 2011 revolution.

Libya’s new premier moved away from the GNA’s allies to be able to convey the Tripoli authorities’s japanese rivals into the fold, whereas the Brotherhood’s personal failures have price it legitimacy within the eyes of many Libyans. If the December elections are allowed to go forward as deliberate, consultants resembling Atlantic Council fellow Karim Mezran predict the Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party and its allies are unlikely to win greater than a fifth of the seats within the new parliament.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to mourners throughout a funeral ceremony for former Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohamed Morsi, on the Fatih Mosque in Istanbul.

This provides the motion ample motive to delay or disrupt the elections, whatever the price to the Libyan peace course of. Writing within the Arab Weekly, Tunisian commentator Habib Lassoued identified within the wake of the Geneva talks that 45 of the 75 seats had been allotted to the Brotherhood and its allies, arguing that Libyans themselves anticipated the discussions to break down on account of the robust incentives of the individuals to torpedo the electoral course of.

Ironically, if the motion and its allies had been to achieve delaying Libyan elections in a bid to protect what’s left of their very own political place, the last word beneficiary can be Dbeibah, who would have the ability to keep in workplace past his authorities’s December expiration date.

With the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum now derailed, it stays to be seen whether or not the European Union will make good on its risk to sanction political actors accountable for the collapse of the talks. Individual European governments, for his or her half, have already begun to behave in opposition to the Brotherhood in opposition to their very own borders – a development that come in the end come to form EU-level coverage as nicely.


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