Trump Seeks to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terrorist Group

Egypt junta leader reportedly pushing Trump to make the move

The White House is confirming that President Trump is in consultation with national security officials in trying to find a way to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a “foreign terrorist organization.

The move was apparently precipitated by Egypt’s junta leader Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who urged Trump to move against them during a recent White House visit. At this point, Trump ordered officials to start looking for a way to impose sanctions on the group, and it seems that’s going to require tossing them on the terrorism list.

The big obstacle to this is that the Muslim Brotherhood are not terrorists, but rather an ideological movement, and the primary impetus against them has been their success in political engagement in certain nations, particularly Egypt, where their political success was deemed unwelcome by the entrenched powers.

Almost exclusively international bans on the Brotherhood came out of the 2013 Egyptian coup d’etat, which brought military leader El-Sisi to power. A Muslim Brotherhood-backed party won the first (and last) free election of the post-Mubarak era, and labeled them terrorists for resisting the coup. In the ensuing purge, Saudi Arabia and its allies endorsed the junta’s move, arguing that a military-ruled Egypt was better for the region than a democratic one.

Trump’s interest in such a move likely centers on a desire to please El-Sisi and the Saudis. Such a move would also allow his administration to crack down on certain Muslim groups within the United States which are accused of having ideological ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.