Reasons to classify the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan as a “terrorist group”

Sudanese observers have identified 7 reasons supporting the increasingly urgent demands to classify the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Sudan as a “terrorist group,” indicating that any delay in meeting these demands would harm Sudan’s stability and lead to the continuation of the vicious cycle that the country has been in since the organization seized power by force in 1989.

The observers stated that the organization has committed numerous terrorist acts over the past three decades, the most prominent of which are:

  1. Mobilizing leaders of international terrorist groups in Sudan.
  2. Committing numerous acts of torture and systematic killings against hundreds of civilian opponents.
  3. Planning and participating in terrorist operations abroad, including the attempted assassination of former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995, the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole near the coast of Yemen in 2000.
  1. Obstructing the civilian transition after their fall in 2019 and igniting the current ongoing war in Sudan for the past 10 months, which has resulted in the deaths of around 13,000 people and the displacement of approximately 10 million from their homes.
  2. International isolation.

Since the late 1990s, Sudan has been subjected to significant international isolation and a series of diplomatic and economic sanctions that have harmed the country and deprived it of significant investment, financial, and trade opportunities after being listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism for 25 years. This continued until the government of Abdullah Hamdok succeeded in removing the country from that list one year after the fall of the Brotherhood’s rule.

A terrorist organization by birth

Lawyer Kamal Al-Amin warns that the danger of the Brotherhood lies in being a terrorist organization by birth and transcending the geographical borders of states.

Al-Amin believes that the history of the Brotherhood in Sudan is filled with bloody behavior that has claimed the lives of many students, political activists, and anyone who opposes their ideology.

He explains, “The Brotherhood used excessive violence, such as swords, sticks, and others, against anyone who disagreed with them in all Sudanese universities.”

He points out that this behavior has not changed since the organization’s inception because violence is considered an integral part of their ideology, which has been evident in their actions over the past four years in Sudan.

Sudanese lawyer emphasizes that the continuation of this behavior and deviant ideology poses a significant danger, necessitating the classification of the organization as a terrorist group.

Armed groups

Since the outbreak of war in mid-April, brigades and security militias that the organization began building in the early 1990s have emerged, recruiting thousands of young people to protect it. Among the most prominent are the Buraq Brigade, the People’s Defense Forces, and the People’s Security, which have been allocated billions of dollars and provided with high-quality equipment and extensive powers. This enabled them to establish huge economic institutions that benefited the organization financially and strengthened those militias, which were a direct cause of protecting the organization’s authority throughout its thirty-year rule and an effective tool for suppressing and killing opponents.

After the outbreak of war, the name of the Buraq Brigade has emerged strongly amid wide controversy over the Muslim Brotherhood‘s role in igniting the war.

A video clip recently circulated on social media in Sudan revealed a close organizational relationship between ISIS and the Brotherhood militias in Sudan. According to the clip, the current leader of the Buraq Brigade, Al-Musbah Abu Zeid Talha, was chosen after his predecessor migrated to Syria in 2012 and engaged in fighting with ISIS in the Levant, like dozens of members of jihadist organizations established by the Brotherhood in Sudan after it seized power in 1989, with the aim of assisting it in the southern war that lasted throughout the 1990s and ended with the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Sleeper cells

In light of the ongoing war, fears have grown of terrorist groups exploiting the popular mobilization operations and the current security fluidity in Sudan to revive a number of dormant cells that were formed in the 1990s.

In this context, UN expert Ahmed Tajani says, “There is widespread belief that the organization’s elements are the ones who ignited the current war that destroyed the country and before that worked to obstruct the civilian transition by force, which is evident from the numerous documented video clips in which prominent members of the organization threaten to destabilize the country.”

Tajani emphasizes that many of the actions and practices carried out by the organization’s elements necessitate its classification as a terrorist group.

For his part, political activist Khalid Mohammed Ali believes that any movement or group that uses force to gain political or material gains is a terrorist movement, which applies to the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan, according to him.

He explains, “The Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan planned to seize power by force in 1989, which resulted in the loss of many lives in the years that followed. They removed all civilian political opponents who were not affiliated with them from the state apparatus and detained them, tortured them, and killed some of them.”

Financial influence

Despite nearly 5 years passing since the organization’s overthrow, it still enjoys significant financial influence, which it uses to carry out its terrorist agenda.

Over the past thirty years, the organization has managed to build a huge financial base estimated at over $100 billion by empowering its elements in all economic and commercial sectors of the state, in exchange for paying shares of their revenues and profits to the party’s treasury.

The organization used those funds to build relationships with many terrorist organizations and similar groups in many countries, which embroiled it in major terrorist operations that placed Sudan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

In December, the United States issued an arrest warrant for Abdelbasset Hamza, one of the most important elements managing the organization’s financial file.

Hamza held several positions within the security apparatus in addition to security offices for the organization. Hamza is also linked to terrorist financing and has managed several companies associated with terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda.

After the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2019, a Sudanese committee formed to dismantle the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood regime arrested Hamza due to his suspicious financial activities linked to terrorism before being released following the October 25th coup in 2021.

The United States has included Sudan’s former Interior Minister Ahmed Haroun in its rewards program for information leading to the arrest of those suspected of committing war crimes, offering rewards of up to five million dollars.

The U.S. State Department said that Haroun, who was a minister during Omar al-Bashir‘s rule, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur between 2003 and 2004.

Several days after the outbreak of the April 15th war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, Ahmed Haroun, the former assistant to ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, announced his release from Kober National Prison in Khartoum along with several figures from the former regime.

Haroun is one of four officials in al-Bashir‘s regime against whom the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants, including al-Bashir himself, his defense minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, and Ali Kosheib. The court has charged them with committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur between 2003 and 2007.

According to economic analyst Wael Fahmi, one of the reasons that strengthened the financial position of the Muslim Brotherhood is their transformation of the state into a “party state”, where all ministries and government institutions are governed by the party rather than state institutions, as all leadership and intermediary positions were replaced by party cadres committed to the party line, thus prioritizing the party’s interest over the state’s.

Fahmi says, “State exports, imports, and even government contracts were systematically granted to organization elements, in exchange for a specific percentage that went directly to the organization’s treasury with the help of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank, leading to its economic expansion seemingly.”

External ties:

The organization used the huge sums of money amassed during its rule in Sudan to build relationships with many terrorist and similar organizations in many countries, implicating it in major terrorist operations that led Sudan to be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Journalist Aziz Mohammed, who is interested in extremist groups, points out that the hosting of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Sudan by several extremist organizations in the early 1990s coincided with a trend aimed at exporting the Islamic revolution that the organization adopted following its coup against civilian rule in June 1989.

Mohammed says that the organization hosted extremist leaders based on that vision and provided them with logistical support and massive training camps in the Blue Nile and eastern Sudan regions, enabling them to recruit large numbers of militants who were trained in explosives and clandestine combat operations.

Characteristics and evidence:

The Muslim Brotherhood began to emerge in Sudan in the late 1940s in the form of small and limited networks, but it quickly expanded its base and managed to build networks within the security apparatus to achieve its ambitions of reaching power.

Since its inception in 1949, the organization has changed its names several times, from the Islamic Liberation Movement to the Muslim Brotherhood, then the Covenant Front, then the Islamic Front, and finally the National Congress Party, from which the Popular Congress Party branched out in the 1990s.

Over the past thirty years, the organization has managed to build a huge financial base estimated at over 100 billion dollars, by empowering its elements in all economic and commercial sectors of the state.

The jihadist slogans raised by the Muslim Brotherhood regime during the South Sudanese war between 1990 and 2005 strengthened the influence of extremist militias in Sudan.

Since 2011, elements of Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood organizations have begun joining ISIS, and in 2013, bloggers affiliated with ISIS announced on their social media pages the killing of several Sudanese militia members such as Buraq and others in Syria, Libya, and other areas.

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