The Muslim Brotherhood’s tools to bring down Sudan into the quagmire of chaos

Since their regime fell in April 2019, which ruled Sudan with an iron-fisted grip for 30 years, the Muslim Brotherhood has been using three tools to prepare the stage for their return to power, relying on a wide network of financial, media, and military influence centers that they have built over the past three decades.

Despite the efforts of the National Committee formed to dismantle the structure of the Brotherhood organization and its economic, military, and media networks, the task appears exceedingly difficult. Unlike countries that have gone through similar experiences and whose people sought to rid themselves of the Brotherhood and halt their destructive terrorist ambitions, such as Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia, the situation has been entirely different in Sudan. Sudan witnessed complete empowerment of the Brotherhood in all aspects of civil and security sectors after the organization took power in 1989 as the first Brotherhood group to fully control governance in the Arab world.

The organization began to emerge in the late forties of the last century in the form of small and limited networks, but quickly expanded its base and managed to build networks within the security apparatus to achieve its ambitions of reaching power. Indeed, those networks were used to carry out the first coup attempt in 1959, just three years after the country’s independence from British rule in 1956. These unsuccessful attempts continued until 1989 when they successfully executed the coup of the ousted Omar al-Bashir, who ruled the country for 30 years.

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 nineties of the last century.

During all those years, the organization has experienced multiple ups and downs, but its base did not expand significantly until after it took power in 1989, where the years that followed witnessed a relative increase in its membership after several interest groups joined the organization.

Professor Hassan Maki, at the International University of Africa in Khartoum, indicates that the organization, after periods of relative prosperity it experienced in the nineties of the last century, lost many of its bases and influence due to internal conflicts, some elements clinging to power, internal purges, and involvement in operations that greatly tarnished the organization’s reputation, such as the attempted assassination of the late Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in the mid-nineties.

Maki also says that there are many factors that have harmed the organization’s image after it took power, including corruption, involvement in terrorist adventures, dictatorship, and monopolizing power.

State resources utilization

Financial power is one of the main reasons behind the relentless attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the current transition that the country is undergoing in order to achieve the dream of returning to power once again.

In fact, over the past thirty years, the organization has managed to build a massive financial base estimated at more than $100 billion by empowering its elements in all economic and commercial sectors of the state in exchange for paying portions of their revenues and profits to the party treasury. The party has used those funds to build relationships with many terrorist organizations and similar groups in several countries, which entangled it in major terrorist operations, leading to Sudan being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, crippling the Sudanese economy for over 27 years and causing direct and indirect losses estimated at around $700 billion.

According to economic analyst Wael Fahmy, one of the reasons that strengthened the Brotherhood‘s financial position is transforming the state into a “party state” where all ministries and government institutions are under the party’s command rather than state institutions, as all leadership and intermediary positions have been filled with party cadres committed to the party line, thus prioritizing the party’s interest over the state’s.

Fahmy explains, “The state’s exports, imports, and even government contracts were systematically granted to party elements in exchange for a specified percentage that went directly to the organization’s treasury, leading to its economic expansion visibly, while in return, the state’s economy, which is currently struggling, weakened significantly as a result.”

Fahmy adds that the organization’s finances inflated significantly, fueled even by a large share of loans provided to the Sudanese government, which, upon their overthrow, amounted to more than $64 billion.

Fahmy points to recent international reports that revealed significant discrepancies, especially in the field of exports. According to the European Export Monitoring Agency, the amount of money hidden from official records reached about $31 billion during the period from 2011 to 2016.

Fahmy says, “A significant portion of these funds went to feed the party’s treasury with the knowledge of state institutions managed by party members, including the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank.”

Massive Security Force

Sudanese authorities claim to have thwarted several coup attempts in recent times, accusing Brotherhood elements within security institutions of being behind these attempts.

Sudanese citizens demand the dismantling of the security militias that the organization began building since the early nineties, recruiting thousands of youths to protect it. These include the Popular Defense Forces and the People’s Security, which were allocated billions of dollars, equipped with high-end equipment, and granted extensive powers, thus enabling them to establish massive economic institutions that supported the organization financially and strengthened these militias, which were a direct cause in protecting the organization’s authority throughout its thirty-year rule and an effective tool for suppressing and killing dissenters.

On the other hand, the organization sought to establish centers of power within the army and managed to buy some loyalty, with some elements entering specific positions of control. However, Walid El-Tom, a former officer in the Sudanese army, said that the organization failed to change the ideology of all army personnel, as evidenced by the fact that the ousted Bashir was wary of the army until the moment of his downfall.

Media Networks

In its current attempts to return to power, the organization utilizes vast media networks, including a number of newspapers and television channels, in addition to pumping huge amounts of money into companies and groups specialized in spreading rumors and fake news on social media platforms to tarnish the image of the transitional period and influence public opinion.

There are at least three daily newspapers entirely loyal to the organization currently issued within Sudan, in addition to a number of television channels broadcasting from inside and outside Sudan, including the “Tayba” channel, which broadcasts from Turkey and is owned by Brotherhood leader Abdel Hay Youssef, who investigations have shown received huge funding from Bashir before his downfall.

On the other hand, the organization finds a fertile environment on social media to support its schemes through spreading rumors.

Independent data estimates the number of accounts specialized in spreading rumors and fake news in Sudan at about 3,000 accounts, at least 80 percent of which are affiliated with Brotherhood groups.

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