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Sunday, May 29, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Muslim Brotherhood sides with Egypt's military against opposition movement

CAIRO — The Muslim Brotherhood has left the pro-democracy opposition movement.


The Brotherhood as well as the Al Qaida-aligned Salafist movement said they would not participate in demonstrations against the new military regime in Egypt. The Islamists said opposition to the military regime would harm the Egyptian society in wake of the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

"Who are the people angry with now?" the Brotherhood asked in a statement.

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The division in the opposition has confirmed fears by pro-democracy activists that the Brotherhood and Salafists have become aligned with the military regime. Opposition sources said the two Islamic movements intend to work together to win formal power in parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2011.

On May 27, thousands of Egyptians, many of them shouting "Where is the Brotherhood?" protested the military regime, accusing it of corruption and loyalty to Mubarak, Middle East Newsline reported. The protesters called for civilian participation in government, return of the police as well as a speedy trial of Mubarak, charged with ordering live fire against the pro-democracy demonstrations in January and February.

"We are seriously concerned about the absence of security forces," former International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Mohammed El Baradei said.

The Salafists deemed the organizers of the latest pro-democracy protests "infidels and atheists." Some of the Salafists, who have been targeting the minority Copt community, warned that they would block renewed demonstrations, called "Day of Rage."

"For the sake of our country, we want to be ruled by the Army," demonstrators said to have included Salafists chanted during a counter-protest in Cairo on May 28.

For its part, the military regime called for an end to the pro-democracy protests. The regime leadership, called the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said it would not deploy the Army at the protests in Alexandria and Cairo.

"There is the possibility that suspicious elements will try to conduct acts designed to drive a wedge between the Egyptian people and its armed forces," the council said on May 26.

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