The July 2009 cable, released by WikiLeaks, described a badly-divided
Syrian opposition and an alienated Muslim Brotherhood, which published a
protest letter during the previous month. The report to the State
Department, titled "Murky Alliances: Muslim Brotherhood, the Movement for
Justice and Democracy and the Damascus Declaration," warned of rising
Brotherhood resentment toward the pro-democracy movement in Syria, said to
have received at least $12 million from the U.S. government.
"The rancor expressed in the MB's letter suggested a growing fissure
between expatriate Damascus Declaration representatives, especially between
the MB and the small, but politically connected and increasingly active
Movement for Justice and Development," the report said. "More worrisome,
however, is recent information suggesting the SARG [Syrian government] may
already have penetrated the MJD and learned about sensitive USG programs in
The report cited disputes within the opposition since 2005, particularly
regarding U.S. policy in the Middle East. Another issue was whether the
pro-democracy Damascus Declaration should distance itself from the
"The MB's involvement provoked the SARG," the report, which quoted an
unidentified Syrian opposition activist, said. "For the Damascus Declaration
to continue safely, MB participation would have to be jettisoned."
Since 2008, expatriates formed Damascus Declaration committees
throughout Europe and the United States. Eventually, the Brotherhood,
regarded as the largest opposition group, was invited to participate in the
The report said the Movement for Justice and Development, which included
Brotherhood members, failed to expand its base in Syria. The rest of the
opposition in the Damascus Declaration was also said to have been hampered
by internal disputes.
"SARG may be mounting a campaign to entrap democracy activists receiving
illegal — under Syrian law — foreign assistance," the cable said.