• October 3, 2009
  • 3 minutes read

Schisms within the Jordanian MB

Writing in The Daily Star, Oraib Al-Rantawi describes the current internecine conflict within Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood over relations with Hamas. While originally an offshoot of the MB, Hamas now leads the Brotherhood “in terms of its political, moral, physical, financial and media position.” A group of moderate Brotherhood members have resisted a long-standing trend toward increasing affiliation with the more extreme Hamas. According to Al-Rantawi, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal has sought to remain separate from the conflict, and Jordanian politics all together, in an attempt to curry favor with the Jordanian government.

However, The Washington Institute’s Hassan Barari disagrees about Mashal’s intentions, arguing he has recently tried to “exploit the shifting balance of power within the MB to further his own organization’s agenda in Amman.” Furthermore, it is clear that the moderate MB wing is steadily losing ground. Earlier this month, three senior leaders resigned in protest of the growing influence of Hamas. Complicating the political environment, two new forces have joined the MB scene: a “fourth current” of pro-Hamas activists and a group of reformers lead by Rheil Gharibeh. According to Barari, the government fears the latter group even more than Hamas because they are “genuine reformers, and although religious, they are not ideologically rigid.” Barari urges the Jordanian monarchy to “radically rethink its MB strategy” and to help stem the growing Hamas tide.