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Cablegate: The Great Shaykhs: The Muslim Brotherhood And

R 111516Z JUL 91
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3751
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY PARIS

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 CAIRO 12383


PARIS FOR ROSENBLATT, LONDON FOR MILLIKAN
DEPT ALSO FOR INR/B

E.O. 12356:DECL: OADR
TAGS: PINR KISL PINS KPRP EG
SUBJECT: THE GREAT SHAYKHS: THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND
THE RADICAL FRINGE

1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT.

2. POLITICAL ISLAM IN EGYPT IS GENERALLY DIVIDED INTO ESTABLISHMENT ISLAM REPRESENTED BY THE RELATIVELY MODERATE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD (MB), AND THE RADICAL FRINGE REPRESENTED BY OMAR ABDURRAHMAN AND COMPANY. THESE GROUPS COMPETE FOR RECRUITS, STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL OF THE MOSQUES AND DEMONSTRATE DIFFERENT ATTITUDES TOWARD THE GOVERNMENT. THE DISTINCTIONS AMONG THEM, HOWEVER, ARE NOT ALWAYS VERY TIDY. STARTING FROM THE ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES OF "SHURA" (CONSULTATION) AND "TASALUH" (RECONCILIATION OF DIFFERENCES AMONG BELIEVERS), THERE IS CONSIDERABLE DIALOGUE, DEBATE, AND EFFORT AT RAPPROCHEMENT EVEN AMONG GROUPS THAT HAVE ENGAGED IN BLOODY CLASHES WITH EACH OTHER. THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SEEMS TO HAVE CHARGED DEPUTY SUPREME GUIDE MUSTAFA MASHHOUR WITH CONDUCTING LIAISON WITH THE EGYPTIAN AND THE REGIONAL RADICAL FRINGE.

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PUSHING THE BROTHERHOOD TOWARD RADICALISM?
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3. FOR YEARS THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD WAS AN UNDERGROUND ORGANIZATION PRONE TO VIOLENCE. IN THEORY, THE BROTHERS RENOUNCED VIOLENCE IN 1987 AND DECIDED TO PLAY BY THE RULES OF THE FORMAL EGYPTIAN POLITICAL GAME. THIS DECISION APPEARS NOT TO HAVE BEEN UNANIMOUS. SOME OF THE MORE MILITANT BROTHERS, MUSTAFA MASHHOUR FOREMOST AMONG THEM, RETAIN AT LEAST A THEORETICAL ATTACHMENT TO THE USE OF VIOLENCE FOR THE SAKE OF ISLAM.

4. INDEED, MANY ESTABLISHMENT ISLAMIC AND SECULAR FIGURES INSIST THAT THE BROTHERHOOD'S DECISION TO PLAY THE POLITICAL GAME WAS A MERE PLOY -- THAT THE BROTHERS ARE STILL INVOLVED IN ISLAMIC VIOLENCE OR AT LEAST KINDLE THE OPTION TO USE FORCE. MUSTAFA MASHHOUR, THEY CLAIM, IS THE HEAD OF THE "AL-JIHAZ AL-SIRRI" ("THE SECRET ORGAN") OF THE GROUP, AND AS SUCH, EITHER DIRECTS OR COOPERATES IN THE ORCHESTRATION OF VIOLENT ACTS. SOME SPECULATE THAT MASHHOUR LENDS PEOPLE AND ASSETS (SAFE HOUSES FOR EXAMPLE) TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS. OTHERS SAY HIS STRATEGY IS TO SEEK CONTROL OF THE RADICAL GROUPS BY SENDING HIS FOLLOWERS TO JOIN AND EVENTUALLY RISE TO POSITIONS OF INFLUENCE OR LEADERSHIP WITHIN THE GROUPS.

5. MASHHOUR ASPIRES TO BE THE SUPREME GUIDE OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SUCCEEDING THE FEEBLE OCTOGENARIAN HAMED ABU AL-NASR. TO DO SO, HE WILL HAVE TO BEAT BACK THE CHALLENGE OF MAMOUN AL-HODEIBI, THE HEAD OF THE BROTHERHOOD'S PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION IN THE 1987-90 PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY. AL-HODEIBI, REPUTEDLY THE CHIEF ADVOCATE OF PARTICIPATION IN EGYPT'S POLITICAL GAME, EARNED THE GRUDGING RESPECT OF NON-ISLAMISTS FOR HIS WORK IN THE ASSEMBLY: THE DEPUTIES HE SHEPHERDED PROVED THE MOST COHESIVE AND HARDWORKING OF THE OPPOSITION GROUPINGS. AS LONG AS PARTICIPATION REMAINS THE BROTHERHOOD'S POLICY, AL-HODEIBI HAS AN ADVANTAGE IN THE SUCCESSION STRUGGLE. THE CYNICS -- AND IT IS HARD TO BE TOO CYNICAL IN EGYPTIAN POLITICS -- SAY THAT MASHHOUR IS TRYING HARD TO DIMINISH AL-HODEIBI'S ADVANTAGE BY PUSHING THE ORGANIZATION TOWARD CONFRONTATION WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND A CONCOMITANT RADICALIZATION. THUS, IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS MASHHOUR HAS ATTENDED RADICAL ISLAMIC CONFERENCES IN PAKISTAN AND KHARTOUM, HAS SPURNED HIS OLD FRIENDS IN SAUDI ARABIA, HAS URGED WORLDWIDE JIHAD WITH THE LIKES OF SUDAN'S AL-TURABI AND TUNISIA'S AL-GHANNOUSHI, AND HAS FORMULATED THE BROTHERHOOD'S STATEMENT ON PALESTINE, THE RADICAL CONTENTS AND TONE OF WHICH ARE FAR FROM THE MB'S DOMESTIC FOCUS AND MODERATE RHETORIC OF THE RECENT PAST.

6. THE BATTLE FOR LEADERSHIP WILL BE JOINED SOON. THE GOVERNMENT IS AWARE OF THE POLITICAL DYNAMIC AT WORK IN THE BROTHERHOOD, AND WILL NO DOUBT TRY TO INFLUENCE THE GROUP'S DECISION. A VICTORY BY AL-HODEIBI WOULD PROBABLY PRODUCE A POLICY MUCH LIKE THAT OF THE LAST FOUR YEARS: RHETORICAL COOPERATION WITH OTHER OPPOSITION ELEMENTS AND PATIENCE IN THE GRADUAL ISLAMIZATION OF EGYPT'S PUBLIC LIFE. A VICTORY BY MASHHOUR WOULD LIKELY PRODUCE A MUCH MORE STRIDENT TONE, AND PERHAPS EVEN A DECISION TO OPT OUT OF THE FORMAL POLITICAL GAME. SUCH A MOVE WOULD SET IN MOTION A RADICAL DYNAMIC WHICH REASONABLY COULD BE EXPECTED TO END IN VIOLENCE, GIVING THE AUTHORITIES AN EXCUSE TO CRACK DOWN.

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SPENT FORCES: SALAMA, KISHK, AL-BADRI
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7. DURING THE LATE SEVENTIES AND EARLY EIGHTIES, HAFEZ SALAMA FROM HIS MOSQUES IN SUEZ AND CAIRO AND ABDEL HAMID KISHK FROM HIS IN THE QUBBA QUARTER OF CAIRO, WERE TWO OF THE MOST INCENDIARY CRITICS OF THE GOVERNMENT, PARTICULARLY ON CAMP DAVID AND EGYPT'S SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES. BOTH STRESSED THE NEED TO "STRUGGLE" -- USUALLY UNDERSTOOD AS A CODE WORD FOR THE USE OF VIOLENCE -- FOR THE SAKE OF ISLAM. SALAMA HAD EXTRA CREDIBILITY BECAUSE OF HIS RECORD AS A HERO IN THE WARS AGAINST ISRAEL. KISHK'S CHARISMA WAS MAGNIFIED THROUGH THE SALE OF TAPES OF HIS SERMONS. AT THE TIME, MANY THOUGHT THAT IF EGYPT WAS TO HAVE AN ISLAMIC REVOLUTION, THESE TWO WOULD BE MAJOR FORCES BEHIND AND BENEFICIARIES OF SUCH A DEVELOPMENT.

8. BOTH ARE STILL ACTIVE, BUT THEIR INFLUENCE HAS WANED. OTHER THAN BLEATING A FEW PERFUNCTORY REMARKS ABOUT THE "SHAME" OF MUSLIM FIGHTING MUSLIM AND SALAMA'S REMARK ABOUT THE "SHAME" OF CALLING IN WESTERN ASSISTANCE, BOTH WERE LARGELY SILENT DURING THE LONG MONTHS OF THE GULF CRISIS. SECURITY SURVEILLANCE UNDOUBTEDLY HELPS LIMIT THEIR ACTIVITIES, BUT AGE AND ILL HEALTH -- TO WHICH THEIR RADICAL COLLEAGUE SALAH ABU ISMAIL SURRENDERED LAST YEAR -- ARE ALSO PART OF THE EQUATION. BOTH ARE IN THEIR SIXTIES WITH THE PREDICTABLE GERIATRIC PLAINTS SETTING IN. KISHK SEEMS TO BE FADING GRACEFULLY: HIS NEWEST TAPES ARE DEVOID OF POLITICAL CONTENT AND TEND TO WAX METAPHYSICAL ABOUT THE MYSTERIES OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF THE PROPHET JESUS AND THE PROPHET MOHAMMED'S ASCENT TO HEAVEN.

9. BY CONTRAST, HAFEZ SALAMA IS NOT GOING GENTLY INTO THE GOOD NIGHT. INDEED, MOST REFERENCES TO SALAMA HAVE HIM ACCUSING THE GOVERNMENT OF TRYING TO DO AWAY WITH HIM POLITICALLY OR PHYSICALLY. HE HAS ACCUSED THE INTERIOR MINISTRY OF FORCING THE EDUCATION MINISTRY TO PLAY BUREAUCRATIC GAMES WITH THE LICENSING OF THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS ASSOCIATED WITH HIS HEDAYA MOSQUE COMPLEX IN SUEZ. AT ONE POINT HE ACCUSED STATE SECURITY OF ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION BY FORCING HIS CAR OFF THE REMOTE SUEZ-CAIRO DESERT ROAD. OTHER ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS SUGGEST THAT SALAMA'S MORE SERIOUS ACCUSATIONS ARE TO GENERATE PUBLIC ATTENTION AND SYMPATHY TO REVIVE AN ISLAMIC CAREER IN DECLINE.

10. ANOTHER ISLAMIC FIGURE WHO HAS RUN OUT OF POLITICAL STEAM IS SHAYKH YOUSSEF AL-BADRI, FORMERLY A MEMBER OF THE PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY. SHAYKH YOUSSEF NEVER ACHIEVED THE FOLLOWING OR REPUTATION OF KISHK OR SALAMA, BUT, AS HIS ONGOING EFFORTS TO OBTAIN A LICENSE FOR A NEW ISLAMIC POLITICAL PARTY ATTEST, HE ASPIRES TO ISLAMIC GREATNESS. CLEARLY, HOWEVER, AL-BADRI'S FORTUNES HAVE WANED. A SO-CALLED "WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE" ON THE GULF CRISIS ADVERTISED BY AL-BADRI LAST AUGUST DREW PERHAPS TWO HUNDRED LISTLESS ATTENDEES INCLUDING TWO JOURNALISTS AND ONE AMERICAN DIPLOMAT. AL-BADRI'S COUP DE GRACE CAME IN LAST FALL'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS WHEN, IN THE MOST FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN EGYPTIAN HISTORY, THE SHAYKH SUFFERED AN EMBARRASSING DEFEAT.

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ABDEL RASHID SAQR: A HARSH NEW VOICE
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11. ABDEL RASHID SAQR, THE FORMER IMAM OF THE SALAH AL-DIN MOSQUE IN CAIRO'S MANIAL NEIGHBORHOOD, IS A NEW AND STRIDENT VOICE FOR ISLAMIC MILITANCY. THE MAY 1990 MARCH EMANATING FROM HIS MOSQUE WAS THE LAST SIGNIFICANT ISLAMIC STREET ACTION IN CAIRO. A MARK OF SAQR'S POLITICAL CLEVERNESS WAS HIS MELDING OF THE ISSUES OF PROTEST: HE USED FRIDAY PRAYERS TO URGE THE CONGREGATION TO TAKE TO THE STREETS IN PROTEST OF BOTH THE INTERIOR MINISTRY'S ARREST POLICY AND A ROUND OF PRICE INCREASES ON GOVERNMENT-SUPPLIED COMMODITIES.

12. THE DEMONSTRATION COST SAQR HIS MOSQUE AS THE AWQAF MINISTRY TRANSFERRED HIM TO A "HALL-WALKER" SLOT IN THE MINISTRY ITSELF, BUT OVER THE INTERVENING MONTHS THE SHAYKH HAS SHOWN A TENDENCY TO BE VOCALLY RADICAL ON A WIDE RANGE OF ISSUES. KNOWING A JUICY ISSUE WHEN HE SEES IT, SAQR IMMEDIATELY DENOUNCED THE INVASION OF KUWAIT BUT WENT ON AT LENGTH AGAINST THE DISPARITIES IN ARAB WEALTH THAT HAD "LED" TO THE DISASTER. IN OTHER STATEMENTS, SAQR HAS DECLARED THAT JERUSALEM WILL NEVER BE RECOVERED BY NEGOTIATIONS, AND THAT STRUGGLE BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND JEWS IS A POSTULATE OF LIFE FOR THE FAITHFUL. SAQR ALSO LIKES TO RE-PLAY ONE OF THE FAVORITE CONSPIRACY THEORIES OF IGNORANT MUSLIMS: E.G., THAT THE MUSLIM WORLD IS BESET BY CHRISTIAN AND "CHRISTIANIZING" SCHEMES. PLAYING ON THE LOCAL TENDENCY TO MISTRUST ANY FIGURE OF AUTHORITY, SAQR LIKES TO EXPOUND ON THE THEME THAT AL-AZHAR -- WHICH SHOULD BE THE SYMBOL OF ISLAMIC PURITY AND EGYPT'S LEADERSHIP OF WORLD.ISLAM -- IS RIFE WITH CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY.

13. SAQR SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING OF A LONER. THERE ARE RUMORS THAT HE WAS ONCE A MUSLIM BROTHER, BUT ON AT LEAST A FEW OCCASIONS HE REPORTEDLY HAS LAMBASTED THE MB'S WORK WITHIN THE SYSTEM. HE DENOUNCES THE INTERIOR MINISTRY'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE RADICAL FRINGE. BUT HIS GOAL SEEMS MORE DENUNCIATION OF THE GOE THAN SUPPORT FOR THE "AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA" (IG).

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ADEL HUSSEIN: A LINK TO SECULARISM
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14. ADEL HUSSEIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY'S WEEKLY NEWSPAPER "AL-SHAAB," DIFFERS FROM OTHER PERSONALITIES DISCUSSED IN THIS MESSAGE IN ONE FUNDAMENTAL RESPECT: HE ARGUABLY IS NOT EVEN AN ISLAMIST. ADEL SPENT LONG YEARS AS A SELF-DESCRIBED "COMMUNIST," UNDERGROUND IN NASSER'S AND SADAT'S PRISONS, AND AS AN OVERT HARD-LEFT JOURNALIST. ADEL INSISTS THAT HIS EXPOSURE TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERS IN PRISON LED HIM TO THE LIGHT OF ISLAM, BUT MOST "REAL" ISLAMISTS AND LEFTISTS SLIP HIM IN THE SAME POLITICAL PIGEONHOLE AS SLP LEADER IBRAHIM SHUKRI: I.E., A POLITICIAN WHO SAW THE INTELLECTUAL EXHAUSTION OF THE FITIES AND SIXTIES AND DECIDED TO RIDE THE ISLAMIC WAVE LAPPING AT EGYPT'S POLITICAL SHORES IN THE LATE SEVENTIES. NEVERTHELESS, HE MORE THAN ANY OTHER EGYPTIAN PUBLICLY LINKS ISLAM TO CALLS FOR RADICAL ACTION.

15. ADEL HUSSEIN HAS NO ISLAMIC FOLLOWING PER SE. HE IS NOT A SHAYKH, HAS NO FORMAL RELIGIOUS TRAINING, GIVES SEMINARS AT SLP HEADQUARTERS RATHER THAN SERMONS AT FRIDAY PRAYERS, AND -- PROOF POSITIVE OF HIS SECULARISM TO ISLAMISTS -- HAS AN UNVEILED WIFE. ADEL IS POLITICALLY SIGNIFICANT IN ISLAMIC TERMS, HOWEVER, BECAUSE HE IS ONE OF THE VERY FEW WHO SEEK TO UNIFY THE ANTI-GOVERNMENT EFFORTS OF DISPARATE OPPOSITION ELEMENTS BY USING THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ISLAMIC RHETORIC. HE ALSO SEES THAT POLITICAL ISLAM HAS IGNORED THE ECONOMIC ISSUES ON WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS THE MOST VULNERABLE AND HAS TRIED IN "AL-SHAAB" TO SENSITIZE ISLAMISTS TO THEIR OVERSIGHT. WHILE CLEVER ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT THE ODDS AGAINST IT ARE GREAT, WE SUSPECT ADEL'S IDEAL SCENARIO WOULD HAVE ISLAMIC AND SECULAR ELEMENTS SUCCESSFULLY LINKED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, WITH EMPTY ISLAMIC RHETORIC MASKING THE ENACTMENT OF A HARD-LEFT SOCIAL AGENDA. IN OLD-LINE COMMUNIST STYLE, AN INTELLECTUAL/POLITICAL ELITE OF PEOPLE LIKE ADEL WOULD THEN GUIDE THE MASSES ALONG THE PROPER PATH.

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OMAR ABDURRAHMAN: GODFATHER OF THE FRINGE
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16. FOR OVER A DECADE, DR. OMAR ABDURRAHMAN HAS SERVED AS THE SPIRITUAL AND, PERHAPS OCCASIONALLY, THE OPERATIONAL LEADER OF "AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA," A RELATIVELY COHESIVE GROUPING ON THE ISLAMIC FRINGE UNITED BY THE PRINCIPLE THAT FORCE SHOULD BE USED TO USHER IN THE ISLAMIC STATE. RAISED IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN OLD ISLAMIC TRADITION THAT BLIND BOYS BE TRAINED TO RECITE THE QURAN TO ASSURE THEM A LIVELIHOOD, OMAR ABDURRAHMAN HAS BEEN IN AN ALMOST STRICTLY ISLAMIC MILIEU ALL HIS LIFE. IN 1965, HE GRADUATED FROM AL-AZHAR, WHERE HE APPARENTLY IMBIBED DEEPLY OF THE THOUGHT OF MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD RADICAL SAYYED QUTB, WHO NASSER EXECUTED THE SAME YEAR ON CHARGES OF ATTEMPTING TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT.

17. WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY PURSUING HIGHER DEGREES FROM AL-AZHAR, ABDURRAHMAN TAUGHT AT AL-AZHAR INSTITUTE IN ASSIUT. HIS RESIDENCE IN THE CITY ROUGHLY CORRESPONDED TO SADAT'S DRIVE TO BOLSTER ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS ON EGYPT'S CAMPUSES TO WEAKEN THE NASSERISTS. WHETHER OR NOT LOCAL AUTHORITIES WITTINGLY USED ABDURRAHMAN, HE TURNED OUT TO BE ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL INSTRUMENTS OF THE ISLAMIZATION POLICY, PROVIDING GUIDANCE TO MANY OF THE YOUNG MEN WHO HELPED TRANSFORM THE FORMER COPTIC BASTION OF ASSIUT INTO AN ACKNOWLEDGED CENTER OF RADICAL ISLAM. THE MOST FAMOUS "FATWA" (RELIGIOUS JUDGMENT) RENDERED BY ABDURRAHMAN WAS TO THE ASSASSINS OF PRESIDENT SADAT: I.E., IT IS ISLAMICALLY PROPER TO ASSASSINATE AN INFIDEL OR APOSTATE RULER. THIS FATWA EARNED ABDURRAHMAN THE DISTINCTION OF BEING THE PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT IN THE SO-CALLED JIHAD TRIALS CONNECTED WITH THE CONSPIRACY TO MURDER SADAT. ABDURRAHMAN WAS ACQUITTED IN 1984, HOWEVER, BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE WAS UNCLEAR ON WHETHER HE HAD DECLARED THAT SADAT OR, MORE THEORETICALLY, ANY INFIDEL OR APOSTATE RULER COULD BE KILLED.

18. FOLLOWING HIS ACQUITTAL, ABDURRAHMAN LIVED FOR A WHILE IN SAUDI ARABIA, BUT RETURNED IN EARLY 1986 TO THE PROVINCE OF AL-FAYYOUM. SINCE THEN "AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA" (IG), THE GROUP OF WHICH HE IS THE SPIRITUAL LEADER, HAS INSPIRED DOZENS OF INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, COPTS, LESS ZEALOUS MUSLIMS, AND IN AT LEAST ONE INSTANCE WESTERNERS. LESS CLEAR IS HIS DEGREE OF OPERATIONAL INVOLVEMENT IN THE GROUP'S ACTIONS. IN AL-FAYYOUM IN APRIL 1989, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT, DESPITE A SUBSEQUENT ACQUITTAL ON EVIDENTIARY GROUNDS, ABDURRAHMAN DIRECTLY URGED HIS CONGREGATION TO GET OUT AND BATTLE THE SECURITY FORCES IN THE STREETS. WE HAVE ALSO HEARD THAT THE SPRING 1990 BOUT OF SECTARIAN VIOLENCE WAS A STRATEGY CONCOCTED BY ABDURRAHMAN. AT THE SAME TIME, ONE SCHOOL OF OBSERVERS OF THE RADICAL FRINGE BELIEVES THAT OTHER LEADERS IN THE IG -- TALAAT FUAD QASSEM, RECENTLY RECAPTURED AL-MAHGOUB ASSASSIN SAFWAT ABDEL GHANI, OR PERHAPS ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR -- DEVELOP PLANS WHICH DR. OMAR MAY BLESS BEFORE OR AFTER THE ACT. WE HAVE NOT SEEN ABDURRAHMAN DISASSOCIATE HIMSELF FROM ANY INCIDENT OF SELF-STYLED ISLAMIC VIOLENCE.

19. UNTIL RECENTLY, ABDURRAHMAN HAS BEEN IN SELF-IMPOSED EXILE IN THE GREATER NEW YORK AREA. HE IS NOW BELIEVED TO BE IN JEDDAH. HIS ABSENCE APPEARS TO HAVE CHANGED HIM AND, LESS CLEARLY, CHANGED THE DYNAMIC AT WORK IN THE IG. SOME HAVE IT THAT ABDURRAHMAN HAS GONE FROM CONSIDERING HIMSELF THE SYMBOL OF ISLAMIC RESISTANCE IN EGYPT TO FANCYING HIMSELF ONE OF THE LEADERS OF THE WORLD ISLAMIC MOVEMENT. AS SUCH, ABDURRAHMAN, WHILE STILL EXCORIATING THE MUBARAK REGIME, HAS EXPANDED HIS RADICAL MESSAGE TO DECLARE THAT ALL ARAB AND ISLAMIC REGIMES ARE ROTTEN AND MUST BE OVERTHROWN BY FORCE. DURING HIS ABSENCE, HOWEVER, HIS GRIP ON THE IG SEEMS TO HAVE LOOSENED PERHAPS BECAUSE OTHER FIGURES HAVE SOUGHT TO EXPAND THEIR REPUTATIONS AND POWER.

20. THERE ARE RUMORS THAT ABDURRAHMAN IS COMING HOME. IF HE DOES RETURN, THE SAME GOVERNMENT WHICH LET HIM LEAVE EGYPT EVEN WHEN STATE SECURITY CHARGES WERE OUTSTANDING AGAINST HIM WILL HAVE TO DECIDE WHETHER TO DETAIN HIM. IF HE RETURNS AND IS NOT DETAINED, HE WILL STICK TO HIS MOSQUE IN AL-FAYYOUM, RENDER ADVICE TO HIS ACOLYTES, VIOLENCE WILL BE DONE IN HIS GROUP'S NAME, AND THE AUTHORITIES WILL WATCH CAREFULLY AND SOMETIMES ARREST THE PERPETRATORS. WHETHER AS SPIRITUAL OR OPERATIONAL LEADER, HOWEVER, THIS 53-YEAR-OLD DIABETIC WILL REMAIN A MAJOR THORN IN THE SIDE OF THE EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT UNTIL ECLIPSED BY ANOTHER RADICAL OR BY POOR HEALTH.

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ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR: LEADING FROM HIS CELL?
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21. THE PLOT TO KILL SADAT AND INCITE INSURRECTION IN ASSIUT IN THE WAKE OF THE ASSASSINATION MOST LIKELY OWES ITS SUCCESS TO THE PLANNING AND ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS OF ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR, A YOUNG MAJOR IN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE. IN 1979 OR 1980, ABBOUD AND HIS COUSIN TAREQ BECAME ASSOCIATES -- PERHAPS FOLLOWERS -- OF ABD AL-SALAAM FARAG, WHO TERMED HIS RADICAL SPLINTER GROUP "AL-JIHAD" (AFTER AN EARLIER ALEXANDRIA-BASED ORGANIZATION OF THE SAME NAME, HEADED BY ONE ALI IBRAHIM SALAMA; WHEN THE ALEX-BASED GROUP WAS SMASHED BY THE SECURITY AUTHORITIES, FARAG MOVED TO CAIRO AND STARTED HIS GROUP). EVEN THOUGH HE REPORTEDLY DISAGREED WITH THE TIMING OF THE EVENT, ABBOUD USED HIS RECRUITING AND ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS -- WORKING ON THE FAMILIAR EGYPTIAN BASIS OF KINSHIP TIES AND PERSONAL FRIENDSHIP -- TO DEVELOP THE STRATEGY CULMINATING IN SADAT'S MURDER. THE NUMER-TWO DEFENDANT IN THE SADAT TRIALS, ABBOUD WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT AT HARD LABOR IN 1984.

22. PARTICULARLY OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS THAT AL-ZUMOR IS PLANNING AND/OR DIRECTING ACTS OF ISLAMIC VIOLENCE FROM HIS CELL AT CAIRO'S AL-TORAH PRISON. ON TWO OCCASIONS, HIS WIFE HAS BEEN CAUGHT SMUGGLING RADICAL LITERATURE TO HIM WHICH AUTHORITIES BELIEVE WAS FOR HIS CLEARANCE BEFORE DISTRIBUTION. RADICAL ISLAMIC ATTORNEY MONTASSER AL-ZAYYAT ALSO REPORTEDLY ACTS AS MESSENGER BETWEEN AL-ZUMOR AND HIS ADMIRERS ON THE OUTSIDE. MOREOVER, IN EARLY 1991 A SEARCH OF AL-ZUMOR'S CELL REVEALED A LOOSE PAVING STONE UNDER WHICH HIS JAILERS FOUND HANDWRITTEN NOTES WHICH APPARENTLY WERE TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANTI-REGIME PAMPHLET ON THE OUTSIDE. THERE HAVE BEEN AT LEAST TWO HAGIOGRAPHIES OF HIM BASED ON LENGTHY INTERVIEWS IN PRISON. RECENTLY, WE HAVE NOTICED THAT AL-ZUMOR, SOMETIMES PURPORTING TO SPEAK FOR THE "JIHAD" AND SOMETIMES FOR "AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA," HAS SENT CONDOLENCE MESSAGES AND CONGRATULATIONS TO ISLAMIC FIGURES AND SUPPORTERS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. THE DEGREE TO WHICH AL-ZUMOR ACTUALLY IS SEEKING TO DIRECT RADICAL ACTIVITIES FROM PRISON IS DIFFICULT TO ASSESS. WHAT IS CLEAR IS THAT HE IS TRYING TO RAISE HIS PROFILE.

23. SOME OBSERVERS RELATE THE UPTICK IN AL-ZUMOR'S PUBLICITY TO ABDURRAHMAN'S ABSENCE. ONE SCHOOL OF THOUGHT HAS IT THAT AL-ZUMOR IS ABDURRAHMAN'S DISCIPLE, AND THAT IN THE SHAYKH'S ABSENCE ABBOUD IS TRYING TO HOLD THE IG TOGETHER. AN ALTERNATIVE ARGUMENT IS THAT THE TWO ARE AT LOGGERHEADS, OR AT LEAST ARE SOMETIMES RIVALS. THE LATTER IS GROUNDED IN THE EVENTS OF THE SADAT TRIALS. THE TWO COOPERATED SMOOTHLY DURING THE TIME LEADING UP TO THE KILLING, BUT AT THE TRIAL GAVE CONFLICTING TESTIMONY ABOUT THE DETAILS OF ABDURRAHMAN'S "FATWA." AL-ZUMOR, SO GOES THE STORY, TOLD HIS FELLOW CONVICTS THAT THE GREAT DR. OMAR CHICKENED OUT, THAT HE STOOD UP FOR ISLAMIC PRINCIPLE ONLY WHEN IT WAS CONVENIENT.

24. DESPITE HIS INCARCERATION, ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR HAS SEVERAL ADVANTAGES OVER ABDURRAHMAN. SHOULD CIRCUMSTANCES DEVELOP SUCH THAT THE TWO BECAME REAL RIVALS, AL-ZUMOR SHOULD HAVE THE UPPER HAND. HE IS YOUNG (FORTY-TWO) AND ROBUST. ABDURRAHMAN IS SO CORPULENT AND UNHEALTHY THAT FRIENDS AND ENEMIES ALIKE AT ONE POINT FEARED HE WOULD DIE IN PRISON. AL-ZUMOR'S MILITARY BACKGROUND IMBUED HIM WITH STRONG ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS AND PERSONAL DISCIPLINE. WHILE ABDURRAHMAN IS THE VOICE OF BLIND, VIOLENT ISLAMIC RAGE, AL-ZUMOR IS PATIENT AND METHODICAL, BUT EQUALLY DEDICATED TO AN ISLAMIC STATE. A FREED ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR WOULD POSE A SERIOUS CHALLENGE TO ABDURRAHMAN'S STATUS AS LEADER OF THE ISLAMIC RADICAL FRINGE.

25. COMMENT: WHILE THE ISLAMIC LEADERS IDENTIFIED ABOVE JOCKEY FOR POSITION, THEY ARE UNLIKELY TO POSE A SERIOUS THREAT TO THE GOVERNMENT. IF THEY BEGIN TO COOPERATE EFFECTIVELY, OR ONE OF THEM SUCCESSFULLY HARNESSES PUBLIC DISCONTENT, THE GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE TO CRACK DOWN.

EGAN

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