Trump administration mulls designating Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

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US President Donald Trump (L) stands with Trump National Security Adviser Lt. General Michael Flynn (R) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is holding meetings on December 21, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON

The administrative team of Donald Trump is debating whether or not the United States should declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and thus subject it to US sanctions, Reuters reported on Thursday.

According to US officials and people close to President Trump’s transition team, a faction in the Trump administration led by Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor, wants to add the Brotherhood to the State Department and US Treasury lists of foreign terrorist organizations.

“I know it has been discussed. I’m in favor of it,” said a Trump transition advisor, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The advisor told Reuters that Flynn’s team discussed adding the group to the US list of terrorist groups but said it was ultimately unclear when or even if the administration ultimately would go ahead with such a move.

However, some members of the Trump administration also worry that a US move to designate the entire Brotherhood a terrorist group would complicate relations with Turkey, a key American ally in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, and led by the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Reuters said.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the country’s oldest Islamist movement, was designated as a terrorist organization in that country in 2013.

Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Egypt were strained after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian army, led a military intervention ousting Morsi in 2013. Since then Turkey has refused to engage with Sisi, who was elected president a year later.

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