US embassy cable - 85DAMASCUS1314

THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

Identifier: 85DAMASCUS1314
Wikileaks: View 85DAMASCUS1314 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Damascus
Created: 1985-02-26 15:25:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: KPRP PINS PGOV PREL PTER SY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 261525Z FEB 85
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0407
INFO AMCONSUL ADANA
AMEMBASSY AMMAN
AMEMBASSY ANKARA
AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 07 DAMASCUS 01314 
 
E.O.12356:  DECL: OADR 
TAGS:  KPRP, PINS, PGOV, PREL, PTER, SY 
SUBJECT:  THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD 
 
REF:  DAMASCUS 575 
 
1.  SECRET - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
- 
2.  SUMMARY:  THE ONLY POPULAR MOVEMENT EVER TO HAVE 
MOUNTED A SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO ASAD'S REGIME--THE 
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD--HAS NOT RECOVERED FROM ITS INTERNAL 
DIVISIONS AND THE DEVASTATING BLOW SUFFERED AT HAMA. 
THE JANUARY 25 "PARDON" ANNOUNCED FOR CERTAIN MUSLIM 
BROTHER EXILES IS FAR LESS THAN A GENERAL AMNESTY; 
PROBABLY FEW MUSLIM BROTHERS WERE INVOLVED IN NEGOTIATING 
IT AND FEW WILL BENEFIT FROM IT.  THE "PARDON" WAS USE- 
FUL TO ASAD IN BOLSTERING HIS IMAGE OF "BENEVOLENCE" 
IN THE PERIOD LEADING UP TO THE FEBRUARY 10 REFERENDUM. 
IT TESTIFIES TO THE CONTINUED WEAK STATE OF THE SYRIAN 
MUSLIM BROTHERS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
 
SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERS:  DEFEATED, DIVIDED, & DISCREDITED 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
3.  SINCE THE MASSIVE ARRESTS THAT BEGAN IN DECEMBER 
1981 AND THE DEMOLITION OF HAMA IN FEBRUARY 1982, THE 
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD HAS BEEN TAME.  IN THE INTERIM, 
ASAD'S INTERNAL PROBLEMS HAVE DERIVED FROM AN ENTIRELY 
DIFFERENT AREA--HIS OWN LAPSE OF HEALTH AND HIS BROTHER 
RIF'AT'S GRAB FOR POWER.  HAMA IS USUALLY VIEWED AS THE 
WHOLE EXPLANATION FOR THE MUSLIM BROTHERS' FALL, BUT 
THE EXPLANATION IS MORE COMPLEX. 
 
- 
4.  LONG BEFORE HAMA, IN THE SEVENTIES, THE SYRIAN 
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SPLIT INTO AT LEAST THREE "TENDENCIES." 
THERE WAS, AND STILL IS, A GROUP CENTERED AT AACHEN IN 
WEST GERMANY, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF 'ISAM AL-'ATTAR, 
WHO WAS EXILED FROM SYRIA IN 1964.  AS EARLY AS 1970 
MUSLIM BROTHERS IN SYRIA DECIDED THAT THEY NEEDED A 
LEADER CLOSER TO HOME, AND 'ATTAR HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY 
IRRELEVANT.  AT PRESENT, ACCORDING TO OUR GERMAN 
COLLEAGUES, 'ATTAR IS OLD AND AILING, HE IS STILL IN 
AACHEN, AND HE HAS BECOME ONLY A RELIGIOUS "THINKER." 
HE SEEMS NO LONGER TO HAVE MUCH OF A FOLLOWING. 
- 
 
5.  LEADERSHIP OF THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERS CAME TO BE 
DIVIDED INTO POLITICAL AND MILITARY "TENDENCIES."  THE 
POLITICAL TENDENCY WAS, AND STILL IS, LED BY A GROUP 
OF OLDER MEN (BORN IN THE TWENTIES AND THIRTIES) 
SUCH AS 'ADNAN SA'D AL-DIN, SA'ID HAWWA, AND THE AL- 
BAYANUNI BROTHERS.  THESE MEN MAY BE IN BAGHDAD OR 
THEY MAY MOVE BETWEEN BAGHDAD AND AMMAN.  THE "POLITICAL" 
GROUP FALLS INTO THE TRADITIONAL MOLD OF THE FOUNDER 
OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, THE EGYPTIAN HASAN AL-BANNA: 
MEN WHO ARE "FUNDAMENTALIST" IN WISHING TO CREATE A 
STATE BUILT ON THE KORAN BUT WHO CAN ACCEPT CERTAIN 
WESTERN HUMANISTIC AND PARLIAMENTARY IDEAS.  IN THE 
EARLY SEVENTIES, THESE MEN EMBRACED THE IDEA OF MILITARY 
OPERATIONS ("JIHAD"), IN OPPOSITION TO THE LESS 
MILITARISTIC ORIENTATION OF 'ISAM AL-'ATTAR, BUT THEY 
WERE SUBSEQENTLY UPSTAGED BY THE FAR MORE ACTIVE 
MILITARISM OF THE "MILITARY TENDENCY" THAT DEVELOPED IN 
THE MID-SEVENTIES.  (IRONICALLY, 'ATTAR IS TODAY MORE 
IDEOLOGICALLY ALLIED WITH THE MILITARY TENDENCY THAN 
THE POLITICAL TENDENCY.) 
 
6.  THE "MILITARY TENDENCY" FROM THE BEGINNING HAS BEEN 
LED BY A MUCH YOUNGER GROUP OF MEN.  SINCE ITS INCEPTION 
IN THE MID-SEVENTIES, IT HAS BEEN KNOWN AS AL-TALI'A 
AL-MUQATILA LIL-MUJAHIDIN (THE FIGHTING VANGUARD OF 
WARRIORS).  IT HAS BEEN WILLING TO RESORT TO ANY FORM 
OF TERROR (E.G., BLOWING UP THE CADETS' ARTILLERY 
SCHOOL IN ALEPPO IN 1980, WITH OVER FIFTY KILLED).  ITS 
LEADERS HAVE REJECTED WESTERN IDEAS, ANY FORM OF 
COMPROMISE WITH SECULAR MOVEMENTS, AND ANY MERCY FOR 
ALAWIS.  IN THEIR FANATICISM, THEY FORM A SUNNI ANALOGUE 
TO THE KHOMEINISTS.  THIS GROUP'S EARLY LEADERS WERE ONE 
BY ONE KILLED BY ASAD'S SECURITY FORCES WHEN 
ASAD BEGAN TO STEP UP HIS CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE MUSLIM 
BROTHERS IN 1979-80.  THE LEADER--OR "CALIPH," AS HE 
WAS CALLED BY HIS ADHERENTS--WHO SUCCEEDED THEM WAS 
'ADNAN 'UQLA (BORN 1950). 
 
7.  FOR A TIME, BEGINNING WITH THE FORMATION OF AN 
"ISLAMIC FRONT" AND THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE "MANIFESTO 
OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION OF SYRIA" IN NOVEMBER 1980 
(SIGNED BY 'ADNAN SA'D AL-DIN, SA'ID HAWWA, AND 'ALI AL- 
BAYANUNI--THE LAST NAMED AS THE ISLAMIC FRONT'S 
"SECRETARY GENERAL"), THERI WAS GREATER COOPERATION 
WITHIN THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.  'ISAM AL-'ATTAR 
JOINED THE FRONT, AND 'UQLA AND THE "POLITICAL TENDENCY" 
HELD NEGOTIATIONS TO TRY TO PATCH UP THIIR DIFFERENCES. 
IT APPEARS THAT THEY MAY EVEN HAVE COORDINATED TO TRY 
TO EFFECT A COUP AGAINST ASAD, WHICH THEY FORESAW 
WOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY MASS UPRISINGS THROUGHOUT THE 
COUNTRY.  (THEY ALSO HOPED FOR EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE-- 
FROM IRAQ, IN PARTICULAR.)  THE MUSLIM BROTHERS 
APPARENTLY HAD SYMPATHIZERS IN MANY QUARTERS OF THE 
REGIME, INCLUDING IN HIGH PLACES IN THE ARMED FORCES. 
PRESS REPORTING OF THE PERIOD SUGGESTS THAT COORDINATION 
AND PLANNING WERE, HOWEVER, LACKING.  ASAD'S SECURITY 
FORCES GOT WIND OF THE PLOTTING AND BEGAN A MAJOR 
ARREST CAMPAIGN BY THE END OF 1981.  FOUR HUNDRED OFFICERS 
WERE REPORTEDLY ARRESTED IN JANUARY, 1982.  BY THE TIME 
ASAD'S MEN LOCATED THE MUSLIM BROTHERS' HEADQUARTERS IN 
HAMA, ON FEBRUARY 2, 1.82, ASAD'S MEN HAD PROBABLY 
ALREADY BROKEN THE BACK OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERS' 
INFRASTRUCTURE WITHIN THE REGIME.  THE MUSLIM BROTHERS 
IN HAMA, FORCED TO MAKE A STAND OR FACE ARREST AND 
EXECUTION, OVERWHELMED THE ARMED FORCE THAT ASAD 
ORGINALLY SENT IN TO HAMA, AND A SIEGE OF SEVERAL WEEKS 
ENSUED, RESULTING IN THOUSANDS OF DEATHS.  ( A TALI'A 
SOURCE IN SEPTEMBER 1982 CLAIMED THAT 6,000 OF ASAD'S 
FORCES, 400 "MUJAHIDIN," AND 15,000 CIVILIANS WERE 
KILLED.  MORE RECENTLY, SYRIANS ARE WONT TO CITE VERY 
MUCH HIGHER FIGURES.) 
 
8.  TALI'A AND THE "POLITICAL TENDENCY" HAD ALREADY 
BROKEN OFF THEIR NEGOTIATIONS IN DECEMBER 1981, AT 
THE TIME WHEN THE MAJOR ARRESTS HAD BEGUN, TWO MONTHS 
BEFORE HAMA.  HAMA ITSELF, THEREFORE, WAS NOT THE CAUSE 
OF THE FINAL RUPTURE, ALTHOUGH THERE IS STRONG FEELING 
AMONG THE "POLITICAL TENDENCY" THAT THE TALI'A BOTCHED 
THE JOB IN HAMA.  THE RUPTURE BECAME OFFICIAL WHEN THE 
"POLITICAL TENDENCY" JOINED THE NEWLY CONSTITUTED 
"NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR THE LIBERATION OF SYRIA" IN 
MARCH 1982, WITH NINETEEN OTHER OPPOSITION MOVEMENTS 
OR INDIVIDUALS,MOST OF THEM SECULAR AND CENTERED IN 
IRAQ.  SA'D AL-DIN REPRESENTS THE ISLAMIC FRONT IN THE 
NATIONAL ALLIANCE, WHICH INCLUDES THE PRO-IRAQI WING 
OF THE SYRIAN BA'TH PARTY (MICHEL 'AFLAQ), THE ARAB 
SOCIALIST MOVEMENT (LED BY 'AFLAQ'S ERSTWHILE ALLY 
AKRAM AL-HAWRANI), NASSERISTS, AND INDIVIDUALS SUCH AS 
FORMER SYRIAN DICTATOR AMIN AL-HAFIZ. 
 
9.  THE FORMATION OF THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE SIGNALED 
HOW FAR THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD HAD FALLEN.  NOT ONLY HAD 
IT LOST MUCH OF ITS INFRASTRUCTURE PLANTED IN THE REGIME 
AND MUCH OF ITS FIGHTING FORCE, IT HAD BECOME 
IRRECONCILABLY SPLIT AND THE POLITICAL WING HAD SULLIED 
ITSELF BY ASSOCIATING WITH GROUPS ALIEN TO THE IDEA OF AN 
ISLAMIC STATE AND BY PUTTING ITSELF SQUARELY INTO THE 
GRIP OF THE IRAQI REGIME.  IT IS LITTLE WONDER THAT IN 
THE PERIOD AFTER THOSE DEVASTATING MONTHS, DECEMBER 1981 
TO MARCH 1982, THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE OR NO  TERRORIST 
ACTIVITY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN 
SYRIA, AND INDEED, LITTLE APPARENT POLITICAL ACTIVITY. 
(THE ISRAELI INVASION OF LEBANON IN JUNE 1982 WAS 
ALSO A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR, SINCE THAT INVASION HAD 
THE EFFECT OF BINDING THE SYRIAN POPULACE AGAINST THE 
PERCEIVED ENEMY, AND MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ACTIVITY--EVEN 
LEAVING ASIDE THE DISCREDITING TRAUMA OF HAMA--WOULD 
HAVE FOUND LESS POPULAR SYMPATHY THAN NORMALLY.) 
 
10.  IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD 
HAS EVER RECEIVED EXTENSIVE EXTERNAL SUPPORT.  WITH 
ITS INTERNAL STRUCTURE DISRUPTED AND ITS NAME BLACKENED 
AMONG ITS OWN PURISTS AND AMONG THE SYRIAN POPULACE AT 
LARGE, IT PRESUMABLY HAS HAD TO LOOK EVEN MORE ACTIVELY 
FOR EXTERNAL SUPPORT.  HOWEVER, THERE ARE FUNDAMENTAL 
CONSTRAINTS THAT CAUSE US TO BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE NOT 
HAD GREAT SUCCESS: 
 
--SECULAR, BA'THI IRAQ WELCOMED AT LEAST SOME OF THE 
LEADERS OF THE POLITICAL   TENDENCY "WITH OPEN ARMS." 
BUT IT CLOSED THE DOOR TO THE TALI'A.  ('UQLA COULD NOT 
FIND REFUGE THERE.  ACCORDING TO SOME REPORTS HE WAS 
ARRESTED WHEN TRYING TO SNEAK BACK INTO SYRIA EITHER 
IN 1983 OR 1984; HE HAS NOT BEEN HEARD FROM RECENTLY.) 
A JORDANIAN COLLEAGUE SAYS THAT IRAQ "MAY BE" TRAINING 
THE MUSLIM BROTHERS NOW, BUT ON A LIMITED BASIS.  THE 
IRAQI REGIME APPARENTLY WILL NOT COUNTENANCE 
ANY OPERATIONS NOT TOTALLY UNDER ITS CONTROL. 
 
--JORDAN MAINTAINS AN INTELLIGENCE LINK TO THE BROTHER- 
HOOD AND REPORTEDLY ALLOWS ALL FACTIONS OF THE SYRIAN 
MUSLIM BROTHERS FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT, BUT IT WOULD BE 
EXTREMELY NERVOUS ABOUT ANY OPERATION AGAINST SYRIA, 
WHICH WAS SEEN TO BE PLANNED OR TAKE PLACE FROM JORDAN. 
IT APPARENTLY GIVES LITTLE ACTIVE ASSISTANCE, AND IT IS 
SUSPICIOUS OF ALL MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ACTIVITY. 
 
--ARAFAT'S PLO HAS A LONG HISTORY OF COOPERATION WITH 
THE MUSLIM BROTHERS (ONE OF MANY REASONS FOR ASAD'S 
ANTIPATHY), BUT ARAFAT'S ABILITY TO BE HELPFUL IS PROBABLY 
NOT VERY GREAT.  ARAFAT AND OTHER FOUNDERS OF FATAH WERE 
THEMSELVES MUSLIM BROTHERS , AND FEDAYEEN AND MUSLIM 
BROTHERS TRAINED TOGETHER IN JORDAN BEFORE THE 1970 
CIVIL WAR.  MORE RECENTLY, ARAFAT AND SHAYKH SHA'BAN, 
TAWHID LEADER IN TRIPOLI, LEBANON, WERE CLOSE ALLIES 
UNTIL ARAFAT WAS DRIVEN OUT IN DECEMBER 1983.  (SHA'BAN, 
WE BELIEVE, IS A MUSLIM BROTHER, AND SOME OF THE SYRIAN 
MUSLIM BROTHERS WHO FLED AFTER HAMA TOOK REFUGE IN 
TRIPOLI AND FORM A PART OF THE TAWHID.)  ARAFAT'S DIRECT 
ASSISTANCE--AT LEAST IN THE FORM OF ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT 
IN ORGANIZATION AND TRAINING--WAS PROBABLY DISRUPTED 
BY HIS OUSTER FROM TRIPOLI AND WE ARE UNCERTAIN AS TO 
THE DEGREE OF CONTINUING COOPERATION. 
 
--IRAN IS ANATHEMA TO THE POLITICAL TENDECY, BOTH 
BECAUSE OF ITS SUPPORT FOR THE ASAD/ALAWI REGIME 
AND BECAUSE OF THE POLITICAL TENDENCY'S ASSOCIATION 
WITH IRAQ.  IRAN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH TALI'A IS MORE 
NUANCED.  TALI'A REVILES IRAN FOR ITS SUPPORT FOR ASAD, 
BUT THERE IS A COMMON FANATICISM AND THERE MAY BE A 
REALIZATION WITH THE TALI'A THAT IRAN'S RELATIONSHIP 
WITH ASAD IS PURELY TACTICAL AND THEREFORE THAT IRAN 
IS NOT "BEYOND REDEMPTION." 
 
--SAUDI ARABIA IS SIMILARLY REVILED FOR ITS ENORMOUS 
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO THE ASAD REGIME,  BUT WE HEAR 
PERSISTENT RUMORS THAT RIYADH HAS ALSO PROVIDED 
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND REFUGE TO CERTAIN OF THE 
MUSLIM BROTHERS.  SAUDI DIPLOMATIC CONTACTS HERE 
STOUTLY DENY ANY ASSOCIATION WITH ANY SYRIAN MUSLIM 
BROTHERS, AVERRING THAT THEY WOULD HAVE NOTHING TO GAIN 
AND MUCH TO LOSE.  ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE ARE ALMOST 
CERTAINLY MUSLIM BROTHERS IN MECCA, WHOSE PRESENCE IS 
TOLERATED BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGIOUS UNDERPINNINGS AND 
TIES TO THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT. 
 
 
THE "PARDON":  PUBLICITY PLOY AND SIGN OF BROTHERHOOD 
WEAKNESS 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
11.  INTO THE APPARENT  THREE-YEAR VOID IN 
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ACTIVITY, ASAD HAS NOW INJECTED HIS 
LIMITED PARDON OF JANUARY 25.  SOME SYRIANS AND 
DIPLOMATIC COLLEAGUES HAVE EXPRESSED SURPRISE TO US 
THAT ASAD DID NOT MAKE SOME "GRAND GESTURE" SOME MONTHS 
AGO, BEGINNING AT THE TIME OF HIS RECOVERY IN HEALTH 
AND RIF'AT'S EXILE.  HOWEVER, ASAD PROBABLY NEEDED ALL 
OF 1984 TO BUILD BACK FROM THE CRISIS BROUGHT ON BY 
HIS HEART ATTACK, AS SHOWN BY HIS CONTINUAL DEFERRAL 
OF THE EIGHTH REGIONAL CONGRESS. 
 
- 
12.  THE "PARDON" IS FAR FROM A GENERAL AMNESTY: 
 
--IT DECLARES:  "CONTACTS HAVE RECENTLY BEEN HELD 
BETWEEN US AND THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD VANGUARD ORGANIZA- 
TION (TANZIM AL'TALI'A) LEADERSHIP ABROAD."  THE NAME, 
"TANZIM AL'TALI'A," IS NOT THE SAME AS "AL-TALI'A AL- 
MUQATILA LIL -MUJAHIDIN," THE OFFICIAL NAME THAT HAS 
ALWAYS BEEN EMPLOYED BY THE "MILITARY TENDENCY." 
 
--"ABROAD" IMPLIES THAT THE AMNESTY IS INTENDED ONLY FOR 
EXILES, NOT FOR MUSLIM BROTHERS IN PRISON IN SYRIA. 
(A TALI'A SPOKESMAN IN 1982 CLAIMED THAT THERE WERE 
10,000  MUSLIM BROTHERS IN JAIL IN SYRIA.  ALL OF OUR 
INTERLOCUTORS ON THE SUBJECT ASSERT THAT THERE ARE 
"THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS" OF SYRIANS IN JAIL, ACCUSED 
OF BEING OR ASSOCIATING WITH MUSLIM BROTHERS, DATING 
FROM THE LATE SEVENTIES BUT ESPECIALLY FROM THE HAMA 
PERIOD.  INDEED, IT IS COMMON TO MEET SYRIANS WHO HAVE 
SOME FAMILY MEMBER, OR WHO KNOW OTHERS WHO HAVE SOME 
FAMILY MEMBER, IN JAIL UNDER ACCUSATIONS RELATING TO 
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.  10,000 SEEMS A FAIR ESTIMATE-- 
AND A VERY LARGE NUMBER FOR A SMALL COUNTRY.) 
 
--IT DECLARES THAT "THIS LEADERSHIP" HAS EXPRESSED "NEW 
CONVICTIONS" RECOGNIZING THE PERFIDY OF THE "PLOT 
CONCOCTED AGAINST SYRIA" BY "THOSE TRADING IN THE NAME 
OF RELIGION."  THIS FORMULATION SUGGESTS THAT MUSLIM 
FANATICS--IF INDEED THE TALI'A--HAD A CHANGE OF HEART, 
INCLUDING A RECOGNITION THAT THEIR PREVIOUS ACTS 
AGAINST THE ASAD REGIME IN THE NAME OF ISLAM WERE 
ACTUALLY CONTRARY TO ISLAM. 
 
--IT DECLARES THAT "THIS LEADERSHIP" HAS EXPRESSED, IN 
ITS NAME AND "THE NAME OF MANY OF THE BROTHERHOOD 
BASES," THE DESIRE TO "RETURN TO THE HOMELAND" AND THAT 
"THIS PARDON WILL BE APPLICABLE TO EVERYONE WHO 
RETURNS TO HIS HOMELAND WITH AN OPEN HEART."  IT 
SUGGESTS, THUS, THAT THE PARDON--WHILE ONLY ADDRESSED TO 
EXILES--IS SOMEHOW ADDRESSED NOT TO ONE GROUP ONLY, 
BUT TO ALL BROTHERHOOD "BASES" AND "EVERYONE" WHO 
SOMEHOW "PROVES" HIS ALLEGIANCE AND CHANGE OF HEART. 
 
--FINALLY, IT DECLARES THAT "SOME OF THESE CITIZENS 
HAVE ALREADY RETURNED" UNDER A "SPECIAL PARDON FROM 
HAFIZ AL-ASAD." 
 
13.  ON THE VERY SAME DAY AS THIS "PARDON," THE FINAL 
DECLARATION OF THE EIGHTH REGIONAL CONGRESS WAS ISSUED, 
CARRYING AN ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT MESSAGE.  DURING THE 
CONGRESS, WE HAD HEARD THAT TWO "SECRET" SESSIONS 
DEALT WITH THE ISSUE OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND 
THESE REPORTS WERE BORNE OUT IN THE FINAL DECLARATION. 
 
--"DURING ITS STUDY OF THE DOMESTIC SITUATION, THE 
CONGRESS DISCUSSED THE PLOT OF THE AGENT MUSLIM 
BROTHERHOOD GANG, WHICH HAS SOUGHT TO IMPLEMENT THE 
PLANS OF IMPERIALISM AND SOME OF ITS TOOLS IN THE 
REGION THROUGH BASES OF SUPPORT, SUPPLIES, TRAINING, 
AND HELP FROM JORDAN AND IRAQ.  THE CONGRESS ALSO 
REVIEWED THE MEASURES TAKEN TO LIQUIDATE THAT AGENT 
GANG AND TO PURSUE ITS ELEMENTS...IT PRAISED THE MEASURES 
EXERTED...TO LIQUIDATE THIS GANG AND TO FOIL THE 
IMPERIALIST-ZIONIST SCHEMES IT WAS IMPLEMENTING." 
 
- 
THERE IS NOT A WORD OF LENIENCY IN THIS FORMULATION.  IN 
EFFECT, IT IS A STATEMENT THAT IMPLIES THAT HAMA WAS 
NECESSARY, THE REGIME IS NOT SORRY ABOUT IT, AND IT 
WILL DO IT AGAIN IF NECESSARY. 
 
14.  THUS THIS "PARDON" IS HIGHLY SUSPECT ON SEVERAL 
COUNTS: 
 
--IT DOES NOT ADDRESS THE THOUSANDS OF MUSLIM BROTHERS 
WHO ARE IN PRISON.  IT IS DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE VERY 
MANY MUSLIM BROTHER EXILES BEING LURED BACK TO  SYRIA 
WITHOUT A DEMONSTRATION THAT OTHERS, NOT SO FORTUNATE 
TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FLEE, WOULD NOT ALSO BE FORGIVEN. 
IN FACT, THERE HAVE BEEN A FEW REPORTS THAT SOME OF 
THOSE IN PRISON--A "SMALL NUMBER," OR "MORE THAN A 
HUNDRED," OR "FIVE HUNDRED"--HAVE BEEN RELEASED 
(ACCORDING TO ONE REPORT, MOST OF THESE WERE WOMEN). 
ON THE OTHER HAND, MOST OF OUR CONTACTS KNOW OF NO 
PROGRESS WHATSOEVER ON RELEASE OF MUSLIM BROTHERS, AND 
THEIR INQUIRIES INTO THE FATE OF RELATIVES CONTINUE 
TO MEET THE SAME DEADLY SILENCE AS HAS PREVAILED FOR 
THREE YEARS.  BY THE MOST OPTIMISTIC ACCOUNT, THERE 
SCARCELY SEEMS TO DE THE KIND OF DEMONSTRATION OF 
"GOOD INTENTIONS" THAT MUSLIM BROTHERS WITH A HEALTHY 
INSTINCT FOR SELF-PRESERVATION WOULD REQUIRE BEFORE 
CONTEMPLATING A RETURN TO SYRIA.  (THE REGIME WOULD HAVE 
A MAJOR PROBLEM IN GRANTING A GENERAL AMNESTY.  MANY 
OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERS WHO WERE IMPRISONED HAVE 
UNDOUBTEDLY "DISAPPEARED"--ACCORDING TO ONE REPORT, 
SEVERAL WERE INTENTIONALLY "RELEASED" FROM PALMYRA 
PRISON AND THEN HUNTED DOWN AND KILLED--AND OTHERS 
TORTURED TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE 
"PRESENTABLE" TO THE PUBLIC.) 
 
--THE "PARDON" IS EXTREMELY VAGUE ON HOW AN EXILE IS 
MEANT TO "PROVE" HIS SINCERITY AND ALLEGIANCE, ANOTHER 
FACTOR THAT WOULD DISSUADE "HOMESICK" EXILES. 
 
--IT TALKS ABOUT THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD VANGUARD 
ORGANIZATION LEADERSHIP ABROAD, RATHER THAN THE LEADER- 
SHIP OF THE FIGHTING VANGUARD OF THE WARRIORS. 
"VANGUARD" (TALI'A) IS A COMMONLY USED CATCHWORD IN 
SYRIAN POLITICAL PARLANCE.  THE SYRIANS THUS MAY NOT BE 
REFERRING TO THE SAME GROUP; THEY MAY EVEN BE 
INTENTIONALLY USING PART OF THE NAME IN AN EFFORT TO 
DISCREDIT THE "MILITARY TENDENCY" FURTHER.  IT IS 
NOTEWORTHY THAT IF 'ADNAN 'UQLA, THE TALI'A "CALIPH," 
IS IN FACT IN A SYRIAN PRISON, THE SYRIANS HAVE 
SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED HIM IN THEIR FORMULATION. 
 
--FINALLY, THE VERY NATURE OF THE SYRIAN MUSLIM 
BROTHERS--AND ESPECIALLY THE WELL-KNOWN FANATICISM OF 
THE TALI'A--IS SUCH AS TO SUGGEST THAT VERY FEW OF THEIR 
MEMBERS, MUCH LESS THEIR LEADERS, WOULD ACCEPT THE 
HUMILIATION OF KOWTOWING TO HAFIZ AL-ASAD. 
 
15.  NEVERTHELESS,  WE HAVE HAD A NUMBER OF REPORTS THAT 
SYRIAN SECURITY OFFICIALS DID CONDUCT NEGOTIATIONS WITH 
REPRESENTATIVES OF AN ORGANIZATION CALLING ITSELF 
"TALI'A"--MEANT TO BE THE TALI'A OF 'ADNAN 'UQLA--A 
PROCESS THAT SUPPOSEDLY BEGAN WITH THE INTERVENTION OF 
SA'ID SHA'BAN AND POSSIBLY THE IRANIANS.  WE EVEN HAVE 
A REPORT THAT SOME "FEW HUNDRED" TALI'A MEMBERS HAVE 
RETURNED TO SYRIA FROM REFUGE IN SAUDI ARABIA, THANKS 
TO THE INTERVENTION OF CROWN PRINCE 'ABDALLAH, WHEN HE 
WAS IN DAMASCUS JANUARY 21-FEBRUARY 1 (AND POSSIBLY 
ALSO DURING HIS SEPTEMBER 1984 VISIT), AND THAT TALI'A 
MAY EVEN JOIN THE SYRIAN "NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE FRONT"* 
 
- 
16.  IF THESE REPORTS HAVE ANY TRUTH TO THEM, THEY 
ARE THE STRONGEST INDICATION YET OF THE LOW STATE TO 
WHICH THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERS HAVE FALLEN.  IN 
SEPTEMBER 1982, AN UNNAMED SPOKESMAN FOR TALI'A, IN 
AN INTERVIEW WITH LE MATIN, POINTED A FINGER AT THE 
"POLITICAL TENDENCY," DISDAINFULLY ACCUSING ITS LEADERS 
(SA'D AL-DIN ET AL) OF BEING ON THE VERGE OF JOINING A 
COALITION WITH ASAD.  NOW IT MAY BE THAT TALI'A ITSELF, 
OR SOME ELEMENTS IN IT, HAVE DONE JUST THAT. 
 
17.  GIVEN THE RELIABILITY OF THESE RECENT REPORTS, WE 
ARE INCLINED TO BELIEVE THAT A SMALL OR FRINGE ELEMENT 
OF THE TALI'A, OR AN ELEMENT OF MUSLIM BROTHERS WHO 
HAVE ASSUMED  THE NAME, HAS ENGAGED IN THESE NEGOTIA- 
TIONS WITH THE SYRIANS.  THE SHA'BAN CONNECTION IS 
PLAUSIBLE--INDEED, OUR SAUDI AND JORDANIAN DIPLOMATIC 
CONTACTS HERE, WITHOUT PROMPTING, INDICATED TO US THAT 
THERE WERE NUMEROUS "MEN FROM TRIPOLI" MILLING ABOUT 
IN DAMASCUS IN THE WEEKS BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF 
THE "PARDON," AND THEY BELIEVE "TRIPOLI" WAS WHAT IT 
WAS ALL ABOUT.  A SWEDISH DIPLOMAT HERE, A LONG-TIME 
FOLLOWER OF THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERS (APPARENTLY 
THERE ARE MANY OF THEM IN SWEDEN), INFORMS US ALSO 
THAT HE HAD HEARD, AT THE TIME OF SHA'BAN'S REMARK- 
ABLE VISIT TO DAMASCUS IN SEPTEMBER 1984, THAT SHA'BAN 
HAD RAISED THE ISSUE OF THE RETURN TO SYRIA OF SOME 
OF THE SYRIAN MUSLIM BROTHERS WHO HAD TAKEN REFUGE 
IN TRIPOLI.  (THE SWEDE ALSO SAYS THAT SHA'BAN, A 
MORTAL ENEMY OF ASAD, ONLY AGREED TO COME TO DAMASCUS, 
AT IRANIAN PRESIDENT KHAMENEI'S URGING, WHEN 
KHAMENEI AGREED TO KEEP AN IRANIAN MINISTER IN TRIPOLI 
AND ASAD AGREED TO SEND A HIGH-RANKING SYRIAN OFFICIAL 
TO TRIPOLI AS GUARANTORS OF SHA'BAN'S SAFE RETURN.) 
SA'ID SHA'BAN MADE HIS SECOND VISIT TO SYRIA ON 
FEBRUARY 20, THOUGH WE HAVE NOT YET HEARD THAT THE 
LATTER VISIT HAD A MUSLIM BROTHERS CONNECTION. 
 
18.  THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE "PARDON" FOR MUSLIM 
BROTHERS FORMED A PART OF THE PRE-REFERENDUM 
PUBLICITY BUILD-UP.  IT IS CLEAR THAT ASAD WANTED TO 
GO INTO THE REFERENDUM WITH HIS "RELIGIOUS FLANK" AS 
WELL COVERED AS POSSIBLE.  IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO 
THE REFERENDUM ON FEBRUARY 10, FOR EXAMPLE, THE PRESS 
WAS REPLETE WITH HEADLINES OF ACCLAIM FOR ASAD FROM 
EACH OF THE PRINCIPAL RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN SYRIA, 
INCLUDING EVEN A JOINT MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN DECLARATION. 
ASAD HAS ALWAYS BEEN CAREFUL TO APPEAR TO BE A DEVOUT 
MUSLIM--DESPITE BEING AN ALAWI AND THUS DESPISED BY 
DEVOUT MUSLIMS--AND HE HAS ALWAYS TROTTED OUT CHRISTIAN 
LEADERS AT TIMES WHEN IT WAS IMPORTANT TO DEMONSTRATE 
NATIONAL UNITY; BUT WE HAVE NEVER SEEN QUITE SO MUCH OF 
IT ALL AT ONCE. 
 
19.  BUT HIS NEED FOR THIS "PARDON" AT THIS TIME GOES 
DEEPER.  HAMA CONTINUES AS A VERY PRESENT, VERY 
HORRIBLE NATIONAL MEMORY.  NOTHING LIKE HAMA HAD EVER 
OCCURRED IN LIVING MEMORY.  (JAMAL PASHA'S HUPPRESSION 
OF CHRISTIAN MINORITIES INVOLVED TURKISH BUTCHERY 
OF CHRISTIANS, MOSTLY ARMENIANS AND MARONITES--THUS 
THIS IS NOT A MEMORY OF SYRIANS BUTCHERING FELLOW 
SYRIANS.)  WE BELIEVE THAT ASAD SOUGHT TO GO INTO HIS 
THIRD TERM "CLEANSED," WITH THE HORROR OF HAMA PUT 
BEHIND HIM.  AT THE SAME TIME, THE MEMORY OF HAMA HAS 
ITS UTILITY, IN REMINDING THE PEOPLE THAT ASAD IS 
WILLING TO BE UNIMAGINABLY TOUGH WHEN HE HAS TO BE. 
THUS, HE GAVE DOUBLE, APPARENTLY CONTRADICTORY 
MESSAGES--THE "PARDON," AND THE EIGHTH CONGRESS FINAL 
DECLARATION ON THE SAME DAY STRESSING CONTINUED TOUGH- 
NESS.  INDEED, THE "PARDON" IS ALSO QUITE TOUGH IN 
ITS CONDEMNATION OF THOSE "TRADING IN THE NAME OF 
RELIGION" AND "DISTORTING  THE NOBLE RELIGION." 
ASAD SEEKS TO GIVE AN IMAGE OF BEING "BENEVOLENT," 
"TOUGH," AND THE "UPHOLDER OF RELIGION" (THOUGH ALAWI) 
ALL AT THE SAME TIME. 
 
- 
20.  NOTE:  POST WOULD WELCOME CRITICISMS AND 
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STUDY FROM DEPARTMENT, CIA, AND 
DIA, AND EMBASSIES BAGHDAD, AMMAN, AND RIYADH.  OUR 
OWN HISTORICAL SOURCES ARE EXTREMELY LIMITED. 
 
21.  BEIRUT MINIMIZE CONSIDERED.  EAGLETON 

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