Traditional Islamism Confronts a New Actor: Syrian Brotherhood Discourses on Daa'sh
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Exiled from the Syrian political scene for thirty years, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood seized upon the chaos of the 2011 uprising as an opportunity to revive their dwindling political status in the country. While they have made impressive strides towards this goal, they were certainly not the only organization to utilize the conflict for political ends. Daa' sh-the infamously barbaric Jihadi-Salafi institution-began expanding its operations into Syria as early as 2012. Daa'sh utilizes highly publicized brutality, which continues to revitalize a public dialogue on Islamism, forcing organizations like the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to grapple with a rapidly evolving political and religious landscape. This Islamist challenge combined with the Ikhwan's struggle to unite various opposition forces has muddled the rhetorical scheme of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Add to these challenges some burgeoning internal divisions, and the result is a rhetorical blunder. In this thesis, I analyze Syrian MB public statements on Daa'sh, focusing on the rhetorical tools they rely on to respond to the political Daa'sh poses to the MB's legitimacy. I conclude by suggesting alternative rhetorical tactics the Ikhwan might use to improve their political standing.