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The Brotherhood Breaks Down

Will the Group Survive the Latest Blow?

A man holds a poster and a sign that shows the Rabaa hand gesture, which symbolizes support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Sudan, May 22, 2015. The poster reads: "For those who facing this difficulty, be patient and endure together." Reuters

Muslim Brothers call Mahmoud Ezzat the “Iron Man.” The stoic 71-year-old deputy supreme guide earned that nickname on account of his lifelong struggle on behalf of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, including over a decade spent in Egyptian jails, during which he burnished his reputation for toughness as one of the foremost enforcers of discipline within the organization’s rigid hierarchy. Following the July 2013 ouster of Egypt’s first elected president, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, Ezzat’s legend within the organization grew as he evaded the crackdown that landed most top Brotherhood leaders in prison, and then hid within Egypt even as other Muslim Brothers fled into exile. “He has the ability to hide because he was imprisoned prior to this for about ten years,” Brotherhood youth activist Amr Farrag said during an October 2014 interview in Istanbul. “He can sit for something like five years without speaking to anyone, sitting in

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