One of the leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood planned to establish a “Revolutionary Guard” modeled after Iran’s elite military unit, Al Arabiya reported on Monday.
The report cited a former member of Al-Qaeda who spoke to an Egyptian TV channel.
The man, Mohammad Tawfic, said that Khairat al-Shater, the one-time deputy Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, planned to recruit Islamist youths who would be trained as a separate military unit rivaling Egypt’s existing army, to resemble a force similar to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards.
“Shater was planning to establish a national defense college and recruit 50 thousand youths, including 30 thousand from the Islamic movements, and 20 thousand from Al-Qaeda through [al-Qaeda chief] al-Zawahiri,” said Tawfic in an interview with Al-Mehwar, a private satellite channel.
“This college would have fresh graduates every six months and become like the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guard, pledging full loyalty to the president,” he added.
Shater was the Brotherhood’s original candidate for the presidential elections in Egypt, but was disqualified by the election commission, and the Brotherhood named Mohammed Morsi as its candidate instead.
Shortly after Morsi was toppled by the Egyptian army in July, Shater, along with most other senior Brotherhood figures were detained by the interim government’s security forces.
The already tense situation in Egypt has deteriorated in the past week, since the Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization, sparking new tensions between the military and the Brotherhood's supporters.
The government has renewed its wide-ranging crackdown on Brotherhood members and supporters since the group was designated as a terrorist organization.