The head of the London-based Levant Institute, Obaida Nahas, denied the existence of any conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood the Damascus Declaration (Arabic. Levant News, 4/20/06).
Nahas, who is close to the MB's Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni and was his representative at a recent London panel with members of the DD, said that the opposition has more awareness than to fall into the trap set by the regime, which is trying to sow divisions within the opposition.
He added that the MB has asserted its commitment to the Declaration, and that the document of the National Salvation Front proves this commitment. Furthermore, he said, the temporary committee of the DD has reiterated that the MB is an indivisible part of the DD.
Nahas pointed out that the opposition "was coordinating at a very high level," even when complete agreement on all things is naturally not possible, "the DD did represent the peak of consensus on shared views, which forms the basis for political coalitions." As such, "the DD was formed in order to vitalize the work of the opposition, and not to confine it, as it does not prevent its members from entering into other alliances."
He noted that the secret of the opposition's cohesion has been the constant discussion and dialogue among its members, which is the way for them to solve their differences. Nahas denied that the DD was threatened, and that is because it is not a party, "but a gathering built on democratic dialogue in order to achieve democratic change."
He further defended the Declaration rejecting any claims that it has become a tool in the hands of the regime saying, "the DD's committee has rejected the regime's security pressures, which included the arrest of various members of the committee, and the regime's demands that the committee adopt a [negative] stand vis à vis the MB, and they refused and reaffirmed that the MB was a member of the DD. That in itself is the greatest proof that the Declaration is not a tool in the hands of the regime." He added, "we in the opposition understand the slow pace of the DD's temporary committee because of these pressures, as the authorities have repeatedly prevented them from meeting and from holding public activities. But the Declaration has so far managed to remain an umbrella for all the opposition groups."