The Muslim Brotherhood is a hierarchical organization suffering a debilitating leadership vacuum. Now, the organization has to reinvent itself while most of its top cadres are in exile, dead, or in jail.

Years after being forced to become a transnational organization because of its leadership’s expulsion from Egypt, the Brotherhood is now at an even more complex crossroads. Its old strategies for managing its relationship with the Egyptian state, and maintaining a quasi-clandestine presence in Egypt, are no longer relevant.

Abdelrahman Ayyash explains the power struggles and inchoate efforts to create a coherent strategy among the Brotherhood’s fragmented leadership after the 2013 coup and subsequent crackdown. The Brotherhood has been riven by power struggles and fundamental debates over resources, its international orientation, and the use of violence. This leadership crisis has hobbled the Brotherhood.

This is the fourth episode of Broken Bonds, a five-part special season of the Order From Ashes podcast. The first episode charted Abdelrahman Ayyash’s personal coming of age in a Brotherhood milieu. In the second episode, Ayyash, Noha Khaled, and Amr ElAfifi mapped how the crises of identity, legitimacy, and membership simultaneously explain the organization’s weaknesses and its staying power. In the third episode, Khaled dissected the identity crisis that has defined the Brotherhood since its establishment. The fifth and final episode of Broken Bonds explores the crisis of membership and the implications for policy.

Broken Bonds explores the evolution of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood from the apex of its power, when it won Egypt’s presidency in 2012, to the organization’s disarray and marginalization today.

The podcast season is a companion to a new book, Broken Bonds: The Existential Crisis of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, 2013–22, published in February 2023 by TCF Press. Broken Bonds is part of “Faith and Fracture,” a TCF project supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.


  • Abdelrahman Ayyash, fellow, Century International
  • Thanassis Cambanis, director, Century International