Reuters is reporting that Iran has cut back or possibly even stopped its funding of Hamas in retaliation for the group’s failure to show support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to the report:
Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:16am EDT (Reuters) – Iran has cut back or even stopped its funding of Hamas after the Islamist movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, failed to show public support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, diplomats said on Sunday. Hamas has denied that it is in financial crisis but says it faces liquidity problems stemming from inconsistent revenues from tax collection in the Gaza Strip and foreign aid. The movement is spurned by the West over its refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence. It receives undisclosed sums of cash from Iran, which has acknowledged providing financial and political support to Hamas. One diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said intelligence reports showed that Iran had reduced funding for Hamas. Other diplomatic sources, also relying on intelligence assessments, said the payments had stopped over the past two months. The diplomats cited Iran’s displeasure over Hamas’ refusal to hold rallies in support of Tehran’s ally, Assad, in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria after an uprising against his rule. Hamas’ leadership outside the Gaza Strip is headquartered in Damascus. Hamas is also widely believed to receive money from the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most popular and organized political force. Diplomats said those payments also may have been reduced because the Brotherhood has diverted funds to support the so-called Arab Spring revolts. In a sign of a cash crunch, the Hamas government in Gaza has failed to pay the July salaries of its 40,000 employees in the civil service and security forces. Hamas leaders promised full payments in August, but not all employees received their wages as scheduled on Sunday. In 2010, Hamas put its Gaza budget at $540 million, with local revenues from taxes on merchants and on goods brought in from Israel and through smuggling tunnels under the Egyptian border accounting for only $55 million.
As the report notes, Hamas receives funding from the Global Muslim Brotherhood at least in part through the Union of Good, described in a NEFA Foundation report as:
..a coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. It is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was recently designated a terrorist entity by the United States, although neither Youssef Qaradawi nor any of the Trustees were similarly designated. Despite the fact that action has been taken against some of its member organizations in Europe, many of its other European member organizations continue to operate. Further, the Union of Good itself does not appear to be under investigation in Europe.
If the report is correct, one country that might be able and inclined to pick up the slack is Turkey. A recent report from the Jerusalem Center for Public (JCPA) that concluded:
The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.
The JCPA report also documented how MUSIAD, a highly influential Islamist business organization close to the Erdogan government, likely played a key role in the funding of the first Gaza Flotilla.