Tensions Grow Between Hamas And Syria


Middle Eastern media is reporting on what are described as growing tensions between Hamas and the Syrian regime as well as assertions of an unusual criticism of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi by a Hamas political leader. According to a report on the Albawaba website:

The London-based al Hayat newspaper reported on Wednesday that the relations between the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” and the Syrian authorities have been severely strained over the first’s position regarding the Syrian uprising. The paper quoted source as saying that all the leading officials of Hamas except its Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshal have already left Damascus to other countries. Hamas’s second in command abroad Moussa Abu Marzouk, left Damascus to Amman. His presence in the Jordanian capital is conditional for not having any political or media activity. The source pointed out that a decision by Meshal to leave Syria is yet to be taken. According to the reports, there have been talks with a number of countries led by Jordan in order to receive Meshal. According to the source, the personal tension started as the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began when Meshal proposed the Syrian leader to reform. Later, Meshal asked for a meeting with Assad, but was refused. After that, Meshal paid a secret visit to Beirut and met with Secretary General of Hizbullah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and asked him to intervene to advise the Syrian leadership regarding the need to respond rapidly to the demands of the demonstrators. Meshal said Hamas could not stand by the Syrian regime amid the bloodshed. Nasrallah promised d Meshaal he would try to arrange him a meeting with Assad. However, asrallah failed to arrange this meeting. Following the tensions with Syria, Iran appeared to enter the frame by applying pressures on Hamas, including suspending financial aid that was delivered each month to the Palestinian movement. This Iranian move led to a financial crisis in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Hamas has denied comments attributed to Meshal, criticizing Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi over the Syrian uprising. The Palestinian movement said in a statement on Wednesday, the reports by some media were “totally fabricated and unfounded.” The Association of Syrian radio and television has reported that Meshal expressed his disappointment and surprise over Qaradawi’s support of the Syrian revolt. It quoted Mashal as saying that in past years President Bashar al-Assad was the only Arab ruler to protect and support Palestinian rights.

An earlier post reported on a fatwa (Islamic ruling) signed by Qaradawi that called the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad “heretical.”

Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.

The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations. In 2007,  a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and in 2008, an Israeli TV station reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” had traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel. Anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incitement in Hamas media is commonly reported.

A U.K. media report indicated that Hamas was considering whether or not to pull its leadership out of Syria.

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