Reuters is reporting that Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has left for a tour of Iran and the Gulf States in a continuation of his recent grand tour of Arab and Muslim countries. According to the report:
GAZA(Reuters) – The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, left Monday for a tour of Iran and Gulf states, continuing a diplomatic drive to realign the Palestinian Islamist movement after a year of political change in the Arab world. Non-Arab Iran, along with its Arab ally Syria, have been principal backers of Hamas. Iran has supplied funds and – according to Israel – weapons to use against the Jewish state. Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nono said Haniyeh, who travels via Egypt since Israel bars other exits from Gaza, was going to Tehran at the invitation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But he gave no details of the agenda for talks in Tehran. The upheavals across the Middle East are obliging the Palestinians and their rival political movements, Hamas and Fatah, to review alliances – though how Hamas may adjust its strategies, or its stance toward Israel, is far from clear. Among Hamas’s challenges is financing. A diplomatic source told Reuters that Iran had funded Hamas in the past with up to $300 million per year, but the flow of money had not been regular in 2011. “Payment has been in suspension since August,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Iran is under tough international economic sanctions over suspicions, which it denies, that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons in violation of international agreements. Analysts and diplomatic sources say Iran is unhappy with Hamas for its refusal to offer public support to its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has hosted the Hamas leadership in exile in his capital Damascus for the past decade. Diplomatic and intelligence sources say Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal no longer spends much time in Syria, where over 5,000 people have been killed in 10 months of conflict. In a Middle East increasingly divided on sectarian lines between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim powers, Meshaal appears politically embarrassed by finding his group, which like most Palestinians is Sunni, hosted by a Syrian government dominated by Assad and his Alawite minority, whose sect has its roots in the Shi’ite Islam practised in non-Arab Iran. Tehran’s other Arab allies include Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah movement and Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government.
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A series of earlier posts covered Haniyeh’s tour of Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries while another post while MEMRI has posted an article titled “Isma’il Haniya’s First Regional Tour Transforms Him From Hamas PM in Gaza to Regional Palestinian Leader.”
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.