The Al-Monitor news portal has posted an article titled “Zahar Rebuilds Ties Between Hamas and Iran” that looks at Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar and his efforts to rebuild relations between Hamas and Iran. The report begins:
July 15, 2013 Mahmoud al-Zahar was forced off the Hamas Shura Council, which administers the organization, in April 2013. In recent elections for the council, which ended on March 2013, Khaled Meshaal, the head of the movement’s political bureau, did everything he could to be elected for a third term, but he also invested the same effort to ensure that Zahar, his rival from Gaza, would be left out.
Zahar launched a vehement attack against Meshaal last year for adopting what he described as a conciliatory policy, without first consulting with the Hamas leadership. The two issues that set off Zahar were Meshaal’s decision, made with the support of the departing Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to reconcile with Fatah and form a national unity government, and, even more troubling as far as Zahar was concerned, Meshaal’s declaration that Hamas would abandon the armed struggle (jihad) in favor of a nonviolent popular uprising.
For the first time in Hamas’ history, Zahar hung the movement’s dirty laundry out to dry where everyone could see it, and attacked Meshaal’s independent decisions, made without consulting with the Shura Council. At first, Zahar’s opposition led Meshaal to announce his resignation from the movement’s leadership, but he later withdrew his resignation and decided to wage battle against his opponents and the person who headed them.
Zahar has a significant power base among the hard-core members of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, consisting of activists and rank supporters who have followed him for years. They followed him blindly not only because of his status and the political power he had accumulated over the years as one of the Hamas members exiled to Lebanon, and as the movement’s legendary spokesperson. But they also followed him because he paid a steep personal price in the armed struggle against Israel, which he supported so fervently. Zahar lost two of his sons, both prominent members of the movement’s military wing, to that struggle.
His eldest son, Khaled, was killed on his wedding day by a missile fired at Zahar’s home in September 2003 during an Israeli assassination attempt. His second son, Hussam, was killed five years later, on Jan. 15, 2008, during an encounter with Israeli forces in the Sejaya neighborhood of Gaza. Zahar’s supporters and admirers never reconciled with the idea that a leader of the movement who sacrificed two of his sons would be so humiliated by “that gang of bootlickers,” the derisive term they use to describe Meshaal’s confidantes and supporters.
Read the rest here.
In June, the GMBDW discussed two new media reports which suggested that Hamas was trying try to bolster its relations with Iran while at the same time shifting to importing fewer but higher quality weapons.
The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations. A Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman revealed that a coalition of London-based Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were behind the mass demonstrations staged to protest Israeli actions in the 2008 Gaza war and the Global Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish affiliates were also intimately involved, along with the Turkish government, in the June 2010 Gaza flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces.