9 January 2014 A rapprochement between Hamas and Tehran is under way almost three years after a breach over the Palestinian party’s refusal to back the Syrian government in the civil war, and amid its current political isolation following the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The rebuilding of the relationship is likely to dismay Israel and the US, which had welcomed the weakened ties between Gaza’s rulers and their powerful political, financial and military sponsors.
‘Relations between us are now almost back to how they were before [the crisis over Syria]. We believe we will soon be back at that point,’ said Taher al-Nounou, an aide to Gaza’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh. Contacts between high-ranking officials from both sides had resumed, he said.
Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, based in Qatar, has met Iranian representatives in Ankara and Doha in recent months, and may visit Tehran in the coming months.
According to Nounou, a delegation of Hamas officials based outside Gaza visited Tehran two months ago. Hamas leaders inside Gaza have been unable to leave the blockaded coastal strip since the military coup in Egypt last July.
Another senior Hamas official, Bassem Naim, confirmed the renewed contacts between his organisation and Tehran. ‘Ties had never been conclusively severed, but recently there have been a number of meetings that brought new blood back into our relationship with Iran,’ he said.
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported in October 2013 that that Hamas had succeeded in re-establishing close ties with Iran.
Meanwhile, a Middle Eastern news portal is reporting that relations between Hamas and Egypt have reached what are described as “unprecedented levels of tension.” According to a report on the Al-Monitor website:
January 7, 2014 Relations between Hamas and Egypt have reached unprecedented levels of tension since the movement was founded more than 26 years ago. Even during the blockade imposed under Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the enmity and media escalation had not reached such levels.
Hamas has been on the receiving end of continued accusations by Egyptian media personalities, which it regards as part of the aggression being directed at any entity that has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim’s declaration last week, however, constitutes a leap in finger-pointing at Hamas, accusing the Palestinian group of carrying out armed operations on Egyptian territory and training members of the Muslim Brotherhood to use weapons and manufacture explosives.
‘Hamas provided logistical support to those who blew up the Dakahlia Security Directorate at the end of last December. It is also hosting members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, training them to use weapons and rockets with the help of the Salafist Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis [organization],’ the Egyptian minister added.
Accusations from Egypt did not stop there. Another Egyptian official told Al-Monitor in a phone conversation, ‘Labeling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization has left Hamas two choices: split from [the Brotherhood]or join it in its classification as a terrorist group, since it organizationally belongs to it.’
‘This choice has dangerous implications, however, for the Palestinian people, despite what is seen as Hamas’ overstepping in Egypt. There are risks associated with the movement being listed as a terrorist organization both domestically and abroad. It is a fatal blow to the issue of Palestinian reconciliation, which has been mediated by Egypt in recent years. It is a dangerous decision that will shuffle the cards and increase the severity of [existing]divisions and tension in the Palestinian territories, which currently suffer from a state of instability,’ the Egyptian official added.
Read the rest here.
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. Following a period of seeming ascension related to the period of Egyptian rule by the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization was forced to scramble to try and find other state sponsors after Mohamed Morsi was deposed as President. In September 2013, it appeared that Hamas had succeeded in re-establishing close ties with Iran. In January 2013, Israeli intelligence sources claimed that Turkey has replaced Iran as the chief source of Hamas financing.