RECOMMENDED READING: “Hamas Caught Between Tehran And Riyadh”



The Middle East news portal A-Monitor has published an analysis of the dilemma facing Hamas as it attempts to maneuver between its backers Iran and Saudi Arabia. The report begins:

August 23, 2015 Who wants to be in Hamas’ shoes? Probably no one in the greater Middle East, where the Palestinian group is trapped between two major blocs who used to have much in common prior to the Arab Spring.

On one side there’s the ideological link with Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood; on the other side, a political financial link with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Both blocs are on opposite sides today in both Yemen and Syria’s ongoing crises. They have different point of views on where the region should head and who should lead the transitional period.

Yet Hamas is trying to keep minimal links with its former financiers and backers, mainly Iran.

A senior Hamas official who spoke to Al-Monitor in Beirut on condition of anonymity said, ‘We’ve never taken sides, but we have our say on what’s happening. Iran is a friend. It was once a very close friend, and we don’t forget that. But today there are efforts to normalize ties once again. This is facing some hurdles from both sides.’

The official, who visits Iran often, told Al-Monitor, ‘There were plans for Khaled Meshaal to visit Tehran, [but]on several occasions the visits were canceled because of the uncertainty on our side that it would go as planned.’

Meshaal, head of Hamas’ political bureau, is concerned he won’t be allowed to meet the supreme leader of Iran, Al-Monitor learned, as a trip to Tehran would be useless without a meeting with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

‘There’s a kind of mistrust between Meshaal and the Iranians,’ the anonymous source told Al-Monitor. ‘There’s a need to rebuild this relationship. Other leaders from Hamas are visiting Tehran every now and then, and this is another indication the relationship isn’t at its worst.’

‘There’s a wing in Iran that doesn’t want any relation with Hamas, and there’s a wing in Hamas that doesn’t want these ties to be boosted,’ said the senior Hamas official. ‘But I can ensure that both Col. Qasem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, are pushing toward opening a new chapter and restoring good ties.’”

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported earlier this month that according to unidentified sources, Iran  was deeply angered at last months visit by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s to Saudi Arabia. We also reported earlier this month that according to a Hamas official, Iranian aid to Hamas has “drastically decreased.” We reported last month that  high-level Hamas delegation, including the groups political leader, has visited Saudi Arabia where they met with the new Saudi King as well as other officials. As we noted at that time: 

…. the GMBDW takes issue with the article headline, that the seeming reconciliation between Hamas and Saudi Arabia is a “slap to Iran.” As we reported only two weeks ago, senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah had met with officials from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps for an iftar meal [breaking of the Ramadan fast]in Beirut. It appears to us that Hamas is simply returning to its pre- “Arab Spring” ability to maintain strong relationships with both sides.

As we also said, given the long history of ups and downs in the Iranian/Hamas relationships we continue to be skeptical of reports from Hamas operatives and unidentified sources. We will continue to monitor the relevant developments.

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