Iran/Hamas Courtship Back On Says Israeli Think Tank

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An Israeli think tank is reporting that yet once again, Iran is “courting” Hamas in an attempt to improve its relationship with the Global Muslim Brotherhood among other things. According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs report:

With the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal refused to take the side of President Bashar Assad, and Hamas’ political leadership found itself at loggerheads with Iran.

As a result, Hamas was forced to transfer its headquarters from Damascus to Doha, Qatar. Since then Hamas’ political leadership has kept a distance from Iran, claiming that it is ‘neutral’ in the struggle between Sunnis and Shiites and that it does not take a side in the Iranian-Saudi conflict over Middle Eastern hegemony, including Saudi Arabia’s attempts to check Iranian expansion.

Notwithstanding the deep-seated dispute between Mashal and the Iranian leadership, Iran has continued to support the Hamas military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam – also at loggerheads with Mashal since Operation Protective Edge two years ago – with money and weapons.

Iran, however, is not sitting on its hands. It is now resuming its courtship of Hamas in an attempt to add it to the Shiite camp and restore its former ties with the movement.

The courtship of Hamas is part of Iran’s attempt to divide the Sunni world, improve its relations with the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood in the context of improving its relations with Turkey, and also to promote the possibility of a temporary political settlement in Syria with U.S.-Russian consent.

Iran, it is worth recalling, was among the first countries to express support for Turkish President Erdogan’s government once it turned out there had been a coup attempt against him.

Iran is also trying to build ties with Qatar. Recently Ali Larijani, head of the Iranian Shura Council, paid a visit to Doha.

According to a September 2, 2016, report in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, Iran initiated a meeting between a senior Iranian official and a Hamas representative in Lebanon.

The participants were Muhammad Majidi, senior adviser at the Iranian embassy in Lebanon, and Ali Baraka, who represents Hamas in that country.

Read the rest here.

In February, the GMBDW reported on what we described as the ever increasing ups and downs in the relationship between Iran and Hamas when a senior Hamas official said that Iran was lying about its funding of the organization.

The GMBDW reported in August 2015 that according to unidentified sources, Iran was deeply angered at a visit by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s to Saudi Arabia. We reported earlier that month month that according to a Hamas official, Iranian aid to Hamas has “drastically decreased.” As we noted at that time, given the long history of ups and downs in the Iranian/Hamas relationships we continue to monitor the relevant developments between Hamas and Iran, notably the sponsor of Hezbollah.

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.

In January, we recommended a report by the Israeli Rubin Center that looked at some of the relationships between Iran and the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

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