June 12, 2017 A delegation from Hamas, which controls Gaza, will travel to Tehran in the coming days, a sign that the crisis in the Gulf is pushing the Palestinian militants back into the arms of their former patron, Iran.
The mission, the highest level delegation to Tehran in five years, will include Ismail Haniyeh, the group’s recently elected leader, reports say. Iran was once the Palestinian group’s main backer but fell out with it in 2012 after Hamas backed the uprising against President Assad in Syria. Qatar stepped in to fill the void with economic aid.
Last week, however, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar over its alleged links with terrorism and Iran, and demanded that it end its relationship with the Palestinian group. The visit to Tehran suggests that Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the US and EU, is hedging its bets about its financial lifeline.
Qatar has built new homes in Gaza, repaved the main coastal highway and shipped fuel to the strip’s sole power plant. It gave Hamas tens of millions of dollars and is said to have helped it to produce weapons, such as the Fajr-5, an Iranian-designed rocket that militants fired towards Tel Aviv in 2012.”
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Hamas and Iran have a long and tumultuous history. In October 2016, the GMBDW was reporting that Iran was once again “courting” Hamas in an attempt to improve its relationship with the Global Muslim Brotherhood among other things. Other relevant reporting has included:
- In January 2017, we reported on a new Forbes survey that listed Hamas as the second richest terror group in the world with finances of around $1 billion.
- In February 2016, we had 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 is lying about its funding of the organization.
- In January 2016, we recommended a report by the Israeli Rubin Center that looked at some of the relationships between Iran and the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
- 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 that according to a Hamas official, Iranian aid to Hamas had “drastically decreased.”