Hamas is reportedly holding meetings with representatives from Iran and Hezbollah in order to increase financial aid to the terror group that rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ monthly income has taken a big hit in recent months due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s fall in Egypt and strained relations with Iran related to Syria’s ongoing civil war.
Arabic daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk recently met with members of Hezbollah at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. According to the report, Tehran continues to view Hamas as a “strategic partner.”
Ahmed Yusuf, senior advisor to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, revealed to the newspaper that he anticipates official ties with Iran will be restored again soon. Hamas had paid a heavy price for backing rebel forces in Syria, while Iran and Hezbollah have stood staunchly by the regime of embattled dictator Bashar Assad. It is estimated that Iran cut up to $14 million USD per month in aid to the Palestinian group.
In the opening months of the Syrian revolution, Hamas supported in principle the struggle of the Syrian people, whilst also honoring the historical relationship between the regime and Hamas, which until recently maintained its international headquarters in Damascus.
However, according to some reports, as the rift between Iran and Hamas deepened, Hamas’ stance towards the revolution shifted in full support of the Syrian rebels. Some reports claimed that Hamas was training the rebel Free Syrian Army in eastern Damascus, though Hamas ardently denied such accusations. Later reports suggested that Syrian security forces had forcibly shut down all offices belonging to Hamas.
Of late, Hamas has interfered in the civil war by calling on Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria and aim its weapons instead at Israel.
It is important to note that Hamas was born out what Israeli columnist Hillel Frisch called the “Stalinisation of Iranian politics.” Hamas and Iranian relations strengthened in 2006 after the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who transformed Hamas from an isolated movement into a strategic regional partner, thereby giving the group much more influence in Palestinian affairs, especially relations with Israel.
As most already know, Iran and Hezbollah share a pan-Islamic ideology, and Hamas is part of Iran’s overall strategy of establishing a pan-Islamic jihad against the West, starting with Israel.
With many of the Arab states now preoccupied with their own national interests the Palestinian cause is less likely to find engagement from regional powers. But Hamas has nevertheless been successful in the past in bringing the Palestinian question to Arab governments and especially gaining an intensified interest from Iran.
As Iran seeks regional domination in both Shiite and Sunni communities, whilst employing terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas to deliver its pan-Islamic jihad, there is no doubt that even if current Iranian financial aid for Hamas is reduced, when the time is ripe Iran will be at Hamas’ rear fulfilling every word of its “strategic partnership”…against Israel.