Much to the chagrin of the rest of the Sunni Arab world, Hamas this week adorned streets across the Gaza Strip with posters honoring Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of Iran’s Quds Force who was assassinated a year ago by US forces.
Soleimani was at the forefront of Iran’s efforts to extend its influence over the rest of the Muslim world, and in particular was seen as the mastermind of Iranian military involvement (often via proxies) in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
As we have reported in the past, the conflict between Sunni Islam (which includes most Arab Muslims) and Shia Islam (represented primarily by Iran) is far more severe than the conflict between Israel and the Muslim world in general. (See: The Real Middle East Conflict Doesn’t Involve Israel)
Hamas is made up of Palestinian Sunni Muslims. But it receives so much logistical and financial support from Iran that it has no problem associating itself with the primary champion of Shia Islam. But that doesn’t always sit well with other Palestinians.
While Hamas rules the Gaza Strip through fear, a growing number of local residents feel they have very little left to lose and so are increasingly willing to speak out against the terror group. (See: Is Hamas Losing Control Over Gaza?)
Earlier this week, one Gaza man did more than speak out, and demonstrated his distaste for Hamas’ alignment with Iran by ripping down one of the Soleimani posters.
Arab media later reported that the man had been arrested by Hamas “police.”