[Marxism] Hamas cuts ties with Assad and sends military to train rebels - Washington Times
meisner at xs4all.nl
Sun Apr 14 13:18:32 MDT 2013
At 13:37 14/04/2013 -0500, mjs at smithbowen.net wrote:
>> Anything in that Moonie rag
Agreed, but it is widely sourced. The following article is from Gulf News
but is credited as coming from the Christian Science Monitor. Or if you want
the right wing take on this matter you can read this article in Frontpage
Mag called "Hamas Terrorists Now Training Free Syrian Army Terrorists":
Syria crisis forces Hamas to abandon Bashar Al Assad for new allies
Palestinian group allegedly helping train units of the rebel Free Syrian Army
By Nicholas Blanford
Published: 14:58 April 10, 2013
Dubai: Before the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad began in
2011, Hamas was a key ally of Damascus and a component of the Iran-led axis
of resistance that challenged Israel and the West in the Middle East.
But after two years of bloodshed in Syria, Hamas has abandoned Damascus and
distanced itself from Iran, a major supporter of Al Assads regime. Instead
the Palestinian group is courting potential new suitors, particularly the
small but influential Gulf state of Qatar, and Egypt, which controls the
crucial southern border of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and is ruled by the
Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological parent of Hamas.
The Hamas split with Damascus is undeniable. Hamas could not maintain any
relationship with the Syrian regime in the face of the wide and deep
opprobrium it faces in the Sunni street, Hamas principal support base,
says Randa Slim, a research fellow at the New America Foundation and a
scholar at the Middle East Institute.
But given the shifting dynamics of the region and the sharpening of the
Sunni-Shiite divide, Hamas still appears to be keeping its options open with
its former patron Iran and fellow anti-Israel resistance group, the Lebanese
Shiite group Hezbollah. Hamas is forced to navigate uncharted waters
post-Arab Spring and it is in its interest to keep all channels open, says
The extent of the rupture between Hamas and Al Assads regime is underscored
by the fact that the Palestinian group is allegedly helping train units of
the rebel Free Syrian Army in several areas of eastern Damascus, according
to western diplomats and sources in the Syrian opposition.
The training appears to be specialised, focusing on helping the rebels
develop better rockets and dig tunnels from which they can launch attacks in
preperation for a widely anticipated offensive to uproot the regime from the
capital. The Ezzidine Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has
extensive experience at building tunnels in the Gaza Strip, some for
smuggling weapons and goods from neighbouring Egypt, and others to
infiltrate Israel or launch attacks against Israeli outposts.
The Qassam Brigades have been training units very close to Damascus in
Yalda, Jaramana, Babbila. These are specialists. They are really good, says
a western diplomat with high-level contacts in Al Assads regime and the
Syrian opposition who visits Damascus regularly.
A Syrian opposition source who lives in Damascus confirmed that tunnels were
being dug in some areas under rebel control and that the regime is aware of
the tactic. The source says that the Syrian army has dug a seven-yard deep
trench to cut off any extending tunnel around the perimeter of Mezzeh
airport, a key military facility in Damascus, and similar measures have been
taken around Rawda presidential palace in the centre of the capital.
But a senior Hamas official categorically denied allegations that Hamas
fighters are training FSA rebels or are involved in any military activities
in Syria. Our position is clear on what is happening in Syria and we
believe there must be a political solution, says Osama Hamdan, who lives in
There are no members of Ezzidine Al Qassam or any members of Hamas in
Syria. We dont interfere in the internal problems of Syria. Our members
there are normal civilians, Syrian Palestinians, who live with their
families there. From the beginning of what has happened in Syria we rejected
as a movement any involvement of any Palestinian in the current events in
For now, Qatar has emerged as Hamass new sponsor. Hamas chief Khalid
Meshaal lives in the capital Doha, while Hamas has opened offices in Cairo.
The Gulf state helped cement its relationship with Hamas in October 2012,
when Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani became the first foreign head of
state to visit Hamas-run Gaza. During his visit, he pledged $400 million
(Dh1.46 billion) to the tiny coastal strip.
But while Hamas has abandoned Syria, has it completely renounced its
relationship with its former sponsor Iran?
Meshaal admitted last November in an interview with CNN that the Hamas
relationship with Iran was affected and harmed by disagreements over
Syria, but downplayed its severity. It is not as it used to be in the past,
but there is no severing of relations, he said.
The western analyst says that the break with Iran was complete and somewhat
bitter. But other analysts dont believe that contacts have been entirely
broken, partly because Hamas recognises that during such a turbulent period
in the Middle East, it is in no position to throw in its lot with any one
particular sponsor. Qatar has proven to be a potentially fickle friend
little of the $400 million it pledged Gaza has so far been received.
Even Egypt under President Mohammad Mursi a member of the Muslim
Brotherhood, a Hamas ally has proven disappointing for Hamas so far. The
Egyptian authorities have blocked smuggling tunnels into Gaza and are more
preoccupied with internal developments than actively supporting Hamas with
cash and weapons.
The distancing from Iran may prove problematic because it leaves Hamas more
dependent on support from Arab governments that have either proved
unreliable or whose interests clash with those of Hamas, says Yezid Sayegh,
a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut.
Although Hamas wishes to confirm its Sunni credentials to other Arabs, it
has tried to reaffirm relations with Iran and deny irreconcilable
differences over Syria, Sayegh says.
Indeed, while Iran and Hamas can disagree on the fate of Al Assads regime
and perhaps actively support opposing sides in that conflict both parties
are still united in their opposition to Israel.
I doubt a complete rupture of relations between Iran and Hamas. It is in
neither partys interest, says Slim of the Middle East Institute. Iran and
Hezbollahs game is always long, nuanced, and strategic. Rarely do they burn
bridges with former allies. Even with their enemies, they negotiate while
Christian Science Monitor
More information about the Marxism