[Marxism] Iran and Hezbollah break with Assad to support Hamas (well, kind of)

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 01:23:09 MDT 2014

The title of course is a wild exaggeration, Hamas can only expect verbal 
"support" from Hezbollah and Iran (ie, like from everywhere else in the 
region) as they still prioritise killing Arabs and Muslims in Syria, but 
even a rhetorical difference with Assad is significant at this moment, 
brought on by Hamas' amazing show  of *actual* resistance (as opposed to 
the BS "resistance" front). At the same time, the fact that Assad would 
so openly damn Hamas in its very hour of real resistance and pretend 
that his regime (which didn't shoot a single bullet near the Golan for 
40 years) is ''real resistance" simply demonstrates yet again how 
completely counterrevolutionary the regime is, not only within Syria but 

Assad spoke of "the distinction between real resistance fighters, which 
we support, and amateurs who wear the mask of resistance according to 
their interests in order to improve their image or to consecrate their 

That really takes the cake.


Iran and Hezbollah break with Assad to support Hamas
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The current war in Gaza has witnessed renewed 
contact between Hamas on the one hand, and Iran and Hezbollah on the 
other, following two years of a chill in relations.
Summary Hezbollah and Iran have publicly declared support for Hamas in 
the Gaza war against Israel, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 
remains critical of Hamas and is reluctant to reconcile.

Author Adnan Abu Amer Posted July 25, 2014
Translator(s)Rani Geha
A political official in Hamas confirmed to Al-Monitor that Khaled 
Meshaal, head of Hamas’ politburo, has recently received phone calls 
from Tehran initiated by Ali Larijani, chairman of the Shura Council, 
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a senior Revolutionary Guard 
officer whose name he did not mention.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah called Meshaal on July 20. 
This was the first official contact between Hezbollah and Hamas since 
April, a Hamas official informed Al-Monitor.
Hezbollah’s official website reported that, during his phone call with 
Meshaal, “Nasrallah praised the steadfastness of the resistance fighters 
in Gaza,” stressing that he “stands next to the Palestinian resistance 
and supports its conditions to end the battle.”
Al-Monitor contacted a Palestinian official in Lebanon who mediated 
Hamas’ troubled relationship with Hezbollah, who said, “It is no secret 
that the relationship between the officials has not been great because 
of the crisis in Syria. But Iran contacting Meshaal through the head of 
the Shura Council Ali Larijani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and a 
senior Revolutionary Guard officer on July 7 encouraged Nasrallah to 
call Meshaal despite the Syrian boycott of Hamas. Therefore, Nasrallah 
contacting Meshaal has not had positive echoes in Damascus.”
The Palestinian official in Lebanon was probably alluding to the 
accusations of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against Hamas on July 
16, when Assad commented on the Gaza war and urged “the distinction 
between real resistance fighters, which we support, and amateurs who 
wear the mask of resistance according to their interests in order to 
improve their image or to consecrate their authority,” referring to the 
Hamas leadership.
A Hezbollah media official told Al-Monitor via phone from Beirut, “Syria 
has reasons that led it to have a rigid position when considering any 
reconciliation with Hamas, but we are confident that the Iranian 
diplomacy can find a formula between the two sides.”
Sources from Hamas and Hezbollah revealed that there were attempts made 
in the last couple of months — before the Gaza war — to restore the axis 
of resistance and restore communication between Hamas and the Syrian 
regime. However, these attempts failed as the conditions were not ripe.
A former member of the Iranian Shura Council and close associate of the 
decision-making circles in Tehran told Al-Monitor by phone, “Iran and 
Hezbollah’s contacts with Hamas did not find positive echoes in Syria, 
as Assad ‘vetoes’ the return of Hamas to the axis, which includes 
Damascus, Tehran and Beirut. However, Iran cannot remain idle as war 
rages in Gaza, while Hamas has made a remarkable military effort. 
Although Iran was absent from the current military scene — despite the 
training it offered — it wants to keep up with the political and 
diplomatic developments, even if this was to anger the Syrian 
In response to a question by Al-Monitor about whether Meshaal may be 
invited to visit Lebanon soon and meet with Nasrallah, he said, “The 
party welcomes every ally and opens its doors to everyone. The Gaza war 
will have a major role in warming the relations between Hamas and 
Hezbollah, including providing assistance and support in all required 
The same Iranian source told Al-Monitor, “The Gaza war was a suitable 
opportunity for Iran and Hamas to pump more blood into their chilled 
relationship. Meanwhile, Tehran wants to regain its alliance with any 
regional power in the region, and Hamas has proven to be a party that 
should not be underestimated, regardless of our differences over other 
issues. The movement has actually showed steadfastness that lasted more 
than two weeks in front of the Israeli war machine.”
The Iranian source he expected Meshaal to visit Tehran soon, which Iran 
has repeatedly postponed this year.
"I expect Meshaal to visit Tehran very soon, after this visit was 
postponed several times, either to congratulate him on the Gaza victory 
or to renew the support that has recently declined. [Meshaal] will be 
warmly welcomed by the Iranian state, namely by the supreme 
leader-general of the revolution and all the decision-making 
departments,” the official added.
Another angle may help to improve the relations between Hamas and the 
axis of Iran and Hezbollah, which is Hamas’ tense relations with Egypt 
during the war.
A Hamas official in Gaza told Al-Monitor, “Hamas did not object to the 
renewal of the relationship with Iran and Hezbollah, as they are our 
allies and we share with them many years of cooperation and 
coordination, be it in political positions, financial support or 
military assistance, and despite the chilled relationship with them, we 
are keen to overcome any differences in order to support the resistance 
and confront Israel.”
The current regional pressure on Hamas to acquiesce to Israel’s terms in 
a cease-fire will push the movement closer to Tehran, the Hamas official 
“The pressure that has been placed by some regional countries on Hamas 
to defer to Israel’s conditions for truce during the current war in 
Gaza, promotes improving the relationship with Iran, not at the expense 
of anyone, but out of a desire to expand the circle of friends and 
supporters,” he added.
The Israeli aggression on Gaza might have the counterproductive effect, 
as far as Israel is concerned, of restoring the broken ties between 
Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. All three, despite the objections from 
Damascus, sense an opportunity to seize the regional circumstances and 
renew alliances. According to a Palestinian official based in Lebanon 
that has taken part in talks to revive ties between Hamas and Hezbollah, 
this also comes amid the flirtation between Qatar and Iran that may 
expedite the restoration of an alliance with Hamas, albeit still plagued 
by a number of problems

Read more: 

A rift with Assad's allies? Think again

Have Hezbollah and Iran clashed with the Syrian regime over their 
support for Gaza?

Last updated: 28 Jul 2014 10:38
    Sharif Nashashibi

Sharif Nashashibi is an award-winning journalist and analyst on Arab 
affairs. He is a regular contributor to Al Jazeera English, Al Arabiya 
News, The National, The Middle East magazine and the Middle East Eye.

The issue of Palestine is immensely popular throughout the Middle East, 
writes Nashashibi [EPA]
There has been some rather bizarre speculation of a rift between Syrian 
President Bashar al-Assad on the one hand, and Iran and Hezbollah on the 
other. The rumours have been sparked by statements from his stalwart 
allies that have been construed as supportive of Hamas, the Palestinian 
movement that has publicly backed the Syrian revolution.
An example of this speculation is a headline from the Al-Monitor news 
site: "Iran, Hezbollah break with Assad to support Hamas." This is 
wishful thinking. The public statements of Tehran and Hezbollah 
regarding Israel's Gaza onslaught have focused almost exclusively on 
support for the Palestinian people and resistance in general, rather 
than Hamas specifically.
This may be because Hamas is not the only representative of the 
Palestinians, and is not their only resistance group (Hezbollah leader 
Hassan Nasrallah has reportedly made phone calls to leaders of Islamic 
Jihad as well as Hamas).
However, it may just as well be that Iran and Hezbollah do not want to 
upset Assad, or that they want to still show a degree of distance from 
Hamas over the Syrian revolution. It is important to remember that 
Tehran's funding of the group dried up after its refusal to back Assad.

Speculation about the rift overlooks the fact that Assad's first remarks 
against Israel's Gaza onslaught preceded those of Nasrallah, and of 
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. All of 
them, however, took their time before condemning Israel's aggression.
Assad seemed to take a swipe at Hamas when he spoke of  "the distinction 
between real resistance fighters, which we support, and amateurs who 
wear the mask of resistance according to their interests in order to 
improve their image or to consecrate their authority."
This contrasts with Nasrallah's description of calls to finish off the 
Palestinian faction as "despicable, shameful and very painful," and his 
call - without referring specifically to Hamas - "for all differences 
and sensitivities on other issues to be put to one side" for the sake of 
However, this in no way indicates a rift. Despite Hamas backing the 
revolution against Assad and calling on Hezbollah fighters to withdraw 
from Syria, and despite Damascus' siege of Palestinian refugees, it was 
no surprise that Assad and co would condemn Israel. As the 
self-proclaimed "axis of resistance", which portrays itself as guardian 
of the Palestinian cause, how could they not?
The issue of Palestine is immensely popular throughout the Middle East, 
with massive demonstrations taking place - "millions" of Iranians have 
reportedly taken to the streets. The region's leaders calculate that the 
more passionately they express their support, the more they can raise 
their domestic and regional standing.
It would be very damaging politically not to back the cause, even if 
only verbally, and regardless of relations with particular Palestinian 
leaders and factions. So whether such expressions are sincere, there is 
typically an element of political expediency.
This is the case to a great extent with Assad, Hezbollah and Iran, all 
three widely reviled for their coordinated opposition to the Syrian 
revolution, reflected in public opinion polls. In light of Gaza, they 
have taken an opportunity to embrace a popular cause, and to link it - 
no matter how spuriously - with their own struggle in Syria.
Furthermore, as long as Israel is busy invading Gaza and facing 
Palestinian resistance in the process, it is less likely to open up 
another front against Hezbollah - a more powerful military force than 
Hamas - or to carry out long-threatened strikes against regional 
powerhouse Iran.
As such, even if they back Palestinian resistance in principle, 
encouraging it also suits them by keeping Israel preoccupied in Gaza and 
potentially weaker as a result. This is particularly true for Hezbollah, 
which is spread thin by its commitment in Syria, and is the target of 
militants within Lebanon. Were Israel to engage in another war with 
Hezbollah, the latter would be in a weaker position relative to previous 
A rift over public statements on Gaza is highly improbable because in 
all likelihood, there was a degree of consultation prior to making them. 
Even if there was not, nothing Iran or Hezbollah has said could be 
interpreted by Assad as sufficient to warrant a spat.
The fact is that all three parties need each other too much to risk 
disagreement over Hamas. Assad owes his very survival to the direct 
intervention of Hezbollah and Iran. The latter two, increasingly 
unpopular throughout the region for propping him up, will not want to 
risk losing one of the only Middle Eastern allies they have left. The 
strategic choices they have made makes Assad a more important ally to 
them than Hamas could be.
As such, talk of a rift seems based more on wild optimism than rational 
analysis. If the killing of more than 170,000 Syrians has done nothing 
to dent their alliance, the killing of more than 1,000 Palestinians will 
not either.
Sharif Nashashibi is an award-winning journalist and analyst on Arab 
affairs. He is a regular contributor to Al Jazeera English, Al Arabiya 
News, The National, The Middle East magazine and the Middle East Eye 

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