Resistance movements in the Gaza Strip strengthening ties with Tehran

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei greets Hamas Premier Ismail Haniya during a meeting in Tehran in February 2012. (Photo: AFP)

By: Abdel Rahman Nassar, Hani Ibrahim

Published Thursday, October 23, 2014

More than $250 million dollars were given annually to Hamas by Tehran. This allowed the movement to continue and resist international sanctions. However, this amount has become irrelevant after the latest war, which proved that Palestinians are only able to defend themselves through self-made weapons and supplies by the axis of Resistance to Gaza.

The relationship between Hamas and Iran goes back to 1991 and has grown gradually until the beginning of the crisis in Syria. Hamas took several positions, which distanced it from the axis. But today, the movement admits it has lost so much. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt could no longer be of any help and Gaza does not share borders with Qatar or Turkey. Doha and Ankara’s largest ambitions for a Palestinian state is one inside the 1967 borders, which is the demand of Fatah, while only Iran dares to speak about the total liberation of Palestine.

Although dialogue between Hamas and Iran came after its links with Fatah and Islamic Jihad, their bonds grew during the second intifada and got stronger with the formation of the Hamas government in Gaza and following major financial support from the Islamic Republic.

The honeymoon did not last though, with the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011 and Hamas’ leadership's exit from Damascus. However, the latest war fought by the movement alongside other factions for 51 days led to a state of Iranian alert. This brought the focus back to bilateral relations and how they can be improved, something that could also be felt within Hamas.

Sources inside Hamas maintained the existence of a trend inside the movement, especially in Gaza, to strengthen relations with Iran. Objectively speaking, however, it will be difficult to convince its popular base of the move, based on the position from Syria and Yemen and the growing belief that locally-made weapons and their own capacity are enough. But the latest developments in Qatar and Turkey could become a useful justification.

According to sources, countries expressing sympathy with Hamas, like Qatar and Turkey, are incapable of playing a military or security role, or even a clear political role. This is especially true for Turkey, "a member of NATO which could suffer embarrassment." Hamas understood this three years ago, specifically when Ankara declined to host a meeting for the movement's Shura Council, the sources explained.

As for Qatar, the sources added, the agreement included several understandings entailing a united stance on the current crisis and issues. Based on this, "the [Hamas] politburo was allowed to operate in Doha, but the Resistance could not be funded." The sources revealed that a number of prisoners deported to Qatar had left the country, recently appearing on al-Aqsa television. "This was timed with talk about Qatari arrangement to go back into the fold of the Gulf Cooperation Council."

The war's repercussions convinced Gaza's leadership time and again that the only side willing to support Hamas militarily and officially is Iran. To that end, additional sources from the Hamas leadership revealed that meetings were held recently between Iranian and Hamas officials in Beirut. They resulted in "steps to enhance bilateral relations." The sources indicated that the move was urged by politburo member Mahmoud al-Zahar. "We need to develop our tools of resistance and reorganize our relationships with states who could help and assist without a price."

Even the pro-Qatar wing recently acknowledged Zahar's position. The politburo's second deputy, Moussa Abu Marzouk said that Iran was the major player in "supporting the preparations for al-Asf al-Maakoul operation, through which the Palestinian Resistance faced the occupation using Iranian missiles as well as a locally-made rocket system simulating the Iranian one."

"The current vision adopted by the Shura Council and some members of the political bureau requires that Hamas improve its relations with Iran in order for matters to return to how they were," the Hamas sources reiterated. What should be noted is the call to improve the strategic environment of the "moderate countries," especially Jordan and Egypt, allowing the movement to exit from its current crisis, which is considered the most severe.

Hamas official Ahmed Youssef described "internal discussions stressing the need to restore relationships with the Islamic Republic and Hezbollah." In a press statement, he maintained that the movement owed Iran and "it is indispensable in any future arrangements." Youssef believed that "Iran's presence in the Palestinian scene was the most honest and it gave more than many in the region. It provided the Palestinians with millions of dollars without a fuss." Regarding its absence from the Gaza reconstruction conference, Youssef said "whether it attended the conference or not, Iran's contributions do not require an invitation."

In a related matter, Islamic Jihad's secretariat visited Tehran, meeting with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei. Islamic Jihad representative in Lebanon Abu Imad al-Rifai said it was "an important [visit] to a pivotal state in supporting the Resistance." It dealt with "issues of extreme priority, such as supporting the resilience of the people of Gaza as an extension of the battle."

The meeting included Islamic Jihad's Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shalah, his deputy Ziad al-Nakhaleh, its representative in Tehran, and other officials. The two major points discussed related to Jerusalem and the situation in occupied West Bank. However, Rifai did not believe the visit "on this level and at this time, meant that Islamic Jihad will be replacing Hamas for the Islamic Republic. Although the latest battle increased the strength of the relationship, the media goes too far in its projections." Concerning the relationship with Iran, "simply, one could say for sure that no one will replace anyone else; everyone has their own role," Rifai told Al-Akhbar.

Regarding Iranian support for the reconstruction of Gaza, Islamic Jihad sources indicated "the support will compensate for some aspects and loopholes, which will not be covered by donor countries with certain conditions. It will also include humanitarian matters that are outside the focus of many." As for delivering the aid, "the Resistance will use any means necessary."

"Arming the West Bank," however, raises the question of how and when? "After the experience of the three wars [on Gaza], we reached a belief that we could not liberate Palestine from Gaza," Rifai explains. "The goal could only be achieved by arming the occupied West Bank and involving it in the struggle, with a focus on its strategic aspect, which could change the direction of the battle. In fact, the occupation remains in the West Bank to a large degree, through settlements and detention centers, which calls for a constant state of defence."

What about Iran and Hezbollah

Iranian affairs expert and researcher at the Center of Strategic Studies in Iran and the Middle East, Moussa al-Kanani, said the Islamic Republic has a "steady position regarding support to the Palestinian questions and it cannot be changed. According to the constitution, the Supreme Leader forms the strategies and supreme policies of the state, including supporting Palestine." According to Kanani, "centers of power in the Iranian state maintain that political and financial support to Hamas does not stop. Meetings between the two sides do not mention such details in the media, due to political and security measures. Iran is ready to receive Hamas' politburo."

Hezbollah expressed a similar viewpoint. Hassan Hobballah, in charge of the Palestinian dossier, maintained that relations will strengthen with all Palestinian factions "regardless of differing opinions, since resistance is a uniting factor." Hobballah told Al-Akhbar that meetings were held between Hezbollah and Hamas recently and "there are continuous phone communications between Hassan Nasrallah and Khaled Mishal."

(Al-Akhbar)

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

"Iran’s constitution which calls for helping the oppressed everywhere."

Couldn't contain my laughter reading this line. Yesterday a girl was hanged for killing a man while trying to protect her honor. And a day before that, a law was passed legalizing Acid Attacks against Women?!! I can go on and on with the list of oppression perpetrated by the Mad Mullahs of Iran. Your line must be your are free to oppress your own people while helping others to free of themselves from oppression. Am glad am not LIVING there.

Response to: Wihtout Freedom Life is Worthless. It looks like without lying life is worthless for you. Why do you have to lie, man? The court found that “trying to protect her honor” was a lie, just like your post. The woman was a killer. The knife she used to kill was purchased a few days earlier. She was tried, then she appealed, then she was convicted. She had a good lawyer too. If the relatives of the victim had forgiven her, she would have escaped the death sentence. What would your verdict be if she killed your brother? Don’t live in Texas because they have death penalty—for women too.

Also, here is no such law as you mentioned. I wish you could live there for just a short while. The least they could do to you would have been to teach you to live without lying.

Iranians embrace Hamas to appear pro-Islam, while they massacre hundreds of thousands of Syrian Sunnis. But Hezbollah, the Alawi government and Iran can't win in Syria. Just death, defeat and huge expenses. They are nowhere near victory. Even Hezbollah got massacred within Lebanon by the Nusra front recently.

Meanwhile, poor Iran also got their missile facility in Parchin blown up by the Israelis a few weeks ago outside Tehran.

Tough times

and pray where did you get your BS from?
the TERRORIST squatter thieving barbaric brutal propagandists and their presstitutes in the west?
keep dreaming and as for the goon "laughing"
here is hoping you choke with your laughter.

I feel sorry for Palestinian people while I do not trust Hamas leadership in Gaza at all. They seem to turn whichever way the wind blows. With Morsi elected in Egypt and Erdogan making noises in Turkey, Khaled Mishal and Ismael Hanieh rushed to Ankara for photo ops with Erdogan and turned their backs on Iran, their only genuine supporter. Those who don’t know which side of their bread is buttered should eat bread alone. Could Qatar or Turkey give Gaza money and missiles to fight their enemy without asking for a price? The only reason Iran is willing to forget and forgive the disloyal mistress is because of Iran’s constitution which calls for helping the oppressed everywhere.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><blockquote><span><aside>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

^ Back to Top