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Thread: Hamas and the Arab States

  1. #1

    Hamas and the Arab States

    By Kamran Bokhari and Reva Bhalla
    Related Special Topic Page

    * Fatah, Hamas and the Struggle for the PNA
    * Israeli-Palestinian Geopolitics and the Peace Process

    Israel is now in the 12th day of carrying out Operation Cast Lead against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has been the de facto ruler ever since it seized control of the territory in a June 2007 coup. The Israeli campaign, whose primary military aim is to neutralize Hamas’ ability to carry out rocket attacks against Israel, has led to the reported deaths of more than 560 Palestinians; the number of wounded is approaching the 3,000 mark.

    The reaction from the Arab world has been mixed. On the one hand, a look at the so-called Arab street will reveal an angry scene of chanting protesters, burning flags and embassy attacks in protest of Israel’s actions. The principal Arab regimes, however, have either kept quiet or publicly condemned Hamas for the crisis — while privately often expressing their support for Israel’s bid to weaken the radical Palestinian group.

    Despite the much-hyped Arab nationalist solidarity often cited in the name of Palestine, most Arab regimes actually have little love for the Palestinians. While these countries like keeping the Palestinian issue alive for domestic consumption and as a tool to pressure Israel and the West when the need arises, in actuality, they tend to view Palestinian refugees — and more Palestinian radical groups like Hamas — as a threat to the stability of their regimes.

    One such Arab country is Saudi Arabia. Given its financial power and its shared religious underpinnings with Hamas, Riyadh traditionally has backed the radical Palestinian group. The kingdom backed a variety of Islamist political forces during the 1960s and 1970s in a bid to undercut secular Nasserite Arab nationalist forces, which threatened Saudi Arabia’s regional status. But 9/11, which stemmed in part from Saudi support for the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, opened Riyadh’s eyes to the danger of supporting militant Islamism.

    Thus, while Saudi Arabia continued to support many of the same Palestinian groups, it also started whistling a more moderate tune in its domestic and foreign policies. As part of this moderate drive, in 2002 King Abdullah offered Israel a comprehensive peace treaty whereby Arab states would normalize ties with the Jewish state in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal to its 1967 borders. Though Israel rejected the offer, the proposal itself clearly conflicted with Hamas’ manifesto, which calls for Israel’s destruction. The post-9/11 world also created new problems for one of Hamas’ sources of regular funding — wealthy Gulf Arabs — who grew increasingly wary of turning up on the radars of Western security and intelligence agencies as fund transfers from the Gulf came under closer scrutiny.....more

  2. #2

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    Meanwhile, Egypt, which regularly mediates Hamas-Israel and Hamas-Fatah matters,
    thus far has been the most vocal in its opposition to Hamas during the latest
    Israeli military offensive. Cairo has even gone as far as blaming Hamas for
    provoking the conflict. Though Egypt's stance has earned it a number of attacks
    on its embassies in the Arab world and condemnations in major Arab editorial
    pages, Cairo has a core strategic interest in ensuring that Hamas remains boxed
    in. The secular government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is already
    preparing for a shaky leadership transition, which is bound to be exploited by
    the country's largest opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

    The MB, from which Hamas emerged, maintains links with the Hamas leadership.
    Egypt's powerful security apparatus has kept the MB in check, but the Egyptian
    group has steadily built up support among Egypt's lower and middle classes,
    which have grown disillusioned with the soaring rate of unemployment and lack of
    economic prospects in Egypt. The sight of Muslim Brotherhood activists leading
    protests in Egypt in the name of Hamas is thus quite disconcerting for the
    Mubarak regime. The Egyptians also are fearful that Gaza could become a haven
    for Salafist jihadist groups that could collaborate with Egypt's own jihadist
    node the longer Gaza remains in disarray under Hamas rule.

    Of the Arab states, Jordan has the most to lose from a group like Hamas. More
    than three-fourths of the Hashemite monarchy's people claim Palestinian origins.
    The kingdom itself is a weak, poor state that historically has relied on the
    United Kingdom, Israel and the United States for its survival. Among all Arab
    governments, Amman has had the longest and closest relationship with Israel --
    even before it concluded a formal peace treaty with Israel in 1994. In 1970,
    Jordan waged war against Fatah when the group posed a threat to the kingdom's
    security; it also threw out Hamas in 1999 after fears that the group posed a
    similar threat to the stability of the kingdom. Like Egypt, Jordan also has a
    vibrant MB, which has closer ties to Hamas than its Egyptian counterpart. As far
    as Amman is concerned, therefore, the harder Israel hits Hamas, the better.

    Finally, Syria is in a more complex position than these other four Arab states.
    The Alawite-Baathist regime in Syria has long been a pariah in the Arab world
    because of its support for Shiite Iran and for their mutual militant proxy in
    Lebanon, Hezbollah. But ever since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah,
    the Syrians have been charting a different course, looking for ways to break
    free from diplomatic isolation and to reach some sort of understanding with the

    For the Syrians, support for Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and several other
    radical Palestinian outfits provides tools of leverage to use in negotiating a
    settlement with Israel. Any deal between the Syrians and the Israelis would thus
    involve Damascus sacrificing militant proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas in
    return for key concessions in Lebanon -- where Syria's core geopolitical
    interests lie -- and in the disputed Golan Heights. While the Israeli-Syrian
    peace talks remain in flux, Syria's lukewarm reaction to the Israeli offensive
    and restraint (thus far) from criticizing the more moderate Arab regimes' lack
    of response suggests Damascus may be looking to exploit the Gaza offensive to
    improve its relations in the Arab world and reinvigorate its talks with Israel.
    And the more damage Israel does to Hamas now, the easier it will be for Damascus
    to crack down on Hamas should the need arise.

    With Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria taking into account their own
    interests when dealing with the Palestinians, ironically, the most reliable
    patron Sunni Hamas has had in recent years is Iran, the Sunni Arab world's
    principal Shiite rival. Several key developments have made Hamas' gradual shift
    toward Iran possible:

  3. #3

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    Saudi Arabia's post-9/11 move into the moderate camp -- previously dominated by
    Egypt and Jordan, two states that have diplomatic relations with Israel.

    The collapse of Baathist Iraq and the resulting rise of Shiite power in the

    The 2004 Iranian parliamentary elections that put Iran's ultraconservatives in
    power and the 2005 election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose public
    anti-Israeli views resonated with Hamas at a time when other Arab states had
    grown more moderate.

    The 2006 Palestinian elections, in which Hamas defeated its secular rival,
    Fatah, by a landslide. When endowed with the responsibility of running an
    unrecognized government, Hamas floundered between its goals of dominating the
    Palestinian political landscape and continuing to call for the destruction of
    Israel and the creation of an Islamist state. The Arab states, particularly
    Saudi Arabia and Egypt, had hoped that the electoral victory would lead Hamas to
    moderate its stance, but Iran encouraged Hamas to adhere to its radical agenda.
    As the West increasingly isolated the Hamas-led government, the group shifted
    more toward the Iranian position, which more closely meshed with its original

    The 2006 summer military confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel, in which
    Iranian-backed Hezbollah symbolically defeated the Jewish state. Hezbollah's
    ability to withstand the Israeli military onslaught gave confidence to Hamas
    that it could emulate the Lebanese Shiite movement -- which, like Hamas, was
    both a political party and an armed paramilitary organization. Similar to their
    reaction to the current Gaza offensive, the principal Arab states condemned
    Hezbollah for provoking Israel and grew terrified at the outpouring of support
    for the Shiite militant group from their own populations. Hezbollah-Hamas
    collaboration in training, arms-procurement and funding intensified, and almost
    certainly has played a decisive role in equipping Hamas with 122mm BM-21 Grad
    artillery rockets and larger Iranian-made 240mm Fajr-3 rockets -- and
    potentially even a modest anti-armor capability.

    The June 2007 Hamas coup against Fatah in the Gaza Strip, which caused a serious
    strain in relations between Egypt and Hamas. The resulting blockade on Gaza put
    Egypt in an extremely uncomfortable position, in which it had to crack down on
    the Gaza border, thus giving the MB an excuse to rally opposition against Cairo.
    Egypt was already uncomfortable with Hamas' electoral victory, but it could not
    tolerate the group's emergence as the unchallenged power in Gaza.

    Syria's decision to go public with peace talks with Israel. As soon as it became
    clear that Syria was getting serious about such negotiations, alarm bells went
    off within groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, which now had to deal with the fear
    that Damascus could sell them out at any time as part of a deal with the

    Hamas' relations with the Arab states already were souring; its warming
    relationship with Iran has proved the coup de grace. Mubarak said it best when
    he recently remarked that the situation in the Gaza Strip "has led to Egypt, in
    practice, having a border with Iran." In other words, Hamas has allowed Iranian
    influence to come far too close for the Arab states' comfort.

    In many ways, the falling-out between Hamas and the Arab regimes is not
    surprising. The decline of Nasserism in the late 1960s essentially meant the
    death of Arab nationalism. Even before then, the Arab states put their
    respective national interests ahead of any devotion to pan-Arab nationalism that
    would have translated into support for the Palestinian cause. As Islamism
    gradually came to replace Arab nationalism as a political force throughout the
    region, the Arab regimes became even more concerned about stability at home,
    given the very real threat of a religious challenge to their rule. While these
    states worked to suppress radical Islamist elements that had taken root in their
    countries, the Arab governments caught wind of Tehran's attempts to adopt the
    region's radical Islamist trend to create a geopolitical space for Iran in the
    Arab Middle East. As a result, the Arab-Persian struggle became one of the key
    drivers that has turned the Arab states against Hamas.

    For each of these Arab states, Hamas represents a force that could stir the
    social pot at home -- either by creating a backlash against the regimes for
    their ties to Israel and their perceived failure to aid the Palestinians, or by
    emboldening democratic Islamist movements in the region that could threaten the
    stability of both republican regimes and monarchies. With somewhat limited
    options to contain Iranian expansion in the region, the Arab states ironically
    are looking to Israel to ensure that Hamas remains boxed in. So, while on the
    surface it may seem that the entire Arab world is convulsing with anger at
    Israel's offensive against Hamas, a closer look reveals that the view from the
    Arab palace is quite different from the view on the Arab street.

    This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to
    Last edited by Madeline; 01-08-2009 at 04:25 AM. Reason: additional post

  4. #4

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    Hamas terrorists kill innocent Palestinians in Gaza (Rare Video) (Must See)

    "Muslims have a license to kill Muslim If you are Muslim you can kill a Muslim. No problem. Nobody will complain"

  5. #5

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    Get a load of this wanker.

    Here’s an astoundingly moronic representative of the “Middle East Peace Forum,” who says Hamas is “a social service organization just like the Jewish Community Federation.”

    I heard about this below:

  6. #6

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    Quote Originally Posted by varian View Post
    Get a load of this wanker.

    Here’s an astoundingly moronic representative of the “Middle East Peace Forum,” who says Hamas is “a social service organization just like the Jewish Community Federation.”

    I heard about this below:
    Somewhere there's a horse looking for his a$$--and his saddle blanket!

  7. #7

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    January 11, 2009
    Hamas rocket chief is killed

    THE mastermind of Hamas’s long-range rocket attacks on Israel was killed yesterday in an airstrike, according to Israeli military sources.

    Amir Mansi, an engineer who commanded cells responsible for firing Grad rockets supplied by Iran, died after coming under attack from a helicopter.

    The Israeli army said he had been trying to fire mortar shells at their troops when he was targeted. Mansi headed the Hamas military wing’s Gaza Strip rocket division and “played a big role in Grad rocket attacks on Israeli communities”, a military spokesman said.

    He was killed after a Grad struck the Israeli town of Gedera, near the Tel Nof airbase, where nuclear weapons are believed to be stored.

    His death was disclosed as Israeli forces said they had surrounded Gaza City, putting nearly 1m Palestinians under siege. Leaflets dropped by air warned that the 15-day-old offensive would be escalated.

    More than 800 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have died in the conflict. Nine people, including two children, were killed in a Gaza garden yesterday.

    A 20,000-strong protest in central London ended in clashes with police last night. Three officers were injured after coming under “sustained attack” near the Israeli embassy from protesters armed with baseball bats and placards.

  8. #8

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    very nice topic
    I will read it one more time and i will reply

  9. #9

    Re: Hamas and the Arab States

    An amazing article and analysis. It makes me believe, for the very first time, that peace might be possible for Israel, but only through the efforts of Israel's brave, skillful IDF fighters.

    After Israel's poor performance against Hezbollah, Israel had to prove to Israel's Arab "allies" that it is tough enough to vanquish the subhuman Hamas beasts. Only then would the Arabs would have enough backbone to stand "with Israel" against Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The elitist, air-headed governments of Europe keep saying that military force is useless, and the only way to peace is through negotiations with the Islamic Terrorist beasts. What nonsense and dribble! Europe's weak, confused leaders are leading the continent towards much tougher times.

    I need to, also, re-read the article. It gives me hope for Israel's future, while at the same time, not discounting the rising threat coming from Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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