Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Taheri: Iran and Syria behind Hamas coup

There's a fascinating article by Amir Taheri in today's Gulfnews in which he argues that the Hamas coup in Gaza last week was the result of Iran's and Syria's geopolitical considerations and goes far beyond internal 'Palestinian' strife. What is left unsaid is that if he is correct, the magnitude of Saudi Arabia's defeat last week is immense (Hat Tip: No2liberals):
Tehran was also concerned that a Hamas-Fatah deal would strengthen those within the Syrian leadership who dislike what they see as their increasing vassalisation to Tehran. The same elements within the Syrian leadership had opened an indirect dialogue with Israel and received some encouraging hints from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Syrian critics of the alliance with Tehran pointed to the Makkah deals as a model that might help repair ties with moderate Arab states, placate the US and, eventually, even persuade Israel to give up the Golan Heights which it won in the 1967 war. A Hamas defection followed by a Syrian change of policy would have left the Islamic Republic isolated and exposed.

Had the deals made in Makkah worked, Hamas would have geared its strategy to moderate Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and, indirectly through them, to the overall Middle East policies of the Western powers led by the United States.

Until earlier this month, when the first Hamas guns were fired in Gaza, it seemed that hopes of Tehran and Damascus to organise a new "Rejection Front" to oppose Israel and, beyond it the United States, had hit a bump on the road.

What looked like a Hamas sell-out to the moderate Arab powers came as major disappointment to the Islamic republic in Iran and its Syrian allies and Lebanese Hezbollah clients.


Palestinian sources concur that the man who effectively vetoed the Makkah deals is Khaleed Misha'al, Hamas's "Supreme Leader" who lives in exile in Damascus. Misha'al initially endorsed the Makkah deals but was persuaded to change his position under Iranian and Syrian pressure.

In a visit to Tehran, where he was supposed to brief Hamas' Iranian allies on the Makkah deals, Misha'al was told point blank that Iran favoured "an intensification of the struggle against the Zionist enemy" rather than an easing of tension that a coalition with Abu Mazen implied.


The battle in Gaza was something more than a local struggle for power between rival Palestinian factions. It was dictated by strategic imperative that could affect the broader region as Iran and the US intensify their rivalry over who sets the agenda for the future of the Middle East.
Read it all.


Post a Comment

<< Home