July 15, 2013 | Quote

Arab Spring Keeps Sending Hamas Packing

The Arab uprisings that have for more than two years roiled the Middle East and North Africa must by now bring a sense of disquiet to Hamas, the Palestinian group that holds up “resistance”—often with terrorist tactics—against Israel. The group's exiled leadership was already displaced by the Syrian civil war, and lost a key backer in Iran over sectarian tensions. Since January 2012, Hamas's leadership has been based in both Cairo and Doha.

Now the latest tumult in Egypt that unseated Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government again took away access to an allied Islamist group with state power. While analysts disagree on how swimmingly the relationship between the Brotherhood and Hamas was going, they believe Hamas will be sent packing again with the group's ouster.

“The idea that the Muslim Brotherhood was a gift to Hamas and that they worked together closely is nonsense. It’s absolute nonsense,” said Mark Perry, a journalist and expert on Middle Eastern terror groups, in an interview. “But the situation right now is without question much worse. We’re in a very revolutionary situation in Egypt. And the coup in Egypt—that’s what it was—was not good for Hamas.”

Hamas's troubles are compounded by its remaining roster of potential allies and hosts. Hamas has “only two patrons left, and both are Western allies that could be tempted to throw Hamas under the bus for greater financial or political incentives,” wrote Foundation For Defense of Democracies vice president Jonathan Schanzer. Meshaal's expulsion from Jordan a decade and a half ago gives weight to Schanzer's warning

Just last year, it seemed as if Hamas—with the Brotherhood dominating Egyptian electoral politics—might be ascendant. But for now, at least, the tumult in the Middle East appears to have left the group adrift.

Read the full article here.


Palestinian Politics