December 17, 2015 | Quote

Hamas And ISIS Cooperating To Fight Their New Common Enemy: Egypt

Hamas and Islamic State in Sinai have been cooperating in the smuggling of weapons, demonstrating that while Hamas is a nationalist Islamist movement, it also has common roots from which to build a functioning relationship with jihadists.

“Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment,” according to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy report on Tuesday by Ehud Yaari, a Lafer International Fellow at the think tank.

Yaari, a Middle East commentator for Channel 2, points to a secret visit by Islamic State’s military leader in Sinai, Shadi al-Menai, to Gaza this month to hold talks with Hamas’s military wing.

Both Hamas and Islamic State trace their origins back to the Egypt Muslim Brotherhood, founded by Sheikh Hassan al-Banna.

Hamas is a direct offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which until 1987, ran its activities through the Muslim Association founded in the mid-1970s and headed by Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.

It was the 1987 intifada  that led the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip to embark “upon a direct and violent confrontation with Israel,” as explained in detail by Anat Kurz and Nahman Tal in a 1977 article for the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies titled, “Hamas: Radical Islam in a National Struggle.”

“The operational turn was marked by an organizational change – the establishment of Hamas,” they wrote.

While all Islamist movements, including Islamic State and al-Qaida, are offshoots from the more pragmatic Muslim Brotherhood, they have no patience and use violence to seek immediate results to achieve their goal.


Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, told the Post, “Hamas has always been part of the global jihad movement, despite persistent claims that it is a nationalist terrorist group with strictly nationalist aims.”

Hamas and al-Qaida trained together in Sudan during the early 1990s and the two terror groups maintained close ties for more than a decade, said Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the US Department of the Treasury.

Furthermore, Hamas also cooperates with other Shi’ite terror supporters and is plugged into the Iran-sponsored terror network, he commented.

The Gaza-based group’s “deep ties to Hezbollah have yielded finance and operational gains over the years,” added Schanzer.

“It is further instructive to note that illicit channels of finance are often shared by multiple actors. In this case, Islamic State and Hamas appear to be sharing the same channels for weapons smuggling and perhaps other financial means.”

“In some cases, this is simply a marriage of convenience. In others, it is a deeper strategic cooperation,” continued Schanzer, adding that in the case of these two terror groups, the shared disdain for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government could be an indication of the latter.


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