Hard Choices for Hamas with the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Pinhas Inbari - Hamas is abandoning the sinking ship of Syria and many senior cadres have already settled in Gaza. At the same time, Iran has cut its subsidy to Hamas. Not only is there a need to find new accommodations for Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal and company, but there is also a political price: the need to decrease terror and transform itself from a pro-Iranian/Syrian "muqawama" ("resistance") movement into a typical political party of the Muslim Brotherhood-type that are now in the process of taking control in the Arab world. The Hamas leadership in Gaza prefers engagement with Cairo because the prospects of Muslim Brotherhood dominance are much more advanced in Egypt and the close vicinity to Gaza is promising for an eventual joining of forces to advance to the restoration of the worldwide Islamic Caliphate. The problem is that both the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood cannot accept it as a militant movement that threatens the precarious security situation in Egypt and the delicate balance the Brotherhood wants to establish with the military in Cairo. It is not that the Brotherhood doesn't care whether Hamas continues to be a "resistance" movement - to the contrary - but as long as they don't do it from Cairo. So what can Hamas do? Abandoning the "resistance" is a non-starter; conducting resistance from Gaza is possible, but the leadership is not sure if they can sustain another Israeli blow of the scope of Israel's 2009 operation. They may aspire to move the "resistance" to the West Bank - and this is exactly what they are currently trying to do - but here they face the IDF. The writer, a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper.

2011-12-09 00:00:00

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