Syria War Puts the Anti-American Alliance in the Middle East on the Defensive

(AP) Bassem Mroue - When the Hamas rulers of Gaza recently gave a hero's welcome to the ruler of Qatar, an arch foe of the Syrian regime, it sent a strong message reverberating across the capitals in Tehran, Damascus and Beirut. The powerful, anti-American alliance of Iran, Syria and militant groups Hizbullah and Hamas, once dubbed the "Axis of Resistance," is fraying. Iran's economy is showing signs of distress from nuclear sanctions, Syria's president is fighting for his survival and Hizbullah in Lebanon is under fire for the assassination of an anti-Syrian intelligence official. Hamas - the Palestinian arm - has bolted. "We're seeing basically the resistance axis becoming much more vulnerable and under duress. So even if it survives, it's really under tremendous pressure," said Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. "The Hamas shift to the Saudi-Qatari-Turkish orbit represents a major nail in the coffin of the resistance axis." "The question is not whether it (the alliance) will survive or not. The question is will it have the capacity to act offensively," said Gerges. "It is on the defensive."

2012-11-01 00:00:00

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