Strangling Hamas

(Foreign Policy) Jonathan Schanzer - The downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt has been widely described as a blow to Hamas and its pocketbook. The Egyptian Army's ongoing operations against the subterranean tunnels connecting Egypt to Gaza are wreaking havoc on Hamas' finances. Funding from Tehran has dropped off precipitously since the civil war in Syria prompted Hamas to loosen its ties to the "Axis of Resistance." Since Morsi's ouster, the military has arrested at least 29 Brotherhood financiers, including at least one significant contributor to Hamas' coffers, according to a senior Israeli security official. It has also reportedly deployed 30,000 troops to Sinai. Washington should attempt to use whatever leverage it has to convince both Turkey and Qatar to cut back on their funding of Hamas. Congress could pull strings to speed up delivery of or withhold the advanced weapons systems that both countries are eagerly awaiting, depending upon how the conversation goes. The Egyptian army's tunnel operations are slowly strangling Hamas. If one or more of the Islamist movement's other funders cut back their aid even a little, its financial crisis will only deepen. A Muslim Brotherhood government just fell unexpectedly in Cairo - it could happen again in Gaza. For John Kerry and his tenuous peace initiative, this is a window of opportunity that should not be ignored. The writer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury, is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2013-07-23 00:00:00

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