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Hamas parliament members reject the Doha deal ... From Al Manar

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Hamas parliament members reject the Doha deal ... From Al Manar
I dont know why they are even hearing proposals? Didnt they learn their lesson from what happened to fatah??
Im Sunni by mind, Shia by Heart, and Muslim by soul! La Ellaha Ela Allah!

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Ismaeil Haniyeh entered Iran :

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نسخه چاپيارسال به دوستان
اسماعیل هنیه وارد ایران شد

خبرگزاری فارس: نخست وزیر منتخب فلسطین در رأس هیئتی به منظور رایزنی با مقامات کشورمان بعدازظهر امروز (جمعه) وارد تهران شد.
خبرگزاری فارس: اسماعیل هنیه وارد ایران شد

به گزارش خبرنگار سیاست خارجی خبرگزاری فارس، اسماعیل هنیه نخست‌وزیر منتخب فلسطین که در رأس هیئتی بعدازظهر امروز (جمعه) وارد تهران شد، در طول اقامت دو روزه‌اش با مقامات کشورمان از جمله مقام معظم رهبری، محمود احمدی‌نژاد رئیس جمهور، علی‌اکبر صالحی وزیر امور خارجه و سعید جلیلی دبیر شورای عالی امنیت ملی دیدار و پیرامون مسائل مختلف از جمله تحولات منطقه‌ و فلسطین بحث و تبادل نظر خواهد کرد.

سفر هنیه به تهران در حالی صورت می‌گیرد که برخی کشورهای منطقه از جمله کویت و قطر در تلاش برای ممانعت از انجام این سفر بودند.

http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901121000594

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Let hope things get straightened out!

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In an interview with Al Manar, Mahmoud Al Zahar, the strong man of Hamas in Gaza criticized harshly the agreement with Fatah... So seems to me it will not be implemented...

On the other hand, new information surfaced about the position of Hamas from the Syrian issue. It seems that the military leadership wants to keep the strong relations with Syria, while the political leadership is hesitating. The military leadership knows that there is no alternative to Syria.. they also know how much aid they got from Syria in the war of 2008...

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Maybe Mashaal is misguided by russians? Rely completely on them or turks or qataris is to commite suicide.

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Hamas Drifting Away From Longtime Patron Iran

By BRIAN MURPHY and KARIN LAUB Associated Press
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip February 9, 2012 (AP)

Hamas appears to be drifting away from its longtime patron Iran — part of a shift that began with last year's Arab Spring and accelerated over Tehran's backing of the pariah regime in Syria.

The movement's top leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, wants Hamas to be part of the broader Islamist political rise triggered by the popular uprisings sweeping across the Arab world. For this, Hamas needs new friends like the wealthy Gulf states that are at odds with Iran.

For now, Hamas won't cut ties with Iran or close its headquarters-in-exile in the Syrian capital of Damascus, officials in the movement said.

However, relations have become increasingly strained.

Hamas has reduced its presence in Iran-allied Damascus in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown on a popular uprising against him. Hamas also rejected Iran's demand that the group publicly side with Assad, standing firm even when Tehran delayed the monthly support payments Hamas needs to govern the Gaza Strip, according to a senior Hamas official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

At the same time, Hamas is increasingly relying on political and financial support from the Gulf, particularly tiny Qatar, which also has close ties to the West.

This week, Qatar brokered a breakthrough unity deal between Mashaal and his longtime rival, internationally backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. After five years of separate Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza, Abbas is now to head an interim unity government and lead the Palestinians to elections.

Qatar promised to help in case the international community will withdraw support for a transition government that — though headed by Abbas — would also be supported from the outside by Hamas.

The movement is still widely shunned in the West and is considered a terrorist group by the United States and Europe — a legacy of the years in which it regularly claimed suicide bombings and other attacks on civilians in Israel.

"Of course, the safety net is there," Ahmed Yousef, a Gaza-based Hamas intellectual and Mashaal confidant, said of Qatar's pledges of support. "The financial support will be there. ... They will be generous to help the Palestinians, to rebuild Gaza and cover the shortage. If there is a financial problem, they will help."

Even as Qatar was mediating the unity deal, the Hamas prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, was leading his own tour through wealthy Gulf states Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. His tone was far more CEO than anti-Israel firebrand as he met Gulf rulers and investment groups about pumping money into struggling Gaza.

Palestinian officials who have been briefed on the Doha unity talks said Qatar asked Haniyeh to skip the next stop on his journey, a visit to Tehran. Gulf countries have moved aggressively to undercut Iranian influence as the region is reshaped by the Arab uprisings.

However, Haniyeh will likely be in Tehran on Friday, Hamas officials said.

It was not immediately clear whether his decision to go ahead was shaped by a desire not to snub the Iranians so brazenly or is part of a brewing internal conflict within Hamas. Some of the Hamas leaders in Gaza, who stand to lose influence in a power-sharing arrangement, have criticized the Doha deal.

Still, Haniyeh's meetings with Iran's leaders — Assad's most enthusiastic supporters — can prove politically embarrassing to Hamas. Readers commenting on a Hamas website this week overwhelmingly urged Haniyeh not to visit Iran because of Tehran's backing for Assad.

Before the Arab Spring, Hamas had few friends in the Arab world and relied on Iranian largesse and Syrian hospitality. According to some estimates, Iran paid several hundred million dollars a year to Hamas, crucial for keeping blockaded Gaza afloat. Damascus hosted Mashaal and his decision-making political bureau which was unwanted elsewhere.

But Hamas' parent movement, the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood, scored election victories after uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia last year, and is becoming influential elsewhere in the region.

"The Arab Spring awakenings had a pivotal effect on Hamas' world view," said Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. "The rise of the Islamists to power has really given Hamas a strategic depth."

However, the widened support comes with demands that the Islamists moderate and not embarrass Brotherhood branches abroad as they seek to reach out to the broadest possible audience and gain political legitimacy through elections.

Gulf countries have moved aggressively to gain new leverage and to try to undercut Iranian influence.

"Hamas is moving into the Arab orbit," said Salman Shaikh, director of The Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. "This is one of the significant achievements of the Arab Spring and a reflection of how Gulf power has grown."

It seems unlikely Hamas will meet international demands to forswear violence — but an alliance with Gulf states could nudge the group in that direction.

The Gulf leaders intensified pressure this week on Iran-ally Assad, by pulling their ambassadors and ordering out Syrian envoys from Kuwait to Oman. Last month, Qatar urged for an Arab military force to intervene to halt 11 months of bloodshed in Syria.

Yousef, the Mashaal confidant, said in an interview on Thursday that Hamas wants to be on good terms with everyone, including Iran and Syria, but his comments suggested a new confidence vis-a-vis the old patrons.

"We are not going to support anybody (just) because he is giving us shelter or safe haven," Yousef said, when asked about Iranian pressure on Hamas to publicly back the Assad regime. "If he is not happy with us, we can leave. We can find another save haven."

He also suggested the Iranians need Hamas more than the other way around. "They (the Iranians) are capitalizing on this image that they are helping the Palestinians," he said. "This is giving the Iranians some credibility in the way they think about their leadership in the region."

He did not say how Hamas would act if forced to choose between Iran and the Gulf. However, the Arab Spring-inspired paradigm shift he described — Hamas seeking to share power with former political rivals and embracing pluralism — would make Iran an unattractive choice in the long run.

Khaled Hroub, a Hamas expert at Cambridge University, said he believes Hamas won't leave the Iranian-Syrian orbit for good unless other Gulf countries, particularly regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia, pledge their support.

"They want to go beyond Qatar .. and hear from the Saudis, even if indirectly," Hroub said of Hamas. "This is a golden opportunity (for the Saudis). Syria is going down, you can break the whole Syrian-Iranian axis, maybe forever, and the Iranian influence on the (Levant), yet the Saudis are turning their backs," Hroub said.

———

Murphy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed reporting.


http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hamas-drifting-longtime-patron-iran-15549363

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Hamas MPs call for scrapping of Fatah deal
AFP
Last updated: February 8, 2012





MPs of the Hamas majority in the Palestinian parliament called on Thursday for the scrapping of a reconciliation accord with Fatah on constitutional grounds.

"After examining the question of Mahmud Abbas taking on the premiership as well as the presidency" and consultation with judicial experts, such a scenario was found to be contrary to the Basic Law, 31 MPs said in a statement.

It said after a meeting in parliament in Gaza City that the Basic Law calls for separation of the two posts, in contrast to Fatah which denies any violation of the law.

"On this basis, we call for all the signatory parties and the sponsor of the Palestinian reconciliation to reconsider and to respect the Basic Law," said the MPs of the Islamist movement which holds 74 seats in the 132-member parliament

Palestinian president Abbas, who also heads Fatah, and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal signed an accord in Doha on Monday placing Abbas at the head of an interim consensus government to supervise the run-up to elections.

The deal was hailed as a compromise after a bitter dispute over who would head the temporary government that had stalled a reconciliation deal signed by all Palestinian factions in April and May 2011.

© AFP 2012


http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/news/hamas-mps-call-for-scrapping-of-fatah-deal_4692


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Hamas May Be Softening Up or Just Looking for a Home: Noe & Raad
By Nicholas Noe & Walid Raad Feb 7, 2012 12:08 AM GMT+0100

A year of Mideast tumult has left the militant Palestinian organization Hamas in flux. As the regional states on which the group largely depends adjust, Hamas is trying to find a new place in the world.

That left regional commentators debating whether the Islamist group is moving toward moderating its extreme positions, or just maneuvering to stay afloat.

For years, Hamas's exiled leadership had been based in Damascus. That had become increasingly untenable with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad looking unsteady amid a popular uprising and Hamas leaders feeling uncomfortable with their alliance with him. Last week, it was widely reported in regional papers that all of Hamas’s top political leaders abroad had finally left Damascus and were looking for an alternative headquarters.

That week, and in the weeks before, the group's Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the last elected Palestinian government, traveled to Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and several Gulf states from the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is in charge of self-rule. He plans to head to Iran next.

Also, Hamas chairman Khalid Meshal, who had been living in Damascus, visited Jordan last week to meet with King Abdullah II. Like many individuals of Palestinian origin, Meshal is a citizen of Jordan, but he had been expelled from the country in 1999 by Abdullah's father, King Hussein, who deemed his presence incompatible with Jordan's peace treaty with Israel. The charter of Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, calls for Israel's destruction, and the group has committed numerous attacks on Israeli citizens.

Describing Haniyeh's regional tour, columnist Ibrahim al-Madhun of the Hamas-run, Gaza-based Filastin newspaper argued that with so many “state visits" to its credit, Hamas had finally escaped its isolation. These diplomatic achievements, he said, were “a flagrant challenge to the Israeli occupation that wanted the Gaza government to remain isolated, besieged, hungry, tired and busy receiving blows." Madhun went so far as to claim that five years after deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak joined Israel's tight embargo on the Gaza Strip, “The Arabs are endorsing the revolutionary enterprise of Gaza.”

But perhaps it’s the other way around?

Among Arab pundits, the most noteworthy visit was Meshal's trip to staunch U.S. ally Jordan, not least because many view Meshal as leading the movement away from the militant resistance that led to Hamas's isolation. Meshal has made several statements in recent months that suggest a shift away from violence in favor of a more prominent political role on the Palestinian scene as well as in relation to the Arab uprisings.

For example, in discussions with the rival Palestinian group Fatah over a plan for new Palestinian elections, Meshal has said that Hamas would focus on nonviolent forms of resistance to Israeli occupation. (Other issues, however, meant that a weekend meeting in Qatar between Meshal and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah concluded with an agreement to postpone elections promised for May.)

Writing in the Jordanian Islamist daily As-Sabil, columnist Abdullah al-Majali argued that Meshal’s visit to Amman demonstrated how boxed in Hamas feels. "The axis of resistance that Hamas belongs to is stumbling and will collapse soon," he wrote. Thus, Hamas needs "to look for alternatives.”

Where will this lead Hamas? Fidaa Itani, a columnist at the Beirut-based daily Al-Akhbar, argued that the group's newfound closeness to pro-American monarchs in the region -- especially those in the Persian Gulf, who have funding to offer -- opens Hamas up to being co-opted. Itani compared Hamas with the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah.

    While it has proven impossible to coerce or co-opt Hezbollah in this regard, despite long-standing American and local attempts to do so, Hamas can always be side-tracked.

There always will be room, he argued, "between the cracks in Hamas’s many walls for pressure to be exerted here or inducements made there -- or for Khaled Meshal to be cornered into saying things behind closed doors (which his hosts then leak to the media to prevent him from retracting).”

Hamas would be a willing participant in its own de-radicalization, Itani suggested. The group, he concluded, wants to shift toward “joining the Muslim Brotherhood mainstream in the Arab world,” and therefore move toward eventual American acceptance.

Filastin columnist Issam Shawer rejected such analysis, arguing that commentators were reading too much into the various Hamas visits, which he thought were better seen as Hamas just trying to get along in a complex world. Shawer wrote:

    We must not forget that Hamas is adopting a cautious and realistic policy. Indeed, it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other states and works in favor of the Palestinian cause without contradicting Arab and Islamic interests.

As evidence that one should not look for telling patterns in Hamas's actions, he reminded readers that the group had previously “welcomed the Mubarak’s regime sponsorship of talks to ensure Palestinian reconciliation and adopted the Syrian capital Damascus as its headquarters although the Muslim Brotherhood was banned and oppressed in both Egypt and Syria. Hamas’s relationships with those regimes did not mean it was not opposed to the crimes being committed against the Egyptian and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood movements, something which was understood by the group in two brotherly states.”

In other words, Shawer was suggesting, Hamas's exiled leaders may not be softening up so much as just looking for a new home.

(Nicholas Noe and Walid Raad are the Beirut correspondents for the World View blog. The opinions expressed are their own.)



http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-06/hamas-may-be-softening-up-or-just-looking-for-a-home-noe-raad.html

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Hamas is 'backing protesters' says Syria

Phil Sands
Oct 2, 2011

Damascus // Syria's relationship with Hamas is increasingly strained over the Palestinian group's refusal to openly endorse Damascus and its tactics in suppressing an anti-regime uprising, according to figures close to both sides.

Once firm allies, the Syrian authorities, led by President Bashar Al Assad, and the Islamic resistance movement, headed by Khalid Meshaal from his headquarters in Damascus, are now barely on speaking terms, regime officials and an Islamic cleric close to Hamas said.

An official in Syria's ruling Baath party even furiously accused Hamas of hedging its bets by funding anti-regime organisations, in the expectation Mr Al Assad could be toppled - an indication that the alliance might already be near to breaking point.

"In public Hamas says it is not with either side in the [Syrian] crisis but in reality they have turned their back on Syria and have sided with Syria's opponents," the Baathist said.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject.

"We have information that Hamas is channelling money to anti-regime groups in Europe. They have decided to bet against the regime," the Baathist said. He gave no further details but described the move as a "serious mistake".

A respected Islamic scholar in Damascus with links to Hamas dismissed that claim but said there had effectively been a freeze in formal contacts with top-level Syrian authorities, despite efforts by Hamas leaders to arrange meetings.

"There is nothing positive between the regime and Hamas at the moment," he said. "The regime wants Hamas to change its attitude and openly support them but people inside Hamas believe they have to be with the Syrian people on this issue."

Alongside Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hizbollah, Hamas has been a key member of the "axis of resistance" ranged against Israel and its allies, including the United States, which has been at pains to try to break down the four-way alliance.

Damascus has provided important political support to Hamas, and hosting the resistance group's leadership-in-exile has burnished Syria's credentials as a staunch defender of Arab rights in the struggle to win back territories illegally occupied by Israel.

But unlike Iran and Hizbollah, which have very publicly thrown their support behind Mr Al Assad, Hamas has been silent.

In March, shortly after the Syrian uprising began, tensions between the two parties broke into the open after regime officials accused Yousef Al Qaradawi, the Qatar-based Islamic cleric and spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood - including Hamas - of inciting sectarian hatred in Syria after he backed demonstrators in a sermon.

Shortly afterwards, Syrian media reported that Hamas had rejected Mr Al Qaradawi's remarks, only for the Hamas leadership in Damascus to publicly say it had done no such thing.

In June, the disagreement turned bloody when more than a dozen Syrian-Palestinians were killed after trying to storm the heavily mined frontier with Israel during a protest, organised by a pro-regime Palestinian faction with at least tacit approval from the Syrian authorities which police the border.

Those deaths provoked an angry backlash inside Syria's 500,000 strong community of Palestinian refugees, dominated politically by Hamas and Fatah, who said the border protest had been designed to distract attention from Syria's internal problems by spilling Palestinian blood.

At least 11 Palestinian Syrians were in killed Damascus' Yarmouk Camp the following day, during a demonstration at the offices of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), the pro Syrian-regime fringe group behind the border incident.

The crowd set fire to the PFLP-GC's offices and cars and, in response, the Palestinian security guards at the compound fired live ammunition at the protesters. Syrian security forces stayed away, Yarmouk residents said.

There have been no subsequent outbreaks of such violence and neither side has openly spoken about the condition of their relationship.

But tensions have been simmering, fuelled by protests in Damascus neighbourhoods with large Palestinian communities, including Qaboun and Qadam. Many Palestinians - although not all - say they sympathise with the anti-regime demonstrators but are obliged to remain neutral.

It is Hamas's Muslim Brotherhood connection that has so troubled Syrian officials, highlighting the tenuous nature of the regime's alliance with the resistance group against Israel while simultaneously suppressing its sister organisation at home.

Membership of the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is a capital offence - membership of Hamas is not - and the organisation's Syria wing has unequivocally sided with anti-regime protesters. Qatar, home to Mr Qaradawi, has led growing Arab criticism of Damascus over its crackdown.

Meetings between Hamas figures and Qatari officials, as well as the conclusion of a rapid Egypt-sponsored reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, has exacerbated Syrian concerns that they are losing influence over one of their key foreign policy levers.

Following the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood's influence in Egypt has also grown.

Turkey, another close ally-turned-opponent of the Syrian regime, has also been courting Syria's Muslim Brotherhood and hosting its exiled leadership, adding to suspicions in Damascus that a hostile Sunni Islamic front is forming against it.

That concern is tinged with sectarian undertones, and a feeling among Syria's ruling Alawite minority that the region's Sunni powers want the regime toppled.

"Radical Islam is on the rise," the Baathist official said. "Turkey, the Gulf, the Muslim Brotherhood are all extremists at heart even if they show a different face to the public. They see a chance to get rid of a secular state [Syria] and they have tricked the United States and Europe into playing a part in that plan.

"Europe and the US are making a strategic mistake. They are trying to hand power to the Islamic movements that will be waging war against them in 10 years from now."

Syria has cast the anti-regime uprising as an armed Islamic insurgency, backed by foreign states. The US, EU, United Nations and other Arab countries have given that claim little credence, characterising the uprising as a largely peaceful call for democracy and civil rights that Mr Al Assad's regime has tried to break using lethal force.

According to the UN, security units have killed more than 2,700 people since March, with tens of thousands arrested. Syrian officials say 1,400 people have died - all at the hands of militant groups.

The cleric with links to Hamas said the Syrian authorities were mishandling their relationship with the group and would face a final rupture if the pressure continued.

"Hamas now has other options that it did not have before," he said. "It can move to Egypt now, it can go to Qatar, it is not so dependent on Syria as it used to be.

"If Syria pushes them to come out in public support [for the suppression of anti-regime protests], Hamas will refuse and, if it comes to that, relocate, it would be the political sensible decision to make."

He said Hamas would "not make the same mistake as Hizbollah", whose popularity as a champion of the downtrodden, certainly among many Syrians, has taken a hit because of its support for Mr Al Assad.

A Syrian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the relationship with Hamas was in a fragile condition and needed to be handled carefully.

"Hamas has not been supportive enough [of the Syrian regime] and it has made mistakes in its strategy recently that have weakened it," he said. "But we have to be pragmatic.

"We are not looking for any extra enemies at the moment, we need friends, so if some people close to Hamas are silent or even criticise Syria, we should not get into an argument with them now."


http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/hamas-is-backing-protesters-says-syria#full
Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 11:28:45 PM by Rakhsh786

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    * Published 09:10 05.12.11
    * Latest update 09:10 05.12.11

Iran threatening to cut Hamas funds, arms supply if it flees Syria

Palestinian sources tell Haaretz that Hamas is abandoning its headquarters in Syria and looking at other Arab states as alternative location for its political command center.

By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel


Iran had applied intense pressure to Hamas in an effort to persuade it not to leave Damascus, threatening even to cut off funds to the organization if it did so, Palestinian sources have told Haaretz.

The Iranian pressure also included an unprecedented ultimatum - namely, an explicit threat to stop supplying Hamas with arms and suspend the training of its military activists.

According to the sources, Hamas is abandoning its headquarters in Syria and looking at other Arab states as an alternative location for its political command center. Hamas' move comes despite intense Iranian pressure on the organization to refrain from relocating.

A Syrian opposition spokesman said recently that once Assad is toppled, his successors will have no intention of preserving the strategic alliance between Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah.

According to the Palestinian sources, only "second and third-ranking" Hamas activists are leaving Damascus, while senior members of the organization's political wing, headed by Khaled Meshal, are remaining in the Syrian capital.

Senior Hamas political figures even met this past weekend with representatives of the Palestinian factions that are not members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sources add.

The Hamas activists on the move, the sources say, are those responsible for the activities and funding of the organization's military wing, as well as some members of the political leadership. Most have left together with their families to a number of destinations, including Gaza, Sudan, Qatar and Lebanon.

The Palestinian sources have defined the relocation activities as a hasty abandonment of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who until recently was Hamas' strongest ally in the Arab world.

Efforts on the part of the Syrian and Iranian regimes to ascertain whether Hamas is indeed fleeing Damascus have been met with denials from the organization's leadership.

"Hamas has not made any new decision, and there has certainly not been a decision to leave Syria," a member of Hamas' political bureau, Salah Al-Arouri, told Haaretz, adding that if a family or two had left Syria, they had probably done so for personal reasons.

"The organization's top officials are here in Damascus; our relations with the state and Syrian people are excellent," Al-Arouri said. "We respect all Syrians whomever they are. We have no intention of interfering in Syria's internal affairs."

Nevertheless, in recent days, a number of Hamas officials, particularly among the leadership in Gaza, have called explicitly for the organization to distance itself from Damascus in light of the ongoing violence and bloodshed in Syria and the severe harm suffered by the country's civilians.

Haaretz has learned that Hamas has made a decision to abandon Damascus without letting the Syrian authorities know. The decision was made by the organization's senior leadership in the wake of the harsh criticism voiced against top Hamas officials in Gaza and abroad because of their ties with the Syrian regime.

This criticism, coupled with the ongoing violent suppression of the demonstrations in Syria and the reported killing there of more than 4,000 people, intensified the dilemma facing the Hamas leadership - to continue to stand by its Syrian patron, or to abandon the Syrian capital and thus make it clear that Hamas, considered a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, is distancing itself from Assad.

The Arab League's decision to suspend Syria from membership of the organization and impose economic sanctions on Damascus tipped the scales, with Hamas finally deciding to covertly evacuate all its activists from Syria and leave behind only the organization's highest-ranking officials so as to preserve a low profile of activity there. Among the Hamas officials who are still coming and going from Damascus are Mousa Abu Marzouq (Meshal's deputy ), Izzat al-Rishq, Al-Arouri and Meshal himself.

Meanwhile, Syrian television yesterday aired pictures from a military exercise conducted on Saturday in the eastern part of the country. During the military drill, Syrian armed forces launched a Scud B missile, with a range of some 300 kilometers. The broadcast also included pictures of the firing of rockets with ranges of 150-200 kilometers.

It appears the Syrians were looking to show the international community that Assad still has the ability to set the Middle East alight if he so chooses, particularly if the international community intervenes militarily.


http://www.****.***/news/middle-east/iran-threatening-to-cut-hamas-funds-arms-supply-if-it-flees-syria-1.399612

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Hamas split threatens unity deal
Published Wednesday 08/02/2012 (updated) 09/02/2012 19:50



Hamas supporters wave flags during a Gaza protest.(MaanImages/file)


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas' "change and reform" parliamentary committee on Wednesday urged parties involved in the Doha agreement to review its adherence to Palestinian law.

The parliamentary bloc came out against a key clause in the pact under which Abbas would serve both as president and prime minister of a future government.

The legislative bloc includes Hamas' top Gaza-based leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahhar. They did not attend the ceremony in Qatar where Hamas's political chief in exile, Khalid Mashaal, and Abbas signed the agreement on Monday.

On Wednesday, Fatah official Azzam Ahmad dismissed criticism that the move to bolster unity had no standing in Palestinian law.

"I advise those who reject this to read the laws again; we are a presidential system, not parliamentary."

Analysts have long spoken of a split within Hamas between those in the movement who have controlled the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip for the past five years and Mashaal, who had made his base in Damascus.

"We call upon the parties who signed and those who sponsored Palestinian reconciliation to reconsider and ... not to bypass Palestinian law," the parliamentary bloc said in a statement, arguing that a dual presidential-prime ministerial role for Abbas would be illegal.

The deal was aimed at reuniting the deeply split Palestinian national movement after past accords that followed Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007 failed to get off the ground over disagreements over who would head a new government.

Khalil Shaheen, a West Bank political analyst, said Gaza-based Hamas officials viewed acceptance of Abbas as prime minister as a political embarrassment, especially since Hamas defeated Abbas's Fatah in a Palestinian election in 2006.

He said Hamas could try to resolve its internal dispute by reorganizing power-sharing between its leaders in exile and those in the Palestinian territories.

"Otherwise, and if the dispute continues, it could undermine the implementation of the agreement," Shaheen said.

Fatah lawmaker Abdallah Abdallah defended the Doha agreement saying there was no clause in the Palestinian law preventing Abbas from serving as both president and prime minister.

"It is clear that some people (in Hamas) have personal interests and not nationalist interests and they are trying to find a pretext to undermine such a step that paved the way towards ending the division," Abdallah told Reuters in the West Bank.

The accord is supposed to open the way for presidential and parliamentary election possibly later this year, and to rebuild the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip following a 2008-2009 Israeli offensive.

Reuters contributed to this report


http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=458861



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Hamas leader denies party split over unity deal
Published Thursday 09/02/2012 (updated) 10/02/2012 10:55



Abbas and Mashaal met Qatar`s leader in Doha.


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Party leader Ahmad Yousef denied Thursday that Hamas was split on a plan to reconcile the occupied territories, saying misunderstandings were due to the sudden nature of the announcement.

"Perhaps the announcement of the Doha meeting was surprising for everyone, including the dialogue committees, as Qatar provided the guarantees for this new government," Yousef said.

But there "won’t be any split in the Hamas movement; there are institutions that don’t allow this to happen, and the difference in opinion is due to the sudden announcement of the meeting,” he told Ma’an.

“The national consensus is above the law, and the dispute about (President Mahmoud) Abbas leading both the unity government and the PA will be resolved after finding a solution through lawyers.

"This issue doesn’t need all this criticism because we are going through a transitional time, through exceptional circumstances, and the most important thing is achieving reconciliation,” Yousef added.

He added that Abbas had initially rejected the new position, but agreed after consulting with the Americans and Europeans as well as Qatar, which sponsored the deal, about guarantees for the agreement.

He also said Khalied Mashaal could be re-elected as leader of Hamas.

Yousef's comments come amid concerns brought by Hamas' "change and reform" parliamentary committee, which urged parties involved in the Doha agreement to review its adherence to Palestinian law.

The parliamentary bloc came out against a key clause in the pact under which Abbas would serve both as president and prime minister of a future government.

The legislative bloc includes Hamas' top Gaza-based leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahhar. They did not attend the ceremony in Qatar where Mashaal and Abbas signed the agreement Monday.

On Wednesday, Fatah official Azzam Ahmad dismissed criticism that the move had no standing in Palestinian law, saying, "I advise those who reject this to read the laws again; we are a presidential system, not parliamentary."

Analysts have long spoken of a split within Hamas between those in the movement who have controlled the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip for the past five years and Mashaal, who had made his base in Damascus.

"We call upon the parties who signed and those who sponsored Palestinian reconciliation to reconsider and ... not to bypass Palestinian law," the parliamentary bloc said in a statement, arguing that a dual presidential-prime ministerial role for Abbas would be illegal.

The deal was aimed at reuniting the deeply split Palestinian national movement after past accords that followed Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007 failed to get off the ground over disagreements over who would head a new government.

The accord is supposed to open the way for presidential and parliamentary election possibly later this year, and to rebuild the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip following a 2008-2009 Israeli offensive.

Reuters contributed to this report.


http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=458990

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Hamas strongman in Gaza rejects unity deal

By Mohammed Daraghmeh

-

Associated Press

Sunday, February 12, 2012


RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A rare public rift broke open Sunday in the usually tightly disciplined Islamic movement Hamas over a reconciliation deal that would require it to relinquish key areas of control in the Gaza Strip.

The deal, brokered by Qatar, was signed last week in Doha by Hamas‘ top leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the chief of the rival Fatah party, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The agreement is to end nearly five years of separate governments — Hamas’ in Gaza and Mr. Abbas‘ in the West Bank — by establishing an interim unity government headed by Mr. Abbas that would prepare for Palestinian elections.

Senior Hamas figures in Gaza, who stand to lose most from the deal, said it was unacceptable, while top Hamas loyalists in the West Bank defended the agreement. The argument raised new questions about the ability of Mr. Abbas and Mr. Mashaal to implement the deal, seen as their best shot yet at healing the rift following Hamas‘ violent takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Mr. Mashaal might be able to put down the unprecedented rebellion against him but would need the good will and cooperation of Hamas leaders in Gaza to make the agreement work.

Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar, one of the masterminds of the Gaza takeover, said Mr. Mashaal did not consult with others in the movement before signing the deal. Giving Mr. Abbas the post of interim prime minister is “wrong” and “strategically unacceptable,” Mr. Zahar was quoted as telling the Egyptian news agency MENA on Saturday.

On Sunday, the head of the bloc of Hamas legislators in Gaza, Ismail al-Ashkar, alleged that Fatah has not carried out promised confidence-building measures, such as releasing Hamas loyalists held in the West Bank.

“If the elections are to heal all our chronic, complicated problems, how can we have transparent and fair elections under such conditions,” Mr. al-Ashkar said. “If this agreement is to work, we need to improve it.”

Last week, Mr. al-Ashkar’s parliament bloc came out against the agreement.

In contrast, Hamas lawmakers from the West Bank supported the Doha agreement across the board, according to statements and interviews published on Hamas‘ official website. Such public debate is rare in the secretive, tightly organized Hamas.

The criticism of the Hamas leaders in Gaza highlights the vulnerability of the Doha agreement.

Mr. Abbas needs to satisfy international demands that the interim government — to consist of politically independent technocrats — is not a front for Hamas, shunned as a terror group. If it is seen as too close to Hamas, the Palestinians likely would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in Western aid.

At the same time, he risks sabotage from Hamas leaders in Gaza if he tries to strip them of too much of their power.

“If Abbas forms his government with one color, it won’t work in Gaza,” said Raed Naerat, a West Bank analyst close to Hamas. “The ministers should be acceptable to Hamas officials.”


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/12/hamas-strongman-gaza-rejects-unity-deal/



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Haniyeh trip Tehran highlights Hamas rift
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND REUTERS 02/12/2012 00:38

Zahar calls Mashaal-Abbas agreement a ‘mistake’; At Tehran rally with Haniyeh, Ahmadinejad says nuclear program advances to be announced soon.

The dispute within Hamas over last week’s Qatar-sponsored reconciliation pact with Fatah reached its peak over the weekend, with the Islamist movement’s leaders in the Gaza Strip coming out against it publicly.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s visit to Tehran over the weekend, and fiery statements he and his hosts made, are also seen as a severe blow to the reconciliation deal.

Haniyeh on Saturday attended a rally marking the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution that toppled the US-backed Shah. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared in a speech at the rally that Iran would soon announce advances in its nuclear program.

“In the coming days the world will witness Iran’s announcement of its very important and very major nuclear achievements,” Reuters quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Demonstrators carrying Iranian flags and pictures of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”

Ahmadinejad provided no details of how Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says has only peaceful purposes, has progressed. Iran has warned of a “painful” answer if it is attacked, saying that it would hit Israeli and American bases in the Gulf, and block the vital Gulf oil shipping route through the Strait of Hormuz.

“If attacked by the Zionist regime [Israel], we will turn it to dust,” said Muhammad Shirdel, a Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported on Saturday.

“Thousands of our missiles will target Israel and the 40 bases of America in the region,” he added.

The nuclear dispute has fueled tension as the West tightens sanctions. The European Union has agreed to ban Iranian oil imports by July and to freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank.

Its measures reinforce those imposed by the US, as the West attempts to force Tehran to return to talks before it produces enough nuclear material for an atomic bomb.

Neither side has shown much appetite for compromise. Iran says it will fight EU sanctions with counter-measures and its parliament plans to pass legislation to ban oil exports to the EU.

Iranian officials brushed off the impact of sanctions, while also proclaiming that Iranians will endure any hardship in support of their country’s right to nuclear technology.

“I am saying openly that if you [the West] continue to use the language of force and threat, our nation will never succumb to your pressure,” Ahmadinejad said.

At another rally in Tehran, Haniyeh declared that Hamas would never recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Haniyeh said that the jihad and resistance were Hamas’s strategic choice “for liberating Jerusalem and al-Aksa.” He also dismissed Israeli and American threats against Iran.

The Hamas prime minister arrived in Tehran on Friday for a three-day visit during which he is scheduled to meet with Iran’s supreme leader and president. His visit to Iran came despite appeals from Qatar and other Gulf countries, which want to see Hamas distance itself from Tehran and Damascus.

Haniyeh’s visit to Iran is also seen as a challenge to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who has moved closer to Qatar and other Gulf countries since he left his headquarters in Syria.

Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip are opposed to Mashaal’s recent deal with Mahmoud Abbas – especially the part that calls for appointing the PA president as prime minister of a unity government.

Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, said Saturday that the deal was a “mistake.” He added that the appointment of Abbas as prime minister was completely rejected by Hamas.

Zahar told the Egyptian news agency Asharq Al-Awsat that Mashaal did not consult with Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere about the Qatar-brokered deal.


http://www.****.***/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=257434

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Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 06:17:16 PM by Rakhsh786

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Hamas Armed Wing Opposed to Meshal Shakeup Plan

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Monday, February 13, 2012

Things have changed for Hamas.

The head of its political bureau, Khaled Meshal, has taken to shuttling between Qatar, Egypt, and Sudan, in addition to making occasional visits to Syria, Jordan, and Tunisia. While this was happening, there was a considerable amount of debate within the movement. Such debates have largely been influenced by the evolving Arab political order in light of the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. Relations with Iran and Syria are also an issue, as are Hamas’ internal affairs.

Insiders have related what happened at the latest meeting of the movement’s Consultative Council, its senior leadership body, which this year was held in Sudan.

Meshal presented his report on the leadership’s work over his preceding term. Meshal normally makes concise and brief presentations. This time, however, he expounded at length about the implications for Hamas in relation to transformations underway in the Arab street. He concluded by reaffirming that resistance is the sole and certain option for liberating the land of Palestine.

Meshal then sprang a surprise. He announced that after 16 years as head of the political bureau, he believed the time had come for all leadership responsibilities to be assumed by other people. He added that he could hardly call for changes in other leadership posts without himself taking the initiative, and asked to be relieved of the task of heading the political bureau.

Those present treated the move as a genuine surprise. Some expressed appreciation of what was described as a “bold step, unprecedented for young leaders of revolutionary movements.” But in their reactions, principled and emotional responses combined with political and organizational considerations. A majority view emerged that existing conditions make it incumbent on Meshal to remain in office, and that now is not the time for the movement to make sweeping leadership changes – whether at the top of the political bureau or other senior levels.

Follow-up meetings were later held by other key Hamas bodies, including jailed prisoners and leaders inside the Occupied Territories. The outcome was that they also told Meshal they wanted him to remain in his post.

Most crucial in this regard was the reported response of the commander-general of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, Muhammad Daif. He asked the military wing’s representative to the military leadership, Ahmad al-Jaabari, to inform all concerned – from Meshal himself, to rivals such as Mahmoud al-Zahhar and Mousa Abu-Marzouq, to proposed consensus candidate Ismail Haniyeh – that Hamas’ military wing does not think this is the right time to make changes on such a scale, and that it supports keeping Meshal in his job.

The military wing wields significant influence both within Hamas and on the ground. It sought to put an end to a simmering debate within the movement sparked by rumors about impending leadership changes. It had become clear to all, especially the military wing, that senior Hamas leaders were behind most of these rumors, and related leaks to the media. This occurred despite a prior agreement to address such matters in the middle of the year when the movement’s congress is due to be held along with new leadership elections.

On the political front, the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt and Tunisia, and its growing influence in Libya, Yemen, and other Arab countries, have fuelled extensive discussions within the Palestinian movement.

While Hamas’ leaders stress that its final position will always hinge on the issue of resistance, its status and thinking are bound to be affected. There is a strong current of opinion within the movement which wants to harness the Islamists’ successes in support of the resistance option.

Others have advised, instead, that Hamas take advantage of its Palestinian partner’s current weakness to join it in pursuing a peace deal. The idea is that this would bestow full legitimacy on the movement – Arab as well as Palestinian, and official as well as popular – and thus force the outside world to have dealings with it.

The discussion becomes more complicated in relation to the impact of developments in the Arab world on attitudes regarding Syria and Iran.

Hamas leaders confirm that there is a freeze in the official relationship with Syria at the top level. President Bashar Assad has on numerous occasions refused to meet with Hamas leaders, reportedly because he believes that it has “failed to stand by the regime against the conspiracy which Syria is facing.”

However, Hamas leaders say that their latest round of meetings resulted in a reaffirmation of their position toward Syria.

These leaders summed up this reaffirmation as follows: Hamas will preserve its strong relationship with the regimes in Syria and Iran, and with other resistance forces, particularly Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

These groups and states have been actively engaged in providing support to the resistance which goes beyond taking a political position. Hamas acknowledges that the regime in Syria extended strong and practical backing to the resistance in Palestine, particularly during the Israeli assault on Gaza three years ago. This support has not been forgotten by the Damascus-based Hamas leaders, nor by the military wing in Gaza itself. Therefore, Hamas is expected to reciprocate this stand with a very high degree of loyalty.

Hamas leaders say that soon after demonstrations began in Syria, they relayed their concerns that plans were being hatched to use the protests to launch an international campaign against the country.

These concerns were shared during direct discussions with the Syrian president, and with allies in Iran and Lebanon. Hamas advocated a political solution, based on the regime initiating reforms to address and contain public demands. It was thought this would help bring on board the patriotic and Islamic opposition, and isolate oppositionists linked to Western parties that want to undermine Syria and the resistance forces. Hamas also contacted Arab and Turkish Islamist leaders and urged them not to push toward a confrontation that would lead to civil war in Syria.

As for relations with Iran, Hamas leaders affirm that military and financial support programs remain in place. This includes increased provision of arms and equipment, the supply of new types of weapons into the Gaza Strip, and specialist training courses held for hundreds of cadres in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The movement has also taken advantage of the changes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya to improve its military procurement.

Hamas denies there has been a halt to Iranian financial assistance. It says reports to the contrary were merely a mistaken attempt to explain a technical hold-up. But this was quickly remedied, and the reasons for it are known by both the Iranian and Palestinian sides. Iran continues its financial support to Hamas, and its provision of military and security assistance to the movement’s military wing.

Leaders in Hamas confirm that a decision has been made not to be based permanently in Syria. Permanent residence by Hamas leaders in Cairo or Amman has meanwhile been ruled out by the Egyptian Supreme Council and the Jordanian authorities.

The Qataris and Turks provide logistical facilities to the movement’s leaders, but on the proviso that their activities are confined to the political side of things.

The bigger question becomes: Is Hamas willing to be confined to the political side of the Palestinian struggle?


http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/armed-wing-opposed-meshal-shakeup-plan

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I'm really glad that Ismail Haniyeh went to Iran and pretty much put a stop to the propaganda which wanted to portray Hamas as selling out.
Ya Ali, molla Ali (as)

"There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance" - Imam Ali (as)

"''melate ma neshan dade'ast ke be hadaf haye khod momen, va dar rahe on, ta nesar'e jaan eestade'ast.. chenin melati, az america va az hiiich ghodrati nemitars'ad, va be yaari'e khoda neshan khahad daad ke pirooz az on' e hagh, va momenan be hagh ast!"

- Rahbar'e moazzam'e Enghlab'e Islami Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

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I'm really glad that Ismail Haniyeh went to Iran and pretty much put a stop to the propaganda which wanted to portray Hamas as selling out.
Hamdou Allah!

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what's with the ending of the 4th video ?

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^Subliminal "Greenie" / shahi propaganda, hadn't noticed this. Thanks for the hint, video replaced. 

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