Editor’s Note – There is no simple answer to anything in the Middle East, and for some time, SUA and others have been pointing to one element to watch out for. This element is not just any Israeli problem, its a regional issue. The ‘Palestinian’ issue is tied to the very core to Hamas, and to think otherwise is folly at least, total stupidity at the worst.
To those who wish ‘Palestinian’ statehood, don’t hold your breath, you may not look good in blue. To those who have researched and understand at least the major facts, make sure you include this group in all your analysis.
To those who are completely up to date on all of the Middle East, well, you already know this. But please, read on and remember, what the media says and does is of little consequence, because they eschew fact so they can rile up the masses and the ignorant into reading about bloody headlines.
Iran is the key, and Ron Paul and his followers need to understand that isolationism will be our downfall. It never worked before, and American Exceptionalism is something to spread far and wide.
According to many Palestinians, Iran manipulates the Palestinian cause, raising suspicions about Ismail Haniyeh’s recent visit to Tehran, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
The latest visit to Tehran by Hamas’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, raised many eyebrows among Palestinians who viewed the timing as “problematic and unwise”.
Critics argue that having cordial meetings with the Iranian leadership at this time is bound to be interpreted by many Muslims as a brazen betrayal of the Syrian revolution, including the Syrian Muslim Brothers, the Alawite regime’s arch foe and ultimate enemy.
Iran, which officially claims it doesn’t interfere in the Syrian situation, is one of the Bashar Al-Assad regime’s ardent supporters. The same thing applies to the Lebanese militia Hizbullah, which is rumoured to be assisting the Syrian army in its bloody crackdown on the freedom movement.
The ruling Alawite sect in Syria is an esoteric branch of Shiism. In recent years, Shia scholars tried to “rehabilitate” the Alawites, with some Shia clerics issuing edicts that the Alawites were bona fide Shia.
The Alawites are anthropomorphists who believe that the Prophet Mohamed’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali, was God incarnate.
Syrian sources close to the anti-Assad movement have reported that Iranian fighters were spotted helping the regime’s forces kill peaceful protesters. However, these reports have not been confirmed by independent or third party sources.
Until fairly recently, Hamas resorted to reiterating terse statements affirming its “absolute neutrality” with regard to “the situation” in Syria.
Hamas’s politburo chief, Khaled Meshaal, said during a recent Al-Jazeera interview that “we support the Arab peoples’ quest for freedom but we can’t betray those who stood with us during hard times.”
Officially, Meshaal’s remarks passed quietly as many ordinary Palestinians understood, begrudgingly, that Hamas had to refrain from burning all bridges with Damascus or Tehran before knowing for sure the direction of the political winds in Syria.
But this logic is not being widely and readily accepted, especially among the more ideologically oriented Islamists who believe religion, not politics, must always come first.
One veteran Islamist leader who had spent many years in Israeli jails told Al-Ahram Weekly that “expediency plays a role in the formation of Muslims’ positions, but not when Muslim blood is being spilled on a large scale in the streets and squares of Syria”.
The middle-aged Hebronite read a Hadith or saying of the Prophet Mohammed that, “Whoever aids or abets in spilling an innocent Muslim’s blood will have no hope for God’s mercy on the Day of Judgment.”
In their hearts, even supporters of the Gaza-Tehran connection swear they are with the Syrian people heart and soul.
Ahmed Youssef, a former political advisor to Haniyeh, told the Weekly that, “Hamas can’t be a genuine Islamic movement while siding with murderous regimes against the people.
“And it would be wrong to assume that the ostensible ambiguity and ambivalence connote or denote support for the regime in Damascus.”
Youssef, nonetheless, admitted that, “Occasionally, a free man must seek the friendship of an enemy for survival.”
In Tehran, Haniyeh was accorded a stately reception. He also had a cordial meeting with Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei.
It is likely that Iran tried to use the visit to alleviate its isolation. Supporting the Palestinian cause is always a winning card in Tehran. This is certainly the case ever since the triumph of the Khomeini revolution in 1978. Moreover, it is generally understood that Iranian support for the Palestinians is considered one of the main factors behind the hostility shown towards the Iranian regime by Israel and guardian-ally, the United States.
It is uncertain how large is the amount of financial aid Tehran gives the Islamist regime in Gaza. Some Gaza sources point out that Iranian aid to Hamas was erratic and dwindling. However, Haniyeh’s visit to Tehran, which was termed a “resounding success” by both sides, seems to have convinced the Islamist government in Gaza that this is not the time to scale down relations with Tehran.
One Hamas official, Ismail Radwan, lashed out at critics of Haniyeh’s visit to Tehran.
“What do the critics want? The Arabs, or most of them, are squandering their billions on their lusts and vagaries, but Iran is helping us remain steadfast and resilient in the face of Israel.”
The Gazan Islamist leader further advised critics to examine their Islamic credentials, especially their obligations towards Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Look, Arab leaders are not even raising the matter with foreign diplomats. So what do these people really want? Do they want us to tell the Iranians that our civilians will die of hunger and lack of medical care because we don’t accept Iranian aid?”
Apart from Hamas’s decision to maintain liaison with Damascus, some Sunni Arab voices are worried that Iran might utilise its badly needed financial aid to Gaza to convert Sunnis to Shiism.
A few months ago, a small group of neophytes tried to hold a procession in Gaza to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the nephew of the Prophet Mohammed. However, the move was suppressed before it began and those involved were charged with spreading schism and endangering social cohesion.
Palestinian Muslims, who constitute 99.95 per cent of the overall population of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, are almost all Sunni who resent any notion of conversion to the esoteric Shia sect.
One Palestinian journalist wrote an article recently warning that “there should be no tolerance for those who curse the companions and wives of the Prophet, worship tombs and dead saints and bloody their bodies during Ashura,” an allusion to Shias.
Iran denies any sectarian motives behind its policy towards the Palestinians.