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Hamas and Qatar’s Collateral Damage

The Gaza War should be seen as an effort by Qatar and Hamas to re-establish their importance in the region.

by
Jonathan Spyer

Bio

July 23, 2014 - 12:06 am
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The fight between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is presented in the global media as a local conflict featuring a well-organized state with its army, against a small Islamist organization. This picture is misleading.  Hamas is not an isolated or even an entirely independent player. Rather, it is a member of a broader regional alliance, which is seeking to benefit from the current situation.

This is the alliance of Muslim Brotherhood forces in the Middle East. Qatar is the main financier and cheerleader for this group.  Erdogan’s Turkey is also linked to it.

The Gaza war is best understood as this alliance’s war on Israel.  How so? Let’s take a look.

The Muslim Brotherhood/Qatar alliance has not been doing very well of late.  It was the main winner of the first year of the “Arab Spring.”

Aided by Qatari money, and by the enthusiastic support of Qatar’s tame al-Jazeera channel, the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power in Egypt and in Tunisia.  MB-associated groups formed a strong presence for a time in the Syrian rebellion, too.  Turkey, ruled by the MB-associated AKP, was a strong supporter of this process. Ankara forged close links with the Morsi government in Egypt.  Turkey also offered support to MB-type militias in Syria.

Hamas chose to place its bets on this emergent Muslim Brotherhood/Qatar power bloc.  Formerly closely aligned with Iran, the movement’s leadership departed from Iran-allied Syria, and supported the rebellion against the Assad regime.  Iranian funding slowed (though it didn’t entirely stop, and Iranian weapons have similarly been much in evidence in Hamas’s attacks).  But Qatari money, and most importantly, the support of the Morsi regime in Cairo, seemed set to handily replace this.

Not much of all this remains.  Hamas made a bad bet.  Last year, 2013, was a terrible year for the Muslim Brothers.  Morsi was ousted in Egypt.  The Brotherhood-associated Nahda party left office in Tunisia.  The Syrian rebels were turned back by Assad and his allies and began to fight among themselves.

So Hamas entered 2014 in a much chastened state.  While some elements within it were seeking to rebuild the connection to Iran, the levels of support were clearly nowhere close to the pre-2011 period.

Things got worse after the new Egyptian regime of General Abd al Fattah al-Sisi destroyed the system of tunnels that provided Gazans with readily available goods and the rulers of the Strip with a major source of income.  Power cuts and shortages followed.

So the camp of which Hamas was a part was on the ropes in mid-2014.

The decision to escalate the tensions with Israel to an all-out conflict clearly derives from this situation.  Hamas unexpectedly proved unamenable to an Egyptian proposal that, in essence, would have restored the status quo ante.

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Top Rated Comments   
Kerry to help our enemies again! This seems like a pattern for Kerry. One just hopes Obama's standing in world affairs is so low that Israel ignore him like the rest of the world. Obama/Kerry should just go home and shut up. Let Israel finish off the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza (aka Hamas) just as Egypt has removed the MB in Cairo.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
And when Hamas seems to be in danger of being destroyed, in rides the 7th cavalry under the command of John Kerry to save the day.
With friends such as these who needs enemies.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (14)
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You fail to point out that the Palestinians voted for Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council in which they received 56% of the seats. So, apparently whatever Hamas is doing is is just fine with the electorate. That pretty much blows out of the water the cocept of "innocent civilians" in my book. Game on!
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The MB affiliated Islamist are besides Qatar and Turkey- also Iran and Sudan vs. Saudi Arabia,Egypt,Jordan and UAE. Qatar and Turkey are against el-Sisi,Egypt. That's why US (Obama,Kerry)backed Qatar as the mediator (http://www.france24.com/en/20140711-USA-negotiate-gaza-ceasefire-Obama-israel) Obama-Turkey and Qatar possibilities. Then later a U-turn for US/Kerry /Obama to change to Egypt.Turks and Qataris were also declared personae not gratae in Libya- where they interfered with the rebel terrorists in Benghazi and Cyrenaica. Libya is in the midst of real civil war- no airports- and Turkey and Qatar trying to oust e-Sisi in Egypt and bring in MB.No not foreget that Pres.Obama's re-orientation in backing MB in Middle East. (PSD-11)Hamas has been storing weapons (missiles,ammo)in UN schoos,hospitals,mosques and residential areas. All the foreign aid in bringing cement has gone into building 30 m deep tunnels into Israel. The latest- Iranian SApeaker Ali Larijani in OIC meeting- Palestinians need weapons. M25 etc missiles are from Iran/forwarded to Sudan- then Gaza. (in parts). The Iranian nuke talks sequal starting in September,2014 . Then there is a 'movement' to discredit Israel's Iron Horse- 5% accuracy- US should not back it From hs.fi found and article citing experts in MIT study. by David Tabot July 10.,2014 'Israel's rocket defense system failing a crucial task- expert analysis study (http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/Asiantuntijat+Israelin+Iron +dome_ei+toimi+kuten+kuuluisi++tuhoaa+vain+viisi+prosenttia+ohjuksista/a1405483328486 by Henrik Suni hs.fi. (MIT Technology Review)
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now a U.N. high commissioner is talking about Israeli war crimes. Perhaps they'd be better off sending in an international police force and plucking out the Hamas leadership and putting them on trial in The Hague for waging aggressive war on Israeli civilians and putting their own in harm's way.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
No More U.S. Funds to any Arab group pretending poverty.

Better that the Arabs fund their own - meaning Gazonians or East Bankers...

The assassin idea ain't too bad, either.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe Israel should send the Assassins to the Emir of Qatar? This might cut off the funding for a while. A new Emir might decide to forget about funding terrorists---lest the Assassins come for him, too.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly! It isn't like these potentates are just neutral observers. They are funding the terror types and ought to share in the risks.

Actuallly Qutar would be a great first strike. Fallout goes over Indian Ocean, or Iran if the winds are right.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
the UN should stay out of this matter, and let Israel remove the world of the thugs and terrorists and concentrate on the genocide of Catholics that may happen by ISIS in Iraq.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Middle East Problem: http://youtu.be/8EDW88CBo-8

So who is the culprit here?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
So what are the chances of all this, along with Russia in the Ukraine, getting out of hand and closing off the direct air route from Northern Europe to SE Asia?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The UN chief chose the Qatari capital as the place from which to castigate Israel’s “atrocious” actions in Gaza."

This tells you all you need to know about the UN.

As for Kerry, I hope Bibi outright tells him to STFU and go home.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hamas is perfectly willing to force Israel to destroy great swaths of infrastructure in Gaza. They can then appeal to the weak-minded Europeans and Americans and also to their islamist sponsors for money for "reconstruction."

They don't care about civilian casualties, except to welcome them as bad PR for the IDF. And there is no danger they will be voted out, not only do their terrorist activities enjoy broad support but any political opposition tends to meet with unfortunate accidents.

13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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