Roger L. Simon

Does Hamas get frequent flyer miles?

How else to explain this game of charades in Moscow?

Russian analysts were skeptical of Moscow’s ability to persuade Hamas to revise a radical ideology it has held since the group formed in 1987. They predicted that the talks would lead nowhere.

“Hamas won’t listen to Russia because Moscow has no real levers of influence over them,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the foreign policy magazine Russia in Global Affairs. “This is not the time of the Soviet Union, when we had real clout in the region.”

Oh, maybe it’s about money…

A Hamas representative, Osama Hamdan, told ITAR-Tass in Beirut that the movement is grateful for Russia’s political and moral support, “but it would welcome a discussion of possible economic cooperation too.”

[Russian editor] Lukyanov said Russia no longer provided significant aid, despite its oil wealth, and said only the United States had real influence in the Middle East.

“These talks won’t lead anywhere, but ultimately, the Americans may decide to get involved. And if Hamas is going to listen to anyone, it will be to them,” he said.

Putin didn’t meet with Hamas.