Iran Vows to Support Hamas
The transition from outsider terrorist group into mainstream politics isn’t easy for Hamas.
To be accepted by the international community, it must take a more diplomatic approach—and yet it doesn’t want to lose its credentials as a hardcore Islamist organization. Where will it find its place between the extremes of bombs and banter, death and diplomacy?
Western politicians are optimistic, but realism demands a much dimmer view. The Trumpet expects Hamas to take some decisive, violent action relatively soon.
Facing pressure from Israel and the West to disarm and embrace a warmer political tone, Hamas will likely seek assurance and comfort in the arms of those of like mind and religion.
Watch for Hamas to draw closer to groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the government of Syria and, particularly, the Middle East’s most roguish nation—Iran. In fact, this is already happening—specifically with promises of financial support in the wake of likely loss of revenue from Israel and the West.
In February, Iran and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood both called for Muslims to give money to the Hamas-led Palestinian government. Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Hamas for not giving in to international pressure to recognize Israel. “Annual financial assistance to Palestine is one way that Muslim nations can share the responsibility of Palestine,” he said in talks with Hamas’s political chief Khaled Mashaal (Associated Press, February 20). The Muslim Brotherhood announced the launch of a fundraising campaign. “Supporting Hamas is the responsibility of all the peoples of the free world and Arab world,” Brotherhood spokesman Issam al-Aryan told Agence France Presse (February 20).
Discussing meetings that occurred between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas leaders just days before the Hamas election victory in January, the Israeli Haaretz noted, “Ahmadinejad promised Hamas financial and political support and closer military ties. … Iran intends to make sure Hamas does not give in to political pressure from the West and several Arab countries to reach a political compromise including recognition of Israel and a stop to the violence in return for Western financial aid to the [Palestinian Authority]. Iran and Syria are demanding that Hamas stand firm on its ideology. Tehran is promising financial aid in place of the West, and says it has vast resources from oil sales to help Hamas” (February 5). If Iran can successfully wield enough influence over an already subservient Hamas, the Palestinian Authority will be in the hip pocket of the most brash and pushy country in the world today.