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Hamas recieve Qatari head and GCC aid, after condemning Syria.


Thac0man

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In politics it takes a while for things to come out in the wash, but this was always expected. After severing its relations with Iran due to pressure to align itself with the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt, Hamas is now openly reaping the rewards of it realignment. It first expression was Hamas condemnation of Assad, which drew a public line between Hamas and Tehran. Once armed and supported by Iran, Hamas is now drawing the endorsement of the GCC, and with that some lucrative development and financial support too. The visit of Qatari head of state Skeikh Hamid, is the first visit by any head of state to Gaza since Hamas took control there in 2007, ending 5 years of political isolation. But it is highly symbolic for many other reasons too:

The emir of Qatar has arrived in the Gaza Strip - the first head of state to visit since the Islamist group Hamas came to power there in 2007.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is expected to launch a $254m (£158m) construction project to help rebuild the war-torn Palestinian territory.
BBC News - Qatar ruler begins landmark visit to Gaza

The PLO dominated PA has "expressed reservation" about the visit, but not in stark terms, perhaps for fear of alienating possilble Arab backing for its control over the Westbank. Instead they have called for a new start to peace talks between the PA and Hamas.

This visit and the investment that goes with it, no doubt mark the start of a more committed relationship between the GCC and Hamas, between whom the interlocutor is Egypt, both is political and geographic terms. Both the Hamas leadership and Egypts President Moursi were persent at the recent AKP conference in Turkey. At least now we know what was being discussed besides their new found hatred of the Assads.

Until now the GCC has simply used the Palestinian problem as a public platform to bolster its regional credability, without actually doing anything. Now with the GCC directly involved in Gaza, and apparently favouring Hamas over the PA, they seem to finally be pulling a chair up to the table.

How will this affect GCC backed militant Sinni groups the operate in Gaza outside the direct control of Hamas? How quickly they are brought under rein might indicate how much direct influence the GCC has on Sunni militant groups. The miltia it now backs and will be funding in the strip, is Hamas, which is a startling turn around from just two years ago, when Iran's Ahmedinejad could crow about his governments support for Palestiians, via that same organisation. Tehrans influence is now confined to Lebanon, and the increasingly shakey Syria. Will Hamas come to resemble a more 'Sunni' militant organisation if these various groups are absorbed instead of withdrawn or expelled?

- Does this realignment of Hamas, or refinement of their alliances, mean a backdoor is open to the US via the GCC? Does it mean Isreal will not be the only voice influencing US policy towards Palestinians?

- If there is to be any progress in that regard, would there not have to be another attempt at reconciliation between Hamas and the PA?

- Might we see Hamas fighters enter Syria on the side of the FSA?

- Does this man that Palestinians in Lebanon may align themselves more with neighbouring anti-Assad forces?

- Will any reconsiliation that replaces Tehrans sponsorship of Hamas with GCC money, mean any unified Palestinian representation will be more Islamist? That this move comes directly after the mandate for a new PA has been voted on could be no acccident. The PA keeps its mandate, while Hamas get their boots under the table with the aid of GCC cash. But to quote the Hamas leader from March this year where he expressed support for ""the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform". So is Hamas to be the unelected military wing of the Palestinian cause, while the PA remains its political voice?
 
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mary_queen_of_the_gael

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This is a very important development. Israel are obviously ok with this visit as they keep a tight grip on the Gaza concentration camp. Shifting sands. The money offered is small beer by Qatari standards bur evidence of the undue sway that cleptocracy wields.
Qatar and saudi Arabia seem to be separately jockeying for power and influence and the Sunni/Shia split suits them both.
I guess the Palestinians will be further divided.
 

Thac0man

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Qatar and saudi Arabia seem to be separately jockeying for power and influence and the Sunni/Shia split suits them both.

I guess the Palestinians will be further divided.
There is no indication that any meaningful divide exists beyond the historic and current PA and Hamas one. That rift is one that is slated to be examined, with a view to ending it. So more, not less unity, seems on the cards for Palestinians.

I would also would not draw a line between Qatar and the Saudies as regards influence. The former has acted increasingly as ambassador for the GCC in recent times, while the latter is the GCC's undisputed leader. Where goes Qatar these days, Saudi is found as well.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Well constructed OP, and seemingly informative.

You ask a lot of questions in the OP; might you be able to offer some opinions on those questions?
 

Thac0man

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You ask a lot of questions in the OP; might you be able to offer some opinions on those questions?
Well what is immediatly striking is the obvious dichotomy between what has been claimed about Hamas, and what Hamas actually really was and still is. Leaving aside any judgement about the organisation itself, it has been claimed by many when Hamas and the PA split violently, that Hamas represented not only the true democratic voice of the Palestinian cause, but a multi-denominational force within it. Facts on the ground rarely backed up those claims, and now there seems a distinct lack of will for anyone to repeat them. Much support Hamas enjoyed in parts of the west, seems to have stemmed from its relationship with Iran.

How Hamas will proceed is anyones guess. As the GCC throws money at Hamas, the PA continues to crumble for lack of finance - the GCC never delivering on promises of cash aid to them. The timebomb in the room is obviously Hamas getting stronger as the PA and PLO are reduced in strenght and infleunce. So Isreal may have to moderate its cavalier treatment of the PA, or risk Hamas walking into power by default, thus completeing their coup to take over the entire apparatus of Palestinian statehood, rather than just the reins of government.

In the short and mid term, the GCC hijacks Irans Palestinian PR platform, and also gets to add the extensive Palestinian presense in Lebanon to its column, in what it can count on being on its side in any possible future civil war there. If the worst does happen, then with Assad gone and Hezzbollah probably routed, the GCC has Isreal in a vice like grip. Its power, not Irans, will be the one that surrounds Isreal. Post Assad, Turkish, Syrian and Egyptian cooperation, will fill out the political map of the ME.

Now sorry to end on another question; but whose agenda will Israel have to service to maintain peace? All involved will have their demands, and the likelihood of Isreal continuing to simply pretend that no one elses opinion matters except theirs, seems unsustainable. Change is coming, but I will be darned if I can forcast whether it will be dicated in the long term by either the GCC, or nations like Turkey and Egypt. The only thing that is clear is that Hamas decided shift is historic and has massive implicaitons.
 

Partizan

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Great OP, ThacOman.

A very interesting and worrying development.
A worrying development indeed. It is worthy to note that Israel did not block or impede the visit in any way seeing that it is in Israel's interest to see the Palestinians divided. The Israelis had allowed and encouraged the growth of Hamas in the 1980s seeing them as a counterweight to the secular Fatah and the Marxist PFLP led by George Habash. The wider ramifications are profound. With the Fatah administration in the West Bank crumbling for lack of cash, the GCC influence and getting on board with the Islamist Hamas by providing them with cash is worrying for the secularist forces that represent the Palestinians.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Well what is immediatly striking is the obvious dichotomy between what has been claimed about Hamas, and what Hamas actually really was and still is. Leaving aside any judgement about the organisation itself, it has been claimed by many when Hamas and the PA split violently, that Hamas represented not only the true democratic voice of the Palestinian cause, but a multi-denominational force within it. Facts on the ground rarely backed up those claims, and now there seems a distinct lack of will for anyone to repeat them. Much support Hamas enjoyed in parts of the west, seems to have stemmed from its relationship with Iran.

How Hamas will proceed is anyones guess. As the GCC throws money at Hamas, the PA continues to crumble for lack of finance - the GCC never delivering on promises of cash aid to them. The timebomb in the room is obviously Hamas getting stronger as the PA and PLO are reduced in strenght and infleunce. So Isreal may have to moderate its cavalier treatment of the PA, or risk Hamas walking into power by default, thus completeing their coup to take over the entire apparatus of Palestinian statehood, rather than just the reins of government.

In the short and mid term, the GCC hijacks Irans Palestinian PR platform, and also gets to add the extensive Palestinian presense in Lebanon to its column, in what it can count on being on its side in any possible future civil war there. If the worst does happen, then with Assad gone and Hezzbollah probably routed, the GCC has Isreal in a vice like grip. Its power, not Irans, will be the one that surrounds Isreal. Post Assad, Turkish, Syrian and Egyptian cooperation, will fill out the political map of the ME.

Now sorry to end on another question; but whose agenda will Israel have to service to maintain peace? All involved will have their demands, and the likelihood of Isreal continuing to simply pretend that no one elses opinion matters except theirs, seems unsustainable. Change is coming, but I will be darned if I can forcast whether it will be dicated in the long term by either the GCC, or nations like Turkey and Egypt. The only thing that is clear is that Hamas decided shift is historic and has massive implicaitons.
Very interesting; thanks.
 

mary_queen_of_the_gael

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Well what is immediatly striking is the obvious dichotomy between what has been claimed about Hamas, and what Hamas actually really was and still is. Leaving aside any judgement about the organisation itself, it has been claimed by many when Hamas and the PA split violently, that Hamas represented not only the true democratic voice of the Palestinian cause, but a multi-denominational force within it. Facts on the ground rarely backed up those claims, and now there seems a distinct lack of will for anyone to repeat them. Much support Hamas enjoyed in parts of the west, seems to have stemmed from its relationship with Iran.

How Hamas will proceed is anyones guess. As the GCC throws money at Hamas, the PA continues to crumble for lack of finance - the GCC never delivering on promises of cash aid to them. The timebomb in the room is obviously Hamas getting stronger as the PA and PLO are reduced in strenght and infleunce. So Isreal may have to moderate its cavalier treatment of the PA, or risk Hamas walking into power by default, thus completeing their coup to take over the entire apparatus of Palestinian statehood, rather than just the reins of government.

In the short and mid term, the GCC hijacks Irans Palestinian PR platform, and also gets to add the extensive Palestinian presense in Lebanon to its column, in what it can count on being on its side in any possible future civil war there. If the worst does happen, then with Assad gone and Hezzbollah probably routed, the GCC has Isreal in a vice like grip. Its power, not Irans, will be the one that surrounds Isreal. Post Assad, Turkish, Syrian and Egyptian cooperation, will fill out the political map of the ME.

Now sorry to end on another question; but whose agenda will Israel have to service to maintain peace? All involved will have their demands, and the likelihood of Isreal continuing to simply pretend that no one elses opinion matters except theirs, seems unsustainable. Change is coming, but I will be darned if I can forcast whether it will be dicated in the long term by either the GCC, or nations like Turkey and Egypt. The only thing that is clear is that Hamas decided shift is historic and has massive implicaitons.
Hard to disagree with many of your facts but I doubt Turkey or the leaders of the cleptocratic Gulf sates want a fight with Israel. I imagine Israel is just a bogeyman they use for personal consumption. Though their anti Jewish TV programmes are infamous in their rabidness, I reckon their prime motive is to hem in Iran's Shai influence. But you are right, big stakes and who can second guess those at the poker table?
 

Thac0man

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Hard to disagree with many of your facts but I doubt Turkey or the leaders of the cleptocratic Gulf sates want a fight with Israel.
Well it has been a long time since there has been any direct confrontation between the Arab world and Isreal, and yes much that has followed since that Pan-Arabist effort to tackle Isreal in the field, has been little more than self aggrandising propoganda. But not since the Nasserist days has the Arab world been so shaken up. On one hand the GCC is on the march and flexing its muscles. On the other democracies are springing up everywhere, and they will not be as easy to persuade into decades of silence, as self serving dictators were.

The two facets that represent emerging Arabism also have other characteristics which will be hard to ignore. The increasingly transparent and vertical power structure of the GCC has always matched its Isreal policy to the lazy pace set by the agendas of dictators. But now they will have to match the pace set by Arab governments, whose claim to power rests on the demands of electorates for a more confrontational or responsive policy towards Isreal. That does not mean war, but does suggest more cooperation, in terms of economic sanctions and other similar action. A ban on Isreal overflying all Arab countries could be far easer to impliment for example. All this would result in a far greater financial cost attached to US support for Israel at the very least. There are simply too many balls for Washington to juggle, and with each subsequent election in the Arab world, the task would just become more difficult.

The unrepresentitive self interest of Arab regimes is what has allowed Isreal to dictate progress (or lack of it) over Palestine. At the very least Isreal will have to adapt its approach towards the Palestinians, and its neighbours. It simply cannot remain 'as is'. As I have said since the outset of the Arab Spring, democracy is a far more dangerous and stronger force than dicatorship. The opposition Isreal will face from every quarter of the ME, will be amplified by a substantial factor, as will the Arab response to actions Arab people deem offensive. Isreal decying Iran and banging the war drum over its nuclear program is a paltry distraction when compared to the emerging reality of the real problems Likud will have to face, if it does not start being more honest in how it deals with the PA.

If I am to stick my neck out here, I would say that by Christmas we will see Isreal fly kites about re-starting the Peace process, particularly if Obama is re-elected. But even Romney, if President, might only see the process delayed by maybe six months, as he would be 'swiftboated' by mutliple Arab nations demands to alter US policy towards Isreal. 'Interesting' times ahead.
 

TheMushyStuff

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Its none of the things you described, which I briefly read. Qatar is trying to become a key player in the Middle-East, a role mostly filled by the Saudis or Iran. They are funding Hamas like the Saudis use too.
 

TheMushyStuff

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Muslims have to help each others against their enemies.
Yeah we have seen how they help each other by blown each other apart and destroying others sects Mosque or shooting an innocent child who wanted to learn.
 

Thac0man

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Its none of the things you described, which I briefly read. Qatar is trying to become a key player in the Middle-East, a role mostly filled by the Saudis or Iran. They are funding Hamas like the Saudis use too.
Its "none of the things" I described? That Qatar and Saudi Arabia are two central parts of the GCC cannot be ignored, especially since that organistion has increased its activity since the of the advent Arab Spring, and pointedly since the uprising in Bahrain. But in truth the GCC has been in committed action since the Houthi rebellion in Yemen a couple of years back. It is not a case of Qatar replacing Saudi Arabian aid. Instead it is a case of Qater bolstering its ally Saudi Arabia, and displacing rival Iranian influence in the Palestinian cause. Qatar presents to the world the acceptable face of the GCC, which Saudi Arabia cannot.

But no sooner has the Emir of Qatar left Gaza (a visit that has been condemned by Isreal), than hostilities start again:
Israel pounds Gaza with more air strikes - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

One wonders how much good $400 million in aid will do the people in Gaza, when aimed for 'rebuilding' has to be done in the midst of these sort of exchanges. What is notable here is that the most partisan voices on P.ie, those that are (or more accuratly 'were') pro-Hamas or are pro-Isreali, have fallen almost completely silent. Sad to think that so much excited and fervent opinion might have just been a statement of someone elses propoganda. In hindsight it was obviously not heartfelt. Hamas it seems have been ditched as the darlings of the far left.

But there is a 'flotilla' ship on the way to Gaza at the moment, with some Spanish and Greek politicians on board who must be trying to escape involvement in their own domestic crises. But now that Hamas, as a representitive of the Palestinian people, is a GCC ally, will there be much more Flotilla aid to follow? Would this recent one even have set sail if the current circumstancs had come to light at the time of pulling up anchor? It halting by the Isreali navy has barely raised an eyebrow from any quarter.

Instead there in an emerging trend amongst European leftist to back Iran now, and Assad, and with that increasingly condemn all things Sunni. This trend inevitably has to extent to condemning Hamas now, or at the very least lead to a withdrawel support for them - which is something that seems to have happened. The only option for the far left is to rehabilitate their opinion of the PA, whom they have condemned in recent years as corrupt, undemocratic and unworthy. And that is a course of action that seems to be already under way. Without it, the far left has no 'dog in this fight' at all.

It will also be interesting to see if Turkey will seek to continue ramp up its commitment to Hamas and Gaza, now that the keystone of support for Hamas is the GCC, and not Ankara. More likely they will try and weight in on the side of the PA too. With Turkey forced to play front man, but second fiddle in Syria, Erdogan has his work cut out if he is to avoid the same situation developing in Turkish policy towards Palestine.
 
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Kommunist

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A New Home for Hamas? - By Houriya Ahmed and Julia Pettengill | Foreign Policy

Here's an interesting article sa well.

I find the changing shift of power from the traditional players to new emerging ones very interesting indeed, I think that like many Middle-East nations, especially those that stay close to the US for financial reasons, most eventually go off to build their own strenght, independent of the United States.

Arab nationalism shines through, which I don't really particulary mind, they are entitled to it.
 

Thac0man

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A New Home for Hamas? - By Houriya Ahmed and Julia Pettengill | Foreign Policy

Here's an interesting article sa well.

I find the changing shift of power from the traditional players to new emerging ones very interesting indeed, I think that like many Middle-East nations, especially those that stay close to the US for financial reasons, most eventually go off to build their own strenght, independent of the United States.

Arab nationalism shines through, which I don't really particulary mind, they are entitled to it.
It is an interesting article, even if it is dated nearly a year ago. Hamas foreign wing has established its office in Qatar since. The advantages Qatar has over Saudi are obvious, and those advantages are allowing Qatar to play the role of fig leaf for the expansion of GCC interests. One aspect of this that has not really been acknowledged, is that both the relocation of Hamas foreign offices to Qatar, and the visit of the Qatari head of state to Gaza, are a symbolic victory for the GCC over their sworn enemy, Shia Iran. That elephant has been standing in the room long before the firs dop of oil ever flowed from Gulf wells. The $400 million commitment to Hamas from the GCC is an amount the increasingly impoverished Tehran regime could only dream of mustering.

Whether any future Syrian government the replaces Assad is won over by the GCC or not, the money the GCC has available to buy influence with, is well beyond the means of even Turkey and Egypt combined. How long the GCC has to displace or simply remove Irans influence, is perhaps dependent on any timetable the US is planning for lessening its dependence on middle east oil. As has been referenced in previous threads, expanding domestic production and new deep drilling technology are bring that promised day closer, so its my assertion that any such plan is already actively under way. But the implications that flow from any such refocusing of US interests is perhaps why the planned objective is not being trumpetted, even though it is in chain. As of 2014 when the US withdraws from Afghanistan, whats at Tehrans backdoor becomes a live issue for Iran again too.

If all this comes to pass, and I think it will, the powers that be in Iran may pine for the days when they could simply justify everything they do, by blaming nearby US interests. Enter China.
 

Thac0man

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U.S. State Department Strengthening Hamas :: Gatestone Institute
Qatar’s lifeline to Hamas in Gaza - FT.com

Two short but informative articles there. Wins for Israel, illegal settlements and Jihadism.

Off topic but any chance of a boycott of Qatar's 2022 World Cup sham?
A boycott on what basis? That Qatar supports a large faction in the Palestinian political spectrum? Your proposal does highlight the conundrum that closer GCC backing of Hamas creates for Europeans that want to express continued support for the Palestinian cause. As it stands currently, I do think many in the west who rushed to support Hamas over the PA, have any credability any more. They have fallen silent even though Hamas itself has not changed.

With regard to the question of Isreal, the government there, and those to come, cannot ignore the shift that is happening around them. They have to extend an olive branch to someone, and with that actually commit to the 'road map to peace'. If Isreal does not want to be dicated too by Turkey and Egypt, it has to start doing business with the PA, its that simple.

Until now they have been happy to ignore the PA, while using the excuse Hamas provides to justify their strategy of force and non-negotiation. But that approach when taken in hand with how events are playing out in the region, only suggests that Hamas will be the force Isreal has to broker peace with. The longer they ignore and abuse the PA, the stronger Hamas gets. As a ploy to sideline the PA and the 'road map', it has worked. But now it has to have an ending. That the PA can no longer make payroll for its employees cannot be viewed as a comfort to Isreal like it once may have been. Instead it has be viewed as the source of greater problems and more unpredicability. An illustration of how things are changing. Netenyahu making a defient speech over recent Hamas rocket attacks cannot conceal that.

Even if the long term plans of Likud/Shas already looked unlikely to be completed, the status quo they have set up and maintained now looks unsustainable. That status quo, designed to allow slow annexation of the westbank, while keeping Likud/Shas in power, is now exposed as a futile exercise. Isreal has to face up to its internal deficiencies, that are fostered by a foreign policy that only works if it is open ended and unquestioned. Now the question about where that policy is leading cannot be ignored.

As Isreal is a democracy, this could take a while, but Netenyahu has to start laying the ground work now if Isreal is not to be dictated too by events, as opposed to be the ones dictating them. Isreals current policy towards the Palestinians is based on a Middle East that no longer exists. What constitutes representitve government in the region, as well as technology, make Isreal's political and military strategy outdated. For a start their claim to be the regions only democracy is no longer hold water. With that, many of the excuses Isreal makes for how it act and why it will not talk, evapotates.
 
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