Wednesday, October 02, 2013

JCPA: After the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Is Hamas in Gaza Next in Line?

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah addresses the question After the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Is Hamas in Gaza Next in Line?

Here is the executive summary of his article:
  • Egypt has finally decided to tackle the security threat from the Sinai Peninsula, a region that was nearly under the control of jihadist organizations with links to al-Qaeda and Hamas.

  • The Egyptian army’s ultimate goal is clear: to recover Egypt’s sovereignty in Sinai. In order to succeed in its mission, the Egyptian supreme command understands that it must neutralize Hamas, which it sees as partly responsible for the security situation in Sinai during the last few years.

  • For the first time since it was founded, Hamas is showing signs of panic. Egyptian newspapers quoted Palestinian sources as saying that 90 percent of the smuggling tunnels along the border with Gaza have stopped functioning as a result of Egyptian measures, leading to the potential loss of nearly 40 percent of Hamas’ revenues.

  • With the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt counting its dead by the hundreds and the campaign being waged by the Egyptian army against them far from over, and with its relations with Turkey and Qatar faltering, Hamas has instructed its spokesmen to avoid making any comments about the crisis in Egypt so as not to evoke the wrath of Egyptian army Commander in Chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
al-Sisi and Mashal
al-Sisi and Khaled Mashal -- not seeing eye-to-eye these days. Credit: JCPA 

Among the issues he examines, Dr. Neriah writes:
The most important question of all remains: What future does Hamas have? For the first time in more than two decades, Hamas has no regional political allies in positions of power – a huge problem for a movement that is heavily dependent on alliances that provide financial, military, and political support. Sunni Hamas severed ties with former ally Syria last year over its crackdown on the predominantly Sunni Syrian opposition. As a result, Iran has stopped its financial aid that consisted of almost $20 million per month.15 Syria and Hamas, along with Iran and Hizbullah, formed the so-called "axis of resistance" that opposed Israel and the West. For decades, Syria embraced Hamas’ leadership and provided the Islamic movement with funds, weapons, and political support, which were used to wage war against Israel and, later, the more moderate Palestinian faction, Fatah.

Now, Hamas has turned to Turkey and Qatar to fill the void.16 However, since Egypt’s Islamist government was toppled, and following the deterioration in Turkish-Egyptian as well as Qatari-Egyptian relations, Hamas’ relationship with Turkey and Qatar has seemed to be faltering. Egypt was the critical link between Gaza and its benefactors because of its shared border.
Read the whole thing.

From time to time, pundits and the media have suggested that the fortunes of Hamas have alternatively been either on the rise or on the decline. We are now seeing in Egypt a country that has the motivation and the means to put really put the screws to Hamas.

More importantly, under al-Sisi, Egypt has actually begun the process.

And there will be no Gaza Flotilla this time.

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