Thursday, September 05, 2013

Hamas Besieged

With Syria undergoing a civil war, Iran punishing Hamas for backing Syria's rebels, and Egypt no longer under Islamist rule, Hamas is more isolated than ever:
Egypt’s ruling generals, fearful that what they see as an Islamist tumour on their north-eastern flank might grow back into a Brotherhood cancer, want to contain it, if not cut it out. So they have sent bulldozers to demolish the houses along the border with Gaza that covered the tunnels providing Gaza’s 1.8m people with half their basic needs and most of their fuel and building material...
Hamas is in trouble. Dues from the tunnels, worth $1m a day, used to provide half of its budget. Its key sponsors—Syria, Iran and Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood, which once promised a free economic zone and a motorway linking the strip to Egypt—have fallen away. The first Islamist movement to take power on the Mediterranean now talks of making a last stand. Gazans are beginning to wonder if Hamas will stay in charge...
In recent weeks armed men from Islamic Jihad, Hamas’s smaller Islamist rival with stronger ties to Iran, have skirmished with their Hamas counterparts for control of mosques. But Hamas is not about to bow out. Its security men have been putting up checkpoints at night. News agencies have been closed down. Suspected opponents of Hamas are being arrested...
If it is to survive as Gaza’s ruler, Hamas will have to rely on its old foe, Israel. While Egypt has choked off access to Gaza, Israel has loosened it, with 400 lorries recently entering the strip from Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing in a single day, the liveliest such traffic for many years. “If they increase demand, we’re ready to step up,” says an Israeli military spokeswoman.
There's a bit of history coming full circle in that last paragraph, as Israel initially supported Hamas back in the 1980's as an alternative to the secular Arab nationalism of the Fatah-dominated PLO.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home