September 9, 2008


Iran wants Hamas to help, but not win (Sami Moubayed , 9/10/08, Asia Times)

One of the major obstacles to internal Palestinian peace, Dahlan now claims, is Hamas and its relationship with Iran. Last year, speaking to thousands of his supporters in Palestine at a public rally, when he mentioned Hamas (a Sunni group) the crowds shouted back, "Shi'ite! Shi'ite!" He smiled, "They are not Shi'ites, they are murderers."

Last week, Dahlan even refused to draw parallels between Syria and Iran when it came to Palestine, arguing that Syria was, despite its historical tension with Arafat, never in favor of internal Palestinian strife. Iran doesn't mind it, he added, pointing to Syria's reaction to the seizure of Gaza in 2007, and that of the Iranians.

Although Hamas was a Sunni party, and the Tehran government wanted to spread a Shi'ite Islamic revolution, the two parties were working together, each for personal reasons. Hamas wanted a regional heavyweight to supply it with arms. Iran wanted a military group to lean on in Palestine, just like it had Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Badr Brigade in Iran.

Dahlan drew parallels between Saudi and Gulf money streaming into Palestine, and that of Iran. The former was used to provide for day-to-day Palestinians, he said, and invested in infrastructure, schools and projects, while the latter went to purchasing arms for Hamas.

Marriages of convenience don't last once they become inconvenient, which is what a state of Palestine run by Hamas would be for Iran.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2008 8:08 AM
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