Turkey has been harboring the Syrian opposition for quite some time now. The Turkish Prime Minister has also oftentimes chastised Assad and his regime. Syria itself has long been the base for another resistance movement, but that is coming to an end as well: ‘Khaled Meshal, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, has effectively abandoned his longtime base in Syria, where a popular uprising has left thousands dead, and has no plans to return, Hamas sources in Gaza said Friday [, 27 January 2012]’. Back in Palestine, or rather the Gaza enclave, a Hamas spokesman has said that “The situation there does not allow the leadership to be present. There are no more Hamas leaders in Damascus”. So, where will Meshal go to??? Some say Turkey, others maintain Qattar . . . Moreover, as reported by the New York Times’ Fares Akram, “Hamas announced this month that Mr. Meshal wished to step down as the chief of the movement’s political bureau, which he has led since 1996, but the exact nature and meaning of his resignation remain unclear. Some said the announcement was a sign of an internal power struggle, others as a maneuver aimed at displaying his popularity. Still others said that Mr. Meshal had his eyes on a bigger position beyond Hamas”.
An anonymous diplomat in the region has come out saying that “Iran used to give $250 million to $300 million to Hamas but there have been interruptions in the payments in past year. Our understanding is that there has been no payment since August 2011”. As Iran is the Assad regime’s main backer, it would appear that Meshal is now in the process of acquiring new funding. Qattar is Syria’s main critic in the Arab world, while Turkey’s opposition to Damascus has been quite vocal of late . . . The same unnamed and mysterious source also divulged that the Hamas headquarters in Gaza have “received promises from Turkey to provide the movement and [its] administration with $300 million a year to help Gaza”. Still, the Hamas Gaza Strip leader Ismail Haniyeh is scheduled to visit Iran in the coming days.
(1) Fares Akram, “Hamas Leader Abandons Longtime Base in Damascus” The New York Times (27 January 2012).
(2) Fares Akram, “Hamas Leader Abandons Longtime Base in Damascus”.
(3) Fares Akram, “Hamas Leader Abandons Longtime Base in Damascus”.
(4) “Hamas leader Meshaal quietly quits Syria as violence continues” Reuters (27 January 2012).
(5) “Hamas leader Meshaal quietly quits Syria as violence continues”.