Thursday, September 04, 2008

  • Thursday, September 04, 2008
  • Elder of Ziyon
A few days ago, a Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported that exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had been asked by Syria to move from Damascus to Sudan. Hamas denied it, and there has been no independent confirmation of that rumor.

Today, a different Kuwaiti newspaper is reporting that Jordan rejected a request by some Hamas leaders to move their offices to Amman. This gives a bit more credence to the earlier story that Syria is pressuring Hamas to leave.

The Western press makes the assumption that this must be the result of the indirect Israeli-Syrian talks; that Syria wants to push their "peace process" forward. This assumption is worth examining.

Syria has been remarkably consistent over the past thirty years. Its primary concern has not been Israel, and neither has it been the happiness of its people; the consistency of Syria has been in keeping its leaders in power. Hafez Assad was a master at this game; his son Bashir seems to be learning quickly.

The peace talks with Israel has two potential benefits for Syria. By far the most important one was to blunt Western pressure on Syria as a terrorist state; if it could talk to its implacable foe, how dedicated to terror could it be? Syria could not afford the economic isolation that the West has been putting on Iran and above all it needed to make sure that such pressure never happens to Syria. The net result is that Syria is dodging a bullet yet again.

The secondary result is that if the current Israeli government is so stupid and desperate for "peace" that it is willing to give up the strategically important Golan for a piece of paper, why not? Syria has had a de facto peace with Israel on that border - the quietest border in Israel - for decades; it has literally nothing to lose. The chances that Syria and Israel would normalize relations is nil; they would spin gaining the Golan as a military victory to the hungry-for-victory Arab world, shrug off the criticisms the way Egypt did, and that would be that.

Any moves that Syria makes vis a vis Hamas needs to be looked at through the same prism. If Syria has quietly made Hamas' leaders know that they are no longer as welcome there, there must be more benefot to Syria than simply the desire for peace - it must be that Hamas in Syria has become either irrelevant or a burden.

It is easy to make the case that Hamas in Syria is irrelevant. Hamas is not monolithic, and the Damascus Hamas has lost all of its influence over Gaza Hamas. After all, there is effectively an Arab state in Gaza run by Hamas - those are the practical leaders of the group, not Khaled Meshaal making speeches from abroad. It is Gaza Hamas that Jordan has spoken to recently in recognition of its growing power, not Meshaal. Meshaal has just become a windbag; the equivalent of Farouk Kaddoumi railing against Israel from his PLO offices in Tunisia. They are good for headlines but they have literally no power over the people they pretend to lead.

As such, Hamas in Syria no longer gives Syria any benefit. And it might be a burden.

Meshaal might not be a leader in any real sense any more but he is smart enough to try to ride Hamas Gaza's coattails as its influence increases. Hamas Gaza's coup has been the greatest practical victory for the Muslim Brotherhood - the first time that al-Ikhwan ever controlled any territory.

Syria has been trying to co-opt and channel internal Islamic fundamentalism to deflect the danger it poses to the regime, and right now the Muslim Brotherhood is a looming - of not immediate - threat. The Assads have not been in the habit of letting potential threats survive very long. While Hamas in Damascus has no political power in Gaza, it is the vanguard of the Ikhwan in Syria, and as such it is a threat to the Syrian regime itself, and not to Israel.

The very moment that Hamas in Syria is perceived to turn from an asset to a liability is the moment that the regime will start trying to use that fact for political advantage, which is precisely what we are seeing.

UPDATE: I emailed this to Barry Rubin, prolific author, analyst and expert on the Middle East, where he disagreed with some of my points and demolished others.

He writes:
Just because Kuwaiti newspapers say something has no necessary relationship to the truth but either is guessing, wishful thinking or misinformation. I think these are planted rumors from Syria. Probably nothing has happened at all.
I'm not so sure, because the second "leak" was from Jordan, not Syria; this is what made me take notice (the first report I ignored.)
Meshaal has just become a windbag; the equivalent of Farouk Kaddoumi railing against Israel from his PLO offices in Tunisia. They are good for headlines but they have literally no power over the people they pretend to lead.
Actually Meshal is the main leader and his supporters just purged the local “moderate” politicians. The reason Jordan talks to the Gaza Hamas is that the Damascus people are enemies of Jordan.

As such, Hamas in Syria no longer gives Syria any benefit. And it might be a burden.
Hamas is the main instrument for Syria to influence (and possibly some day take over) Palestinian politics, a key aim of Syria for almost 50 years.

While Hamas in Damascus has no political power in Gaza, it is the vanguard of the Ikhwan in Syria, and as such it is a threat to the Syrian regime itself, and not to Israel.

Not at all true. Hamas and the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood are allies of Syria and oppose the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Everyone in the area knows this.
As the late Emily Litella put it, "Never mind." :)

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive