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WASHINGTON – There are increasing indications that Iran is working to rebuild relations with Sunni Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The two groups may be willing to respond, now that it looks like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Shiite Alawite, is going to be around for a while, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
When the Syrian crisis began in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, its more militant wing, decided to sever their ties with Syria and that, in turn, caused them to split from Iran.
Although headquartered in Damascus, Hamas received substantial funding from Iran, which also worked with the Muslim Brotherhood for years to create conditions that led to the successful election of one of is prominent members, Mohamed Morsi, to the Egyptian presidency in 2011.
Hamas had decided to take advantage of the Arab Spring Sunni uprising, including what evolved in Syria. Hamas believed that the developments throughout the Middle East would increase its strategic depth and give it an opportunity to bolster its power and reconstruct its position in the region.
With the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2012, Brotherhood-affiliated Morsi came to power, bringing to life Hamas’ dream of extending its influence.
But that dream lasted only a year before Morsi was toppled and Hamas receded, as the Brotherhood in Egypt became the whipping boy of the Egyptian military.
Hamas then turned to Qatar and Turkey, but Qatar had issues with the Brotherhood because the country is a monarchy, which the Brotherhood opposes. Turkey, which backed the Brotherhood, was going through its own domestic crisis. Now, Hamas has turned back to Iran.
Sources believe that because Tehran supports the Palestinian movement, it won’t turn its back on Hamas. And if the Syrian leadership issue is resolved in favor of Assad, then the past animosities also will go by the wayside, since Syria and Iran are strategic partners.
“Hamas has played a vital role in the Palestinian resistance movement in the past and will continue to play the same role in the future,” according to Middle East expert Mohammad Ali Sobhani, who also was an Iranian ambassador to Lebanon and Jordan.
“On this basis,” he said, “Iran cannot choose between the government of Syria and Hamas. The Islamic Republic should, on the contrary, try to prevent the gap between two major arms of the resistance – that is, the Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas – become deeper and help them to get close once again.”
Sobhani pointed out that of all Sunni political elements, the Muslim Brotherhood is the closest to Iran’s ideas.
“Unlike the radical Sunni and Salafist currents, this movement cherishes modern ideas and believes in democracy, freedom and development,” Sobhani said.
He said that Iran should not allow the Syrian crisis to affect its relations with the Brotherhood and the Hamas movement.
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