Hamas ditches Assad, backs Syrian revolt

Reuters reports: Leaders of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas turned publicly against their long-time ally President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Friday, endorsing the revolt aimed at overthrowing his dynastic rule.

The policy shift deprives Assad of one of his few remaining Sunni Muslim supporters in the Arab world and deepens his international isolation. It was announced in Hamas speeches at Friday prayers in Cairo and a rally in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas went public after nearly a year of equivocating as Assad’s army, largely led by fellow members of the president’s Alawite sect, has crushed mainly Sunni protesters and rebels.

In a Middle East split along sectarian lines between Shi’ite and Sunni Islam, the public abandonment of Assad casts immediate questions over Hamas’s future ties with its principal backer Iran, which has stuck by its ally Assad, as well as with Iran’s fellow Shi’ite allies in Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

“I salute all the nations of the Arab Spring and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, visiting Egypt from the Gaza Strip, told thousands of Friday worshippers at Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque.

“We are marching towards Syria, with millions of martyrs,” chanted worshippers at al-Azhar, home to one of the Sunni world’s highest seats of learning. “No Hezbollah and no Iran.

“The Syrian revolution is an Arab revolution.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 thoughts on “Hamas ditches Assad, backs Syrian revolt

  1. blowback

    Hamas is now on the path to becoming as irrelevant as Fatah. Next the will start to provide “security” for Israel.

    BTW, I hope the Egyptians do march in their millions directly to Syria in as straight a line as possible. Unfortunately, I suspect it is just so much bluster as we have come to expect from the despotic, theocratic blowhards from the GCC!

  2. Osama

    I wonder how much they will be getting in aid from Qatar/Saudi. It must have been hefty for after such a long period of haggling.

    Seriously, they must have held out for significant guarantees to allow them the same freedom of action.

    However, I agree with Blowback, they probably made the wrong decision in terms of the future of the palestinian struggle and they’re declared goals for it.

  3. Norman

    Couldn’t it be a matter of self preservation on their part? After all, The Israelis bomb then at will, with no real retaliation on the part of Hamas.

  4. Christopher Hoare

    The significance of the switch seems to be that of endorsing an anti-Assad line that heretofor has been characterised specifically as a Western plot. Because Hamas can in no way be considered acting for western interference in an Arab issue, it may allow forward movement on cutting down Assad’s confidence that he can murder his own people at will. That in itself brings about the possibility that a diplomatic settlement satisfactory to both sides can be achieved.

  5. Osama

    Sorry… but I have to deconstruct his words, I am sure he chose them very carefully.

    the adding of the word “reform” does not quite sit well with the way the reuters correspondent spun the story. Also, I am still waiting for Khaled Meshaal to declare Hamas’s official position. He is still the leader, even if it is not for much longer.

    I think Mr. Haniyeh is hedging by adding the word “reform” and Mr Meshaal is still to declare clearly… so I am still waiting.

Comments are closed.