Hamas’ ‘unfortunate’ disagreement on Syria is on the road to being resolved

n13-icon“I salute all people of the Arab Spring, or Islamic winter, and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform,” head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, told worshippers at a mosque in Cairo on February 24, 2012.

Two days later Abu Marzouk, Hamas’ deputy political leader, told the Associated Press: “Our position on Syria is that we are not with the regime in its security solution, and we respect the will of the people.”

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News in May 2013, the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said: “After the start of the crisis I said to all Syrian political, security and military leaders in very clear words, the demands of your people for freedom, democracy and reform are legitimate. The military approach is wrong. It makes the crisis worse.”

Ali Hashem, a columnist for Al-Monitor, now writes that Hamas appears ready to patch up its differences with the Assad regime, and Meshaal will soon be visiting Syria’s closest ally, Iran.

A senior Hamas official who met with Al-Monitor in Tehran last week confirmed that the visit is indeed on the agenda. He asserted, “Our relationship with Iran is back as it was, and maybe better. Enemies who are betting on the end of the resistance bloc should know that this bloc is getting bigger and stronger, from North Africa to Tehran.”

Osama Hamdan, Hamas’ international relations officer, explained that the “unfortunate” disagreement on Syria is on the road to being resolved and that positive options are on the table with respect to his organization’s relations with Damascus. Hamdan added that ties with Hezbollah are good and that he continues to carry out his work from his office in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold.

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