Sunday, February 15, 2015

15-Feb-15: Iran's Hamas games

Rezaei in 2009, running for public office, reminds voters to be aware of
difference between what he says and what he feels/does [Image Source]
Just a week ago - a long time in Middle East political terms - we wrote here ["08-Feb-15: Iran says Hamas chief heading to Tehran to mend bridges, say Iranians. No he's not, say Hamas"] about the warming/cooling Iran/Hamas relationship. Hamas messaging, we noted, tends towards the incoherent at times, perhaps because its leadership lives in so many different hospitals and hotels. We listed some of the ways their relationship continued to be not-so-clear.

The Friday before that post appeared, an Iranian mouthpiece media outlet had reported that Khaled Meshaal, the Qatar-based head of the Gaza-based Hamas, was "to travel to the Iranian capital of Tehran soon". Almost instantly, the Gaza-based official Hamas spokesperson denied this because, as the report improbably put it, "Hamas's relationship with Tehran is good". 

Elder of Ziyon has just revealed over at his blog that Meshaal is, indeed, not traveling to Tehran. But note the reason. Writing under the title "Hamas leader cancels visit to Tehran after IRGC expressed its displeasure", Elder says:    
Now comes the news that Meshal has "postponed" his visit to Tehran indefinitely... Sources said that Hamas didn't want to endanger its relations with the new Saudi king who might be upset at Hamas cozying up to its enemy... 
Plus this: 
Secretary General of the Expediency [Discernment] Council Mohsen Rezaei said, "Khaled Meshaal and Hamas leaders stood and lined up two years ago, along with international terrorists in Syria, demanding the destruction of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and we see them now trying to set the terms for the return of relations between Hamas and Iran, and if Iran does not have any conditions!... Hamas today is not in a position to set conditions for the return of the course of their relationship with Tehran, and Iran is not in the habit to rely on any party after they revealed their true mettle."
Elder reminds us of Iran's ongoing relationship with the other major terrorist group in Gaza, Islamic Jihad, whom it continues to provide with funding. 
It is not out of the question that Iran is grooming that terror group to take over Gaza from a weakened Hamas as part of its larger strategy to become the Muslim superpower. [Elder]
As terrorists go, Iran's Rezaei is quite a story. He's much sought-after - not because of being popular in any way but through his inclusion on Interpol's Wanted list since March 2007. Interpol wants him on charges of Aggravated Murder and Damages relating to the 1994 bombing of the Jewish AMIA community center in Buenos Aires (85 killed, 151 seriously injured). A son defected to the United States, then un-defected, and finally died in mysterious circumstances in 2011. Rezaei ran for office in the 2013 elections, which prompted the Arab newspaper Asharq Alawsat to call him "a cat’s paw of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei" and "in many ways the ultimate insider". In other words, if he is jerking Hamas around for whatever reason, that may be what Iran's top leadership wants. We will stay tuned.

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