Hamas PM in Iran Amid Rumored Split

Hamas Hopes to Join Rising Sunni Islamist Movement

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is in Tehran today meeting with top Iranian officials, in a move that comes amid growing rumors that the movement is looking to transition away from Iranian backing in favor of the growing Sunni Islamist movement in the region.

Hamas is a Sunni faction, and with the sort of “moderate Islamist” factions like en-Nadha in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt sweeping elections in the wake of revolutions, it makes sense that Hamas would try to claim some of this success for themselves.

It will be easier for Hamas to do that if the brokered reconciliation deal with Fatah manages to survive Israeli objections, and nations like Qatar might be more internationally palatable patrons for Hamas.

Operating under this assumption, Haniyeh’s visit to Tehran appears to be more about trying to keep the Hamas faction’s options open, and to avoid completely alienating Iran, a long time supporter. It is unclear if they can maintain support on both sides, but the rewards for trying would be significant.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.