Report: Hamas Weakened by Leadership Change in Egypt, Qatar
by Joshua Levitt
Terror group Hamas will be weakened by this week’s “second revolution” in Egypt, as millions of Egyptians forced President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power, and by the inter-generational transfer of power in Qatar, where Hamas leadership has been based, Al-Monitor reported in two articles, citing unnamed officials and policy experts.
The Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic acronym Hamas, shares its ideology with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, although the two groups are not formally linked; with the Brotherhood’s loss of power, analysts believe Hamas will also suffer.
Al-Monitor referenced news reports that some 7,000 Hamas militants were thought to be in Egypt to support the Brotherhood, although Egyptian and Hamas officials denied those claims. Al-Monitor reported that, like Hezbollah, Hamas is accused in Egyptian courts of organizing the jailbreak of several senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including former president Muhamed Morsi, in 2011. Egyptians also believe that Hamas has ignited instability in Sinai, including the April abduction of Egyptian soldiers and officers, although Hamas denied involvement.
In Qatar, the transfer of power from Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to his son, Prince Tamim bin Hamad, could change the Islamic movement’s relationship with the country, where Khaled Meshall, Hamas’s political leader, has been based since departing Damascus, Syria, earlier this year.
Al-Monitor wrote: “Qatar has been an important refuge for Hamas during the movement’s critical times. It served as a temporary headquarters for its leadership abroad after it left Jordan, and currently serves as a base for some of its leaders after they broke ties with the Syrian regime. Furthermore, Qatar has provided financial support to the Gaza Strip, and was the first country to openly provide such support to the Hamas government in Gaza.”