In the shifting sands of the tumultuous Middle East, Hamas, the Palestinian terror group in control of the Gaza Strip, has found itself in an increasingly precarious position.
Feared for its massive arsenal of rockets and trained jihadis, the terror group is today also facing isolation and internal discord. With its Muslim Brotherhood allies on the run in Egypt, strained relations with former benefactors in Iran and Syria, and an increasingly technologically savvy Israeli enemy, the terror organization—while still dangerous—is facing a perfect storm of problems that threatens to undermine its power.
“While one cannot currently say Islamist groups like Hamas are completely down and out, the removal of [Mohamed] Morsi’s government in Egypt and the subsequent crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood leadership, as well as the Muslim on Muslim fighting in Syria, together create serious problems for Hamas,” Matthew Levitt, senior fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institution for Near East Policy, told JNS.org.
For many years, Hamas relied on Iran and its partners, Syria and Hezbollah, for military hardware such as rocket missiles, terrorist training, and financial support. It is estimated that Hamas at one point received up to $250 million annually from Iran. But all that changed following exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s decision to close the Hamas office in Damascus in early 2012 and to pursue support from Sunni powers such as Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, all of which were on the rise at the time.
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By: Sean Savage
August 26, 2013