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Is there a connection between the Gaza events, Hamas and al-Assad? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is difficult not to link the savage Israeli attacks on Gaza with al-Assad’s savage attacks on the Syrian people. This is because the Israeli attack has loosened the rope hung around the Syrian regime’s neck, and diverted the spotlight, even if only slightly, away from the Syrian arena. In turn this has given the Syrian regime, as well as its Iranian and Russian allies, not exactly hope for survival – for this is unimaginable – but rather a chance of extending al-Assad’s reign. They hope that the entwined nature of the regional situation will create new variables and struggles to divert more Arab and international attention away from the priority, namely accelerating the end of the Syrian regime.

Some argue that the military conflict between Hamas and Israel is in fact a proxy conflict between Iran and Israel, whereby Hamas is acting on behalf of Iran in accordance with clear directives from Tehran, aiming to reduce the pressure being mounted on the Bashar al-Assad regime. Yet even if some interests link Hamas to Iran, the events and facts on the ground indicate otherwise. Ever since the Hamas leadership withdrew from Damascus and displayed a clear and logical stance towards the Syrian revolution, the movement’s relations with the regimes in Syria and Iran have been experiencing heightening degrees of tension. No one could now imagine Hamas accepting to serve as a bridge for Iran to implement its dirty agenda against the Syrian people, with whom Hamas now boasts stronger relations than with Tehran.

Experts in criminal investigations always say: Whenever you are unable to find the perpetrator, search for the beneficiary. In this case, Israel is the primary beneficiary par excellence from everything that is happening in Gaza. According to the London-based Financial Times newspaper, Israel was the one that sparked military confrontations (by assassinating Ahmed al-Jabari, the leader of the al-Qassam Brigades – the Hamas military wing – and then by launching air-raids on various Gaza Strip locations where weapons are being stored). Israel has also transformed the Gaza Strip into a testing ground for its new weapons. For example, al-Jabari’s assassination was carried out using a drone aircraft. These days, Israel is experimenting with its “Iron Dome” missile interception system, which was once a subject of controversy when the Israeli media questioned its effectiveness during the “Operation Cast Lead” in December 2008.

By assassinating al-Jabari, Netanyahu has achieved a popular victory in front of the Israeli people. Al-Jabari often insulted the Israeli government and mocked its intelligence service, which always boasted of being able to monitor the entire Palestinian arena when masterminding the concealment of Gilad Shalit. Netanyahu wants to stand for re-election amidst scenes of the Palestinian people being repressed, and their leaders being assassinated. In addition, by provoking certain Palestinian factions into firing missiles towards residential areas, Israel has further strengthened its stance against any Western recognition of a Palestinian state.

Using the stone stained with Gaza’s blood, Israel has been able to kill a number of political and military birds. It is without doubt the primary beneficiary here, and in this regard the theory of Hamas conspiring with Iran to champion the Bashar al-Assad regime sounds somewhat naïve, and borne out of ideological and political disputes.

Dr. Hamad Al-Majid

Dr. Hamad Al-Majid

Dr. Hamad Al-Majid is a journalist and former member of the official Saudi National Organization for Human Rights. Dr. Al-Majid is a graduate of Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh and holds an MA from the University of California and a doctorate from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.

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