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Now, Khalid Mishal is the leader - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Why is everybody now seeking a truce or ceasefire in Gaza, particularly Israel and Hamas, as is evident from their statements, not to mention Egypt, of course? The answer is very simple, and becomes clearer day after day, namely that Israel has achieved its objectives, as has Hamas, whilst Egypt – which is in the eye of the storm – has other motives.

Netanyahu believes that Israel has dealt a strong blow to Hamas’s infrastructure and gained international support for its aggression against the Gaza Strip due to the rocket fire from Gaza. However he does not want to destroy Hamas completely because the alternative would be other groups whose loyalties lie with Iran, which is the greatest inciter of this war. Netanyahu, of course, is also aware that any ceasefire agreement will include repercussions regarding future rocket fire from Gaza, whilst Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt will serve as a guarantor for this expected ceasefire. The Israeli Prime Minister has therefore committed Cairo to taking the same steps as the Mubarak regime; no military front has been opened, nor have relations with Tel Aviv been suspended, rather Egypt’s efforts and solutions have all been political. This is because Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi does not have many options, he truly wants a ceasefire, and this is something that cannot be denied. Mursi is seeking to put an end to the repercussions this conflict is having upon the Egyptian interior.

Egyptian public opinion, not to mention the general situation in the country, prompted Khalid Mishal to say, during a press conference in Cairo, that “the enemy wanted to test the new Egypt…the 25th January Egypt, and the response was not what was expected. It wanted to test the Arabs during their Spring, however the Arabs have met our hopes.” Mishal is well aware of the danger of embarrassing Egypt at this juncture, particularly as he has achieved what he wanted from the Gaza war. One of the results of this war and the forthcoming ceasefire will be the return of Mishal as leader of Hamas and indeed of the Gaza Strip as a whole, with Israeli recognition, of course, particularly following the successful completion of the ceasefire, which will be internationally backed by Egypt. So what many people have forgotten, and which I made reference to in my article “Mursi and Hamas in a predicament”, is that Mishal, even before the most recent Israeli aggression, had announced his lack of desire to stand – for the fifth time – for the leadership of Hamas, a position he has held since 1996. This is due to divisions within the Hamas movement, and we have repeatedly heard about the possibility of Mishal being replaced by either Ismail Haniyeh or Mousa Abu Marzouk. Following this, we heard the General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood calling on Mishal to remain silent and not repeat his talk about stepping down, after he intervened against the backdrop of the internal Hamas crisis prior to the current Gaza war. This crisis prevented the elections for Hamas’s political bureau, as well as the choosing of Mishal’s successor, whilst Mishal himself returns to the leadership today from the gateway of the Israeli war on Gaza. Therefore Mishal is the one expressing a desire for ceasefire, saying “we do not want escalation, Hamas is courageous but not reckless!” Indeed, Mishal is calling on the Palestinians today to put an end to their internal divisions, and here one can only say: Are you serious?

What I want to say is that everybody wants to see an end to the Israeli aggression against Gaza, and this includes those who are sincere, as well as the helpless. However, there are also those who want to see an end to the Israeli aggression against Gaza in order to protect what they have achieved; Mishal has returned as a leader, whilst Netanyahu has benefited domestically and internationally. As for the victims, these are, as always, the Palestinians and their Cause.

This is the truth, albeit a bitter one.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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