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Will Saudi Arabia save Hamas?

Saudi Arabia's patronage of Hamas could help the movement's leadership regain the power usurped by its military wing and save it from collapse.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir attends a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting in Riyadh June 11, 2015. Gulf Arab countries have offered support for Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup as criticism grows over the choice of the desert nation as the venue for world soccer's top event. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser - RTX1G3S4

Hamas leaders' denials of a crisis in their organization’s relations with Iran have been put to rest. It is now official. In a July 24 interview with Al Jazeera, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk admitted in no uncertain terms that Iran has discontinued the military and civilian support it had extended to the Palestinian group for years. In addition to the staggering quantity of weapons smuggled into Gaza, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had provided counseling, briefings and training for members of Hamas’ military wing, thus setting the movement’s tone and modus operandi for a very long time. In other words, Hamas, which enjoyed a considerable infusion of weaponry and money, had been Iran’s proxy on Israel’s southern border.

Even when the movement’s pragmatic members thought that extra caution should be exercised in relations vis-à-vis Israel, the organization’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, acted as an independent body, whose interests overlapped those of its Iranian patron. The position adopted by Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, opposing President Bashar al-Assad after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, resulted in the split from Tehran. Yet, over the years, there were factions that maintained ties with the Iranian regime, hoping to somehow mend fences between the two sides. This is all now a thing of the past.

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