Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments
Lately, there’s been a good deal of talk about whether or not Israel will militarily attack Iran in order to prevent the Persians from building a nuclear bomb. The Obama Administration desperately wants Israel to hold off and give diplomacy and/or sanctions time to work. But if such an attack does take place, at least one Muslim government has publicly declared that it will not get involved:
Hamas will not do Iran’s bidding in any war with Israel, according to senior figures within the militant Islamic group.
“If there is a war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war,” Salah Bardawil, a member of the organisation’s political bureau in Gaza City, told the Guardian.
He denied the group would launch rockets into Israel at Tehran’s request in response to a strike on its nuclear sites. “Hamas is not part of military alliances in the region,” said Bardawil. “Our strategy is to defend our rights”
The stance underscores Hamas’s rift with its key financial sponsor and its realignment with the Muslim Brotherhood and popular protest movements in the Arab world.
Bardawil’s words were echoed by a second senior Hamas figure, who declined to be named. Hamas, he said, “would not get involved” in any war between Iran and Israel.
Speculation in Israel about the repercussions of a military strike on Iran has encompassed the likelihood of the Jewish state coming under sustained rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Both organisations are routinely described by Israeli officials as “proxies” for the Iranian regime.
However, Hamas has never given “complete loyalty” to Tehran, said Bardawil, pointing out that Iran’s population is overwhelmingly Shia, whereas Gaza is Sunni. “The relationship was based on common interests.”
Walter Russell Mead thinks that if such an Israeli attack did happen, much of the Muslim world wouldn’t mind all that terribly much.
We have been watching this story unfold for some time, starting with Hamas moving away from Iran toward other sponsors and extending to Arab states and other actors tacitly endorsing an Israeli or American strike on Iran. With the Saudis stepping in to replace Iran as an oil supplier, Arab potentates urging America to “cut off the head of the snake,” and now Hamas saying it will look the other way during a Zionist strike on its own erstwhile sponsor, one could be forgiven for thinking that these folks want such an attack to take place.