Report: Iran Cuts Hamas Funding Over Assad Silence
According to diplomatic and intelligence sources Iran has reduced - if not cut entirely - its funds to the Hamas terror group.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/21/2011, 9:51 PM
Iran has curtailed its funding to Hamas after the terror organization that rules Gaza refused to publically support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reported Sunday.
Hamas has denied that it is in financial crisis, but says it faces liquidity problems stemming from inconsistent revenues from tax collection in Gaza and sporadically delivered foreign aid.
The movement receives undisclosed sums of cash from Iran, which has acknowledged providing financial and political support to Hamas.
One diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said intelligence reports showed that Iran had reduced funding for Hamas.
Other diplomatic sources, also relying on intelligence assessments, said the payments had stopped entirely over the past two months.
The diplomats cited Iran's displeasure over Hamas' refusal to hold rallies in support of Tehran's ally, Assad, after the now almost six-month uprising against his rule.
Hamas' leadership outside Gaza is currently headquartered in Damascus, but tensions have led to rumors Egypt's caretaker junta may allow the terror organization to Cairo.
Hamas is widely believed to receive money from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, from whose ranks Hamas emerged -- one of Egypt's most popular and organized political forces.
Diplomats say those payments also may have been reduced because the Brotherhood has diverted funds to support the so-called Arab Spring revolts -- and to its own political aspirations in Egypt's coming elections.
In a cash crunch that looks a great deal like the one faced by its Fatah rivals in Ramallah, the Hamas government in Gaza has failed to pay the July salaries of its 40,000 employees in the civil service and security forces.
Hamas leaders promised full payments in August, claiming they were faced with no financial crisis, but not all employees received their wages as expected on Sunday.
In 2010, Hamas put its Gaza budget at $540 million, with local revenues from taxes on merchants and on goods brought in from Israel and through smuggling tunnels under the Egyptian border accounting for only $55 million.