Hamas, Iran Putting Aside their Differences to Fight Israel
Despite falling out over the Syrian civil war, Iran and Hamas are still apparently cooperating in order to facilitate attacks against Israel, and to challenge the authority of the Fatah party of Mahmoud Abbas in Judea and Samaria.
A report by Stratfor has outlined how the Iranian regime is making use of Syrian proxies in the region to transfer weapons to Hamas cells in Judea and Samaria. This despite the fact that Hamas has aligned itself with the Sunni opposition to the Iranian-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar el-Assad.
In recent days, Jordanian authorities have intercepted two separate groups of arms smugglers attempting to transfer weapons and drugs from Syria, including anti-tank weapons and surface-to-air missiles. Jordan has become a major supply route for weapons headed to rebels inside Syria - the movement of those particular weapons caught the attention of Jordanian authorities, as the smugglers were heading in the opposite direction, making their way southwards.
Security in Jordan is tight as the jittery kingdom seeks to maintain its delicate balancing act between the Syrian regime on the one hand, and the surrounding Arab states which oppose it on the other - all the while conscious of the threats to its own authority by locally-based Islamist and other opposition groups.
But according to the report, the smugglers were not interested in either the Syrian civil war or the Jordanian government. Intelligence sources claim the men arrested were Palestinian Authority Arabs from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) - a leftist terrorist group closely affiliated with the Syrian regime, and which has been involved in fighting on the regime's behalf in Syria.
According to unnamed sources, the weapons were heading towards the Hebron Hills region of Judea, in Israel, where support for Hamas is particularly strong despite the crackdown on Hamas' network in Judea and Samaria by the dominant Fatah party. These various factions are apparently cooperating in an attempt to help Hamas stockpile weapons in the region to enable them to attack neighboring Israeli military and civilian targets, and challenge the rule of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.
The cooperation between Sunni Islamist Hamas, Shia Islamist Iran and the secular Arab nationalist PFLP-GC - at a time of bloody sectarian conflict - underlines how such groups are still willing to cooperate when it comes to attacking Israel, despite their insurmountable ideological differences and regardless of public disputes.
Hamas in particular has been willing to compromise on its ideological solidarity with Iran's Sunni enemies in Syria and the Gulf (Hamas' leadership recently aligned itself with chief Muslim Brotherhood patron and nemesis of the Iranian regime, Qatar.) Hamas has received generous Iranian support in the past, although that support was lessened considerably after the two sides fell out over the Syrian civil war. But now more than ever, with the fall of its allies the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas is acutely aware of its growing isolation, and has turned to Iran for help.
For their part, the Iranian regime and its Syrian allies are desperately attempting to gain a foothold in the region, which has turned increasingly hostile over the sectarian-fueled conflict in Syria.
In the midst of this sometimes confusing tangle of competing ideologies and alliances of convenience, one thing remains clear: hatred of Israel is still one thing practically all sides can agree upon.