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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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Hamas in the Sunni-Shiite War

Hamas has become a tool for both the Sunni and Shi'ite fundamentalists to use in their battle not only against the non-Muslim world, but against each other.
Gunmen from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in Gaza City on November 22, 2012.

Hamas terrorist preparing to fire Qassam rockets at Israel.
Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

It is therefore not surprising that Morsi felt he could strike now in Egypt and grant himself these full dictatorial powers – far greater than Mubarak ever had – and there would be nothing that America, now feeling indebted to him, would do about it.

The Sunni fundamentalist Morsi is still engaged in an existential battle with the Iranian Shi’ites for the hearts and minds of Islam. Each side loathes the other. If one side triumphs in this 1,400 year old conflict, the other side loses. From Morsi’s point of view, however, it seems that this fight must wait for another time.

Iran seems to be losing everywhere. In Syria, where its Alawite rulers are an offshoot of Shi’ism and recognized by many Shi’ite authorities as Shi’ites, Iran is losing this war to the more numerous local Sunnis.

Lebanon is also unstable; Hizbullah members there appear unsure how they can survive without the support of the Syrian Alawites. Iran is also a long way off, and it is not easy to resupply Hizbullah from there.

In Sudan, Iran’s weapons plants have been destroyed. It was weapons from these factories which made their way to Gaza.

Could Israel’s massive destruction of Hamas’s rocket and missile capability be one more step on the road to eliminating Iran’s nuclear program? Iran’s allies are being destroyed or weakened, one by one. Sudan and Gaza are gone, at least for the time being. The Syrian regime does not appear to be winning its ruthless war against its insurgents. Will Hizbullah be able to remain strong without weapons coming in from Syria? Clearly, Hizbullah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, cannot, whatever he says, feel so secure: he has spent most of the past few years hiding underground from the Israelis. Shi’ite-ruled Iraq is preoccupied with its internal problems. Iran is gradually being left to stand alone. If Israel attacks Iran, Iran no longer has any useful Muslim allies to help it against the Israelis. Iran would therefore have greater difficulty confronting Israel.

In the end, Hamas was a pawn for Iran in the Sunni-Shiite war. Its leaders may be wondering where to turn, now that Egypt is ruled by fellow Sunni fundamentalists. For the moment, at least, Egypt does not seem to want to provoke Israel. Both Hamas and Iran, therefore, stand to gain from continuing their close relationship. Morsi understands that the Iranians want nothing more than to have the Sunnis confront Israel and lose — a defeat which would help Iran in its war against the Sunnis.

Hamas has become a tool for both the Sunni and Shi’ite fundamentalists to use in their battle not only against the non-Muslim world, but against each other. If, in the Middle East, bygones cannot be bygones, this battle will continue until Allah decides which side is the most worthy and makes sure that side wins.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

About the Author: Harold Rhode, Ph.D., served from 1982-2010 as an Adviser on Islamic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is now a distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. He is fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi and Turkish.

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2 Responses to “Hamas in the Sunni-Shiite War”

  1. Arthur B. Levy says:

    may all Israel’s enemies be rejoined with allah hadafuk in “paradise” speedily and soon…

  2. Hannah Prince-kahn says:


Comments are closed.

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