Hamas in Damascus: What was expected came to pass... - TAHA KILINÇ

Hamas in Damascus: What was expected came to pass...

“In this warm meeting, we felt [Syrian] President, Mr. Assad's great determination to support the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people with all his might. He stated that Syria will support the Palestinian people, as it has up to now. We turn over a new leaf for the future. Thus, we leave behind every action taken in the past that was personal, wrong, and not approved by the movement leadership. We are in an alliance with Mr. Assad to leave the past behind us completely and head toward the future.

Our meeting today is a natural response from the forces of popular resistance and from the heart of Syria against the U.S. and Zionist projects targeting the Palestinian cause.

We also confirmed to Mr. Assad: We are in favor of a Syria whose territorial integrity has been ensured. We are against the targeting of Syria by the Zionist, American, or any other external enemy. We hope that Syria will continue to exist in the Islamic Ummah and get rid of the troubles it has suffered.

Our meeting with Assad is an indication that the spirit of resistance and resistance movements is present in the Ummah. To prove and declare this again, we are now on Syrian territory again. I should also mention that this decision was taken unanimously by our movement leadership.

Today we know that millions of people rejoice [on our return to Damascus]. But there are also those who are angry and sad, we know that too. Let them be sad and angry! We are very happy because we will secure victory.”

Khalil Al-Hayya, the representative of the Islamic Resistance Movement (in short: Hamas), in charge of relations with Arab and Islamic countries, said the above at the press conference he held after meeting with Bashar Assad in Damascus, the capital of Syria, last Wednesday, Oct. 19. While other accompanying figures were content with routine and diplomatic gestures, Al-Hayya's "extremely joyful" state in front of the cameras was particularly striking. Al-Hayya seemed to be returning to his homeland, rather than taking an "obligatory step". At least, that's how it came across.

Hamas, which is considered a "terrorist organization" by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and could not receive the support it wanted from Egypt, has been approaching the Iran-Syria front more and more in recent years. After the Syrian regime started dropping bombs on its own people, Hamas, which moved its headquarters from Damascus to Qatar's capital Doha in 2012, chose to get closer to Iran again as a result of the exclusionary policy followed by the Arab countries. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh personally attended the funeral of Iranian General Qasim Soleimani, the architect of the genocide and deportation of the Sunni population of Aleppo, in Tehran, and declared Soleimani a “martyr of Jerusalem” in the speech he delivered at the ceremony. had been made public.

Therefore, there are no surprises in the scenes we watched in Damascus. But there are some questions that need to be asked, which have also been voiced loudly on social media:

In what context does the Hamas administration place the Baath regime's massacres in Palestinian refugee camps in Damascus? While it is known that thousands of Palestinians were killed during the war in Syria…

While Iran, which focuses on reshaping the Middle East with a sectarian approach, imposes its own agenda on all the movements it supports or influences, how will Hamas protect itself, its political line, and its religious ideology from these impositions?

Most importantly, when the anti-occupation anger that is boiling in the streets of the West Bank is about to create big surprises in Palestine, can Hamas really take the pulse of the new generation of Palestinians? Or will it turn into a small and ineffective part of the big game Iran has set up within the framework of its political interests while trying to protect its own interests and save its gains?

The upcoming process will reveal clear answers to these questions. And I think we won't have to wait too long for answers.

(I had previously elaborated on the boycott applied to Hamas in the Arab world and how it actually means missing out on a great opportunity for our region, in my column titled "Wasting an opportunity" dated June 16, 2021. I will not repeat that here. I'm just leaving this here to remind readers of that column.)

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