Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hamas Flips, Turns on Assad, Backs Revolt

The Palestinian Islamic movement, Hamas, has had a long relationship with Syrian president Bashar al Assad.  That's now over.  Hamas has switched sides and now supports the Syrian revolt to overthrow Assad.

Hamas went public after nearly a year of equivocating as Assad's army, largely led by fellow members of the president's Alawite sect, has crushed mainly Sunni protesters and rebels.

In a Middle East split along sectarian lines between Shi'ite and Sunni Islam, the public abandonment of Assad casts immediate questions over Hamas's future ties with its principal backer Iran, which has stuck by its ally Assad, as well as with Iran's fellow Shi'ite allies in Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.

"I salute all the nations of the Arab Spring and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform," Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, visiting Egypt from the Gaza Strip, told thousands of Friday worshippers at Cairo's al-Azhar mosque.

The move is seen by some as Hamas changing course to ally itself with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood instead of Lebanon's Hezbollah.

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