Thursday, April 06, 2006
HAMAS AND AL QUEDA NOT ON THE SAME PAGE
There is an odd side battle going on in the middle east between Hamas and Al Qaeda. In a video aired not long ago by Al-Jazeera, Ayman al-Zawahri called for jihad, or holy war, to reclaim Palestinian lands and implied al-Qaida’s support for Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel despite international pressure since the militant Islamic group swept parliamentary elections in January.
However, in what was seen by some as criticism of Hamas for running in elections, al-Zawahri said: "Entering with those who have sold Palestine, the legislative council, and recognising their selling, stands against Islam."
Zawahiri chastised those in Hamas who might seek compromise for political gain, even if the compromise is only temporary. His alternative? “Well,” he said, “it is the path of the prophets and messengers, the path of da'wah [Islamic call] and jihad; da'wah for the pure faith and jihad in its name until the land is liberated and the Muslim caliphate emerges, God willing.” Meanwhile leaflets were scattered across southern Gaza by “The Army of Jihad and Preventing Corruption” that praised Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
A Hamas official in Gaza, speaking on condition of anonymity because the movement did not want to formally respond to al-Zawahri’s support, said: “Hamas believes that Islam is completely different to the ideology of Mr. al-Zawahri.”
Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, said, "We are not a movement that labels people infidels or that abandons them. We are a movement that lives the realities of the people and that uses wisdom ... to turn them to Islam," he said.
Hamas has been viewed by Al Queda according to some, as part of Palestinian nationalism, conducting a “Jihad for the Homeland” instead of a “Jihad for Allah.” They say that for many supporters of global Jihad, Hamas is also an obstacle in the way of infiltration of Al-Qaeda to the Palestinian Authority. It is a movement that cooperates with Shi`i Iran and Hizballah; that defended Yaser Arafat until his death in November 2004; and that, more recently has shown signs of regression in its policy by accepting and keeping its promise of a period of truce with Israel. Hamas is also an integral part of the Muslim Brotherhood, a harsh rival in the eyes of Jihadists like Al-Queda, with a political and social doctrine that some call “evolution, not revolution.” The Brotherhood also has a strong tendency to support, at least tactically, democratic processes in the Arab world in which its prospects to win look promising.
Sounds like there is no love lost.
The following story is from the DEBKAfile. I am printing it just because I found it interesting. Make of it what you will.
Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s Gaza cell is gearing up for a major terrorist attack against Palestinian target
The cell, whose penetration of Gaza DEBKAfile first revealed last September, now numbers 10 operatives. Al Qaeda took advantage of Israel’s pull-back to establish itself in the Gaza Strip. Zarqawi’s agents from Jordan and Egypt are positioning operational cells on the West Bank too, ready for strikes against both Israel and the Hamas-ruled Palestinian Authority. Jordanian prime minister Maarouf Batiah and intelligence chiefs warned PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas of this threat in a four-hour conference they held in Amman on April 3. In consideration of the Palestinian leader’s passive tendencies, Jordan made sure the warning would appear publicly by releasing some details to the London Arab daily Al-Hayat. DEBKAfile discloses some high points of the Amman conference: 1. The Iraqi al Qaeda chief has appointed an emir for the countries west of Iraq, the Palestinian areas, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. 2. Zarqawi no longer relies on local Palestinian groups for strikes in Israel and Palestinian areas. He is deploying terrorist manpower from Iraq. Syria, and Jordan, who enter Gaza freely through the Rafah crossing, with Egyptian border officials turning a blind eye. 3. The al Qaeda chief has decided to hit Gaza ahead of Israel for two reasons: he wants to put his oar in the affairs of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian government. He also calculates a devastating attack in Gaza will strike fear in Israel. 4. Al Qaeda has launched a drive to recruit terrorists for operations against the Palestinians and Israel. Volunteers with family ties in the West Bank are sought because they can more easily access the territory for “family reunions.” 5. Al Qaeda now targets Hamas and Abu Mazen equally. Since taking office, Hamas is perceived as weak for shelving its war option against Israel in favor of an informal truce.