Is Hamas really divorcing Syria?

January 5, 2012
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They are said to be in the process of a political break-up. So why are Hamas and the Syrian regime reportedly planning to meet in the coming days?

Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Tuesday that a summit is planned, suggesting that it is intended to broker reconciliation. Hamas recently took the decision to relocate its politburo away from Syria, in the light of unrest in the country and also seemingly as a result of pressure from countries including Turkey and Qatar.

But many analysts think that the meeting is more about the public relations agendas on both sides than reconciliation. "It allows Hamas to make the point, as it looks for a new base, that it has options," said Meir Zamir, a Middle East expert at Ben Gurion University. His logic is that Syria, in holding the meeting, gives the impression that it does not want to let Hamas go easily – which raises the group's profile among Arab leaders.

According to Uzi Rabi, director of Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern and African Studies: "When Syria is being attacked at the Arab league, Damascus hopes it sends a message that it cares about the Palestinians."

Nathan jeffay

Last updated: 12:45pm, January 5 2012