Hamas hunts for new base in Middle East

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 2, 2012

Hamas is searching for a new political base following its departure from Damascus. Turkey and Jordan have both denied reports that they may host the Palestinian movement.

On Sunday, the head of Hamas's political bureau, Khaled Mashal, made his first official visit to Jordan since the kingdom closed down the movement's offices in 1999. King Abdullah and Mr Mashal held talks on re-establishing ties in the wake of the changes in the Arab world, although senior Jordanian officials made it clear that the kingdom will not allow Hamas to set up its "politburo" in Amman.

Hamas's headquarters were closed down in Damascus following the increased level of bloodshed between Syrian security forces and protesters, and Jordan is eager to be seen engaging with Hamas in the hope that will help quell the unrest in the country.

Last weekend Turkey was reported to have offered $300 million in aid to Hamas. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc denied these reports saying that while his country regards Hamas leaders as "significant figures" in the region, basing the movement in Turkey would be "out of the question."

Last updated: 1:26pm, February 2 2012