Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Hamas Loses Its Leader, But The Anti-Jewish Jihad Remains
The head of the Hamas Politbureau and its' de facto leader Khalid Meshaal has decided to step down, giving Hamas the opportunity to choose its first new leader in 15 years.Leader of the Hamas politbureau since 1996, he took over full leadership of Hamas after the former Hamas ruler of Gaza, co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi had a terrible accident in 2004 involving a car, a burka clad woman not his wife and an Israeli Hellfire missile. Well, mostly the car and the missile.
In a press release, the organization clarified that Meshaal stepping down will not alter it's worldwide jihad against Jews and Israel. That is still very much on the agenda.
Now, did Meshaal jump, or was he pushed? According to one of my notorious Lil' Birdies, it was a bit of both.
Meshaal's influence has steadily waned since Syria exploded and he was forced to abandon his Damascus HQ by the Assad regime after he refused to provide Hamas fighters to suppress his fellow Muslim Brotherhood Sunni Islamists. Unlike Hezbollah, who are Shi'ites and were more than willing to send troops from Lebanon across the border, Meshaal was unable to convince Hamas to get with the program.
Word has it that Meshaal, who was instrumental in getting backing for Hamas from Syria and Iran is now pretty much persona non grata in Tehran at this point. And as such, a lot of his usefulness was at an end to Hamas as well.
Meshaal now hangs out in Islamist friendly Qatar, where's he's been since he was ousted from Damascus. He'll likely live out his days there, living off the money he squirreled away during his days as Hamas' leader like an aging Mafia Don retiring to a villa in the Old Country. From Meshaal's point of view, I'm sure it beats the way al-Rantissi was retired!
Top candidate to succeed him as head of Hamas? Probably Ismail Haniyeh, the de facto head of the Hamas reichlet in Gaza.
If Haniyeh takes over, it might accelerate the integration of Hamas and Fatah and the eventual takeover of the Arab occupied areas of Judea and Samaria, since Fatah leader Abbas wants out and Haniyeh's relationship with Abbas is a bit better than Meshaal's was.
In the end of course, the real difference between Fatah and Hamas is just a matter of image and packaging. They both have the same agenda.