by: Khaled Abu Toameh~Gatestone Institute
Tuesday, 21 July 2020 | Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, is seeking to forge an alliance with the Iran-aligned Yemini Houthi movement, officially called Ansar Allah (Supporters of [Allah]), whose members have launched repeated missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia for the past few years.
The Hamas–Houthi partnership does not come as a surprise to Arabs and Muslims. The two groups share a common goal: eliminating Israel.
These Arabs and Muslims are worried, however, that the Hamas–Houthi alliance will not stop there, but also strengthen an Iran-led axis to threaten the stability of Arab countries.
The slogan of the Houthi movement reads: “Allah is greater, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.”
In its charter, Hamas states that the “land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Muslim religious trust] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day” and “there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad [holy war].”
Last week, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent a letter to the Houthi leadership in which he thanked the Yemeni group for supporting the Palestinian people and their cause.
Before sending the letter, Haniyeh called on Arabs and Muslims “to build a strategic partnership with the Palestinian people and their national and Islamic factions in order to confront Israeli schemes.”
This strategy, Haniyeh explained, is based on three main and important tracks:
“The first is Palestinian unity, the second is comprehensive resistance in all its forms, and the third is building in the region a solid Arab and Islamic bloc that supports the Palestinians.”
When Hamas talks about a “comprehensive resistance,” it is referring to the use of various anti-Israel terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings and rockets.
Haniyeh’s letter to the Houthi leadership is clearly part of Hamas’s effort to enlist the Yemeni group for attacks on Israel.
Some Arabs are voicing extreme unease over the cooperation between Hamas and the Houthi movement. They say it would strengthen Iran’s terrorist proxies and cause a further deterioration of the situation in war-torn Yemen.
For more than five years, Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war that has resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world; 80% of the population are in need of humanitarian aid. Since 2015, an Arab coalition led by the Saudi Arabia has carried out military operations in Yemen, in support of government forces against the Houthi militias who control large parts of Yemen. Iran, using the Houthis as proxies, has been trying to take control of Yemen in the same way that Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, now controls Lebanon. The Saudis have been trying to defend themselves against Iran’s attempts to expand its control into Yemen.
Even some Palestinians have expressed concern over the Hamas–Houthi alliance. They argue that Hamas should not be meddling in the internal affairs of any Arab country in order to appease Hamas’s master in Tehran. Mainly, some Palestinians seem worried that the emerging alliance would further damage Palestinian relations with the Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, where the public appears to be largely indifferent to the Palestinian issue.
Shortly after receiving the letter from Haniyeh, Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, the Houthi movement’s head of the so-called “intelligence and reconnaissance agency,” announced that it “has vital and important targets in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Tel Aviv, based on intelligence information” that would be used to attack those three countries.
For the first time, the Houthi movement spoke of possessing information about “vital targets.” The announcement is a clear indication that the two Iranian-backed groups, Hamas and the Houthi movement, are planning to launch terrorist attacks not only against Israel, but also against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Prominent Lebanese political analyst and journalist Khairallah Khairallah launched a scathing attack on Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and accused Hamas of “perpetuating” divisions among the Palestinians and exposing the Palestinians’ inability to “manage a state in a civilized way.”
“Hamas is doing everything it can to perpetuate the internal division and keep Gaza a prison for its people. The Palestinians deserve much better than Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. What is the use of launching rockets toward Israel after its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in August 2005?”
By seeking to enlist the Houthi movement for its jihad against Israel, Hamas is sending a message that it is prepared to cooperate with any group to achieve its goal of destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state.
The Hamas–Houthi alliance also shows that Iran is seeking to expand the terrorist activities of its agents in the Gaza Strip, Yemen and Lebanon not only against Israel and the US, but against Arab and Islamic states as well.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
Posted on July 21, 2020
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Gatestone Institute on July 20, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today, and the article has been edited for length. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Henry Ridgwell (VOA)/commons.wikimedia.org
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