A visit by Hamas visit to Sudan at the end of December exposed some of the irreconcilable positions that divide Hamas's leadership. The Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that the most important issue discussed a a meeting during the visit was the relations between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Hamas's political bureau chief, Khalid Mashaal, tried to impose his viewpoint, the need of forming a new party, named the MB-Palestine Branch, to act as a reflection of the MB's Egyptian Freedom and Justice Party. Mashaal's idea is to dismantle Hamas, finding a new international and internal legitimacy in acting as a branch of the MB that is now recognized as a legal political party.
However, according to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Gaza's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his supporters in Gaza have a different opinion. Haniyeh, it seems,would like to strengthen Hamas role and identity in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, given the fact that according to recent polls, the Islamist party would win in any elections against Fatah. Further, Haniyeh is seeking to decrease the role of Hamas's leaders abroad, especially Mashaal's, in the decision-making process, while enhancing the role of the leaders in Gaza. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that the Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, tried to mediate between Mashaal and Haniyeh, with no result.
Hamas officially had asked the Sudanese president for financial and political support. Mashaal later told reporters he was satisfied with the meeting and that the Sudanese government had vowed to mobilize Arab capitals to support Hamas. For his part, Hamas's Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, told reporters that his delegation discussed how to carry out "the duty of the Arab people and Islam" in addressing Israeli policies with regard to Jerusalem. "We found out that Sudan is ready to move in our direction," Haniyeh said.
Sudan apparently is willing to play a role in the Palestinian political arena, especially after the visit of South Sudan's President to Israel. South Sudan, with an African-Christian majority, recently split from the Arab-Muslim dominated Sudan, was described in the media as one of Israel's best allies. As a result, the Sudanese President is now more than ever willing to become Hamas's best ally.
Hamas's visit to Sudan comes as a result of the Islamic movement's need to find new partners. In Syria, President Bashar Al-Assad cannot be anymore considered an ally: according to the Arab media, he may fall by end of July. There are reports that Mashaal has already fled his office in Damascus -– where he used to reside and get logistical support -- and is looking for a new place to relocate. Sudan, which in the past hosted former Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, could become Hamas's political headquarters abroad.
Other members of Hamas's delegation to Sudan included Hamas co-founders Mahmoud Al-Zahar and Musa Abu Marzouk.