During Operation Pillar of Defense the heads of the Islamic terrorist organizations, led by Hamas's Khaled Mashal and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Ramadan Shallah, could not stop repeating their support for Iran. Thanking Iran again and again, they extolled its role in arming them with missiles and money, which, in the service of that sponsor of terror and terrorists, Shi'ite Iran, enabled them to carry out their subversive activities against Israel.
The heads of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad did not realize that, at least for now, times had changed: the leaders of the Sunni Arab states of the Arab Spring have apparently decided that the plan to exterminate the "Crusader West" in Europe and the United States has been put on hold. The Islamic states, especially Mohamed Morsi's Sunni Egypt, are in desperate need, just to survive, of the deep pockets of the infidel United States, to say nothing of fending off the perpetual threat from Shi'ite Iran.
For that reason, Khaled Mashal and Ramadan Shallah's sincere support for Iran came at the worst possible time for the leaders of Sunni Islam in its confrontation with Iran. It put them in mind of Arafat's catastrophic support of Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait and threatened the interests of the entire world, both Arab and Western. The Palestinians remember that Arafat did a great deal of damage to the Palestinian cause; after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, the Palestinian community was expelled from Kuwait.
The arms and money that the Iranians give the Palestinian terrorist organizations are a thorn in the side of the Egyptian and other Sunni Islamic regimes in the Middle East. It was Islamic terrorist operatives from the Gaza Strip, who had an affinity for Iran, that were behind the murder of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula during the most recent Ramadan fast.
As far as the Egyptians are concerned, Iranian-linked terrorism would be acceptable if it targeted only Israel. However, Iran's active intervention against Egypt was exhibited by a subversive network of pro-Iranians, exposed by Egypt on its own soil. The Iranian footprint was visible and obvious in the type of terrorism, the political subversion, and the encouragement of internal strife in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain -- and which has now spread as well to Africa, Canada and South America and Europe.
As in the Thousand and One Nights, the Egyptians temporarily pushed the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad genie back into the bottle. By deliberately manipulating the Palestinians into accepting an Israeli/Palestinian-terrorist-organization ceasefire whose "understandings" were deliberately indistinct, Egypt hoped the Palestinians would sit quietly and wait for their eventual opportunity to attack Israel again. It hoped to neutralize the connection between the terrorist organizations and Iran; with a wink and a nod, Egypt ushered the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad back into the fold of Sunni Islamic interests.
The Egyptians forced Khaled Mashal and Ramadan Shallah to postpone, temporarily, the instant gratification they get from killing Israeli civilians, and to act with restraint as having won a "victory" brokered by Mohamed Morsi, the new dictator anointed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That strategic Egyptian hug caused a temporary shift away from the slippery terrorist organizations' self-serving loyalty to, and support of, Iran and Syria. That was after they had succeeded, in a confrontation they initiated against Israel in the service of Iran, to draw the attention of the world away from both Iran's atom bomb and Syria's accelerating slaughter of its own people.
The new leaders of the Islamic countries, who rose to power on the backs of the Islamists during the Arab Spring, identify with the Palestinian terrorist organizations' ideological and operative platforms. Their joint, ultimate mission is to Islamize or destroy the "infidel Crusader world" and its local branch, Israel.
In the meantime, the Sunni leaders are worried about the danger of a nuclear Iran and its negative influence on the internal security of their countries.
They are also more worried than is publicly recognized by the intensive, silent, slow invasion of articles of Shi'ite Islamic faith into the Sunni landscape by means of taqiyya [dissimulation], whereby Shi'ite clerics pretend to be Sunnis and insinuate Shi'a into their sermons, stealthily converting the unaware Sunnis.
The wink and nod the leaders of the Arab Spring have given to Hamas reinforced its impression that they had chosen the movement as an ideological partner, having closed up shop for Mahmoud Abbas after slapping him on the back and giving him a goodbye Mafia kiss. Hamas, it turns out, took the hint, and is apparently willing to wait like a genie in a smoking bottle.
That new alliance is the reason Hamas, which until very recently opposed the Palestinian Authority's move to gain recognition from the UN, suddenly supported Mahmoud Abbas' initiative. An Islamic emirate in the Gaza Strip and West Bank will eventually drop like a ripe fruit into Hamas's lap, while in the meantime Hamas plots the "liberation" of all of "Palestine."
Now, exploiting the impetus gained by the UN's recognition of "Palestine" as a non-member observer state, Hamas's "prime minister," Ismail Haniya, wants to milk the sympathy of the West for the Palestinians, by demanding that Western countries delete Hamas from their lists of designated terrorist organizations.
With the buildup of support for Hamas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority feels a pan-Arab noose around his neck. It spurred the Palestinian Authority to achieve a "historic victory," a political gain, and to receive recognition for "Palestine." With his return to Ramallah as a "victor," with a "Palestinian state" in his briefcase, Mahmoud Abbas was quick to announce -- in response to Israel's announcement that it would build in the settlements in Judea and Samaria -- that he would no long arrest Hamas operatives in the West Bank.
Even as the masses rallied in the squares of the West Bank and called for the "liberation of Palestine," it was clear that Mahmoud Abbas's role was over and that a non-alcoholic toast could be proposed to the forthcoming Hamastan, with the blessings of the UN and Allah.
Khaled Mashal now supports the recognition of "Palestine" as a state, but subject to the ideology of an armed campaign for "the liberation of all Palestine." As part of a new policy of changing directions like a weathervane, Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders now propose a Palestinian national unity, elections in the territories, and more national achievements and changes, such as restoring the principle of the "liberation of Palestine" through "armed struggle" to the Palestinian Charter, and plan to wring the last benefit to themselves from the West's motivation for quiet. Quiet also serves Western strategy, but when the time comes and they have amassed military and economic force, they will betray their Western benefactors, violate all agreements, the ceasefire included, because their ideology commits them to fight both the infidel Crusader West and Israel. The Hamas leadership even had a fatwa (religious edict) issued by a Gazan sheikh and acceptable to the extremist Islamic Salafists, which forbids violating -- at this point -- the ceasefire, unless Israel violates it first.
When will the Hamas genie be let out of the bottle? That will apparently be the decision of the leaders of the Arab Spring's new Islam, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, in accordance with the strategic needs of Sunni Islam.
Amin Farouk is a journalist based in the middle east.