Middle East

Responding to the nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia forms Sunni alliance with Hamas and Brotherhood

Political analysts are speculating that the new nuclear deal signed with Iran and Western powers, could empower Saudi Arabia under King Salman bin Abdulaziz to form a Sunni alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas to counter Shia influence in the Middle East.
After a lapse of three years, Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau, paid a visit to Saudi Arabia and met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relations and reconciliation with Fatah.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, member of the Hamas political bureau, had said in March there was rapprochement between Hamas and Saudi Arabia, adding that Saudi Arabia began to improve its relations with many countries in the region in light of the Houthi control over Yemen.
Sameh Eid, a researcher in Islamic movements, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Saudi Arabia would change its policies after the nuclear deal with Iran, which he said would make the United States rely on Tehran rather than Riyadh in facing the Islamic State.
Former Assistant Foreign Minister Hussein Haridy said Hamas is trying to use the rapprochement to obtain financial aid for itself and not for the Palestinian cause.
Dr. Tarek Fahmy, professor of political science at Cairo University, said Saudi Arabia is trying to form a Sunni alliance with Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey and Qatar in order to face Shia Islam. “This contradicts Egypt’s foreign policy not to join sectarian alliances,” he said. “And it would bring to light other differences between Egypt and Saudi Arabia regarding Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian issue.”
He said Egypt believes that the Muslim Brotherhood cannot play a role in resolving the crises in Yemen and Syria, while Saudi Arabia believes the contrary. As to the Palestinian issue, he said Egypt is not going to leave it for another party to tamper with. “Hamas and Fatah know so very well,” he said.
The New York Times has quoted analysts close to the Saudi royal family as saying that the king is mobilizing the Arab world against Iran, which is a major rival to Saudi Arabia.
Mustafa al-Any, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center close to Saudi officials, said the meeting is a strategic move to counter Iran’s influence.
Abdel Bari Atwan, chief editor of the newspaper Alquds Alarabi, said the Sunni alliance needs a Palestinian cover that no party better than Hamas can provide.
He said that Meshaal flew to Riyadh from Doha. “Qatar could have well been behind this rapprochement,” he said.
Adnan al-Adiny of the Brotherhood in Yemen said the group does not mind coordinating with Saudi Arabia in fighting the Houthis, while Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is close to the Saudi decision-making circles, said Saudi Arabia feels the same.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

Related Articles

Back to top button