Hamas aborts Palestinian unity talks, empowered by US courtship of its Syrian sponsor

debkafile‘s Middle East sources disclose that Hamas has just deliberately driven the Egyptian-brokered Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks into the ground. The radical group was freshly-empowered to raise the ante by the Obama administration’s active courtship of its Syrian sponsor, without president Bashar Assad giving an inch on his strategic alliance with Tehran. The breakdown of the Palestinian power-sharing talks in Cairo has effectively dashed hopes of securing the release of Gilead Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas for nearly three years.
Sunday, April 5, the Hamas delegates to the talks suddenly demanded that Egyptian politicians be attached to the group of intelligence officials chairing the talks, knowing full well that Hosni Mubarak would never agree and an impasse was unavoidable.
The Hamas delegation had swung round to deferring to its pro-Iranian hard-line political chief Khaled Meshaal, who had been restored to the Syrian ruler’s favor. The pro-Egyptian faction, Mussa Abu Marzuk and Mahmoud A-Zahar, correspondingly lost the ground they gained during the months of Meshaal’s absence from the scene.
The Syrians fostered the impression that they had muzzled him to help the Palestinian reconciliation talks go forward in Cairo. But debkafile sources reveal this was a bluff.
Assad had secretly employed Meshaal on his own business to break up the Brussels-based National Deliverance Front, the pro-Western opposition group fighting the Damascus regime.
Meshaal succeeded in drawing the Front’s sting. Over the weekend, the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas’ parent body and a key member of the Front) was persuaded to call off its resistance operations at home and abroad.
Hamas’ Damascus leader thus shot up as player on the regional Arab and international Muslim scenes, a feather in the cap for his backers in Tehran and their drive for regional expansion. Hence the hardened Hamas line in the Cairo unity talks which Tehran has opposed from the start.
In Damascus, the Syria ruler meanwhile extends one hand to welcome the long procession of American visitors calling on him, while with the other he quietly nurtures he radical Hamas, in conjunction with Tehran.
Sunday, April 5, the day Hamas sabotaged the Palestinian unity track in Cairo, US Democratic congressmen Stephen Lynch and Bob Inglis were on his doorstep. After discussing the situation in Iraq, Gaza and Middle East peacemaking with Assad, the congressmen produced this optimistic statement: “With genuine effort on all sides, were are hopeful that we can work constructively toward our mutual goals.”

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