Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshaak, forced to quit his old headquarters in Damascus after abandoning his longtime host Bashar Assad and finding sanctuary in Doha – is again being hounded from pillar to post. debkafile: A deal struck this week between Egypt and Qatar could result in the Hamas leader settling in the Iranian capital. This would afford Tehran a foothold in the Gaza Strip, its second Mediterranean outpost after Lebanon on the Israeli border.
The Egyptian-Qatar deal, revealed here by debkafile’s Middle East sources, covers the future of the Muslim Brotherhood, the nemesis of Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisis, and its offspring, the Palestinian Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. Their memorandum of understanding was concluded Wednesday, Dec. 24, in Cairo by a delegation of Qatari intelligence chiefs and the new Egyptian director of intelligence Gen. Khaled Fawzi. They spent most of the day hammering out its six points, which are listed here:
1. Qatar withdraws its support from all Brotherhood operations against Egypt and Saudi Arabia;
2. This point applies equally to any Hamas activity that may be interpreted as inimical to Egypt;
3. Qatar’s assistance to Hamas will be limited to “civilian” projects (such as repairing war damage in Gaza), which too will be subject to President El-Sisi’s approval;
4. Given the close cooperation maintained at present between the Egyptian president and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on affairs relating to Gaza, Israel will implicitly have the right to disqualify certain Palestinian projects in the enclave;
5. Qatar is to shut down the anti-Egyptian propaganda channel run by its Al Jazeera television station;
6. The emirate is not required to sever all its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, just to keep them under control as its “strategic reserve.”
It is extremely hard to conceive of these two radical Islamist organizations bowing to the restrictions placed on their operations under the Egyptian-Qatari deal.
debkafile’s sources add: Brotherhood leaders have exited Doha and made arrangements to establish residence and a new center of operations in London, U.K. Khaled Meshaal, after he was denied permission by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to set up shop in Istanbul, is on the point of a decision to relocate his offices in Tehran. Iran would thus gain a proxy foothold in the Gaza Strip, its second outpost on the Mediterranean after the first was provided by Hizballah in Lebanon. If Meshaal decided to settle in Tehran, Iran would acquire a handy springboard for action against Egypt and southern Israel.