Weekend long read

1) At WINEP, Ido Levy looks at ‘Egypt’s Counterinsurgency Success in Sinai’.

“Wilayat Sinai also benefited from smuggling activities that originated with Palestinian militant groups in Gaza (chiefly Hamas). Jihadists used these networks to acquire weapons, funds, and recruits. Similarly, access to seasoned IS members from Iraq and Syria brought important experience and technical know-how that helped the group boost its fighting capabilities, while the IS branch in Libya and its facilitators helped smuggle captured materiel from there to Sinai.”

2) Jonathan Spyer discusses ‘Erdogan’s Turkey and Hamas: A natural partnership’.

“Increasing evidence is emerging that Hamas is seeking to foment a new confrontation with Israel. The focus of this effort is the West Bank, not the movement’s de facto sovereign fiefdom in the Gaza Strip.

This effort, it appears, is being directed from Turkey. The Istanbul conference last week was the visible and declarative element of a broader reality in which Ankara is actively promoting the political efforts of Hamas, as the movement seeks to emerge as the leading force among the Palestinians. Alongside this overt promotion, Turkey appears to be tacitly permitting Hamas to direct its campaign of violence in the West Bank, from Turkish soil.”

3) The ITIC documents ‘Palestinian condemnations of the British decision to outlaw Hamas’ political bureau’.

“…over the years institutions and activists affiliated with Hamas have established a presence, for the most part camouflaged as Muslim Brotherhood activities or human rights organizations which support Palestinian rights. Hamas activity in Britain is mainly reflected in the running of institutions, associations, charity funds and foundations which transfer funds, for the most part to the Gaza Strip; diplomatic activity to display Hamas to British and Western public opinion as a legitimate organization which represents the Palestinians; to erode Hamas’ image as a terrorist organization; propaganda activities in the Hamas-affiliated media vilifying Israel and organizing boycott campaigns; organizing convoys and flotillas to the Gaza Strip; lawfare; organizing protests in Britain, etc. The activities are carried out with the involvement of a number of Hamas operatives who fled from Israel and settled in Britain, some of them considered senior operatives, who try to hide their direct connection to the organization.”

4) At the INSS, Yaron Schneider analyses the situation in post-election Iraq.

“The parliamentary elections in Iraq this past October were essentially decided in advance, when Iraqis took to the streets in opposition to the local Shiite militias and the corrupt ruling class that has failed to tackle economic problems. Iran received a clear message that anyone who tries to shape the agenda in Iraq will encounter considerable problems. Thus the big question remains: given the difficulties of forming a government of “the winners of the neglect” under Shiite leader Muqtada a-Sadr, will Iran be able to “impose” a candidate for prime minister who is acceptable to all parties as well as to Tehran, and thus disrupt and neutralize any attempt to block its influence?”

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